Physics

Honors Section Available: Yes

Brief Course Description:
This yearlong laboratory-based science course introduces students to all topics normally presented in the first two semesters of an engineering physics course. Topics covered in depth include kinematics, mechanics, fluid mechanics, wave mechanics, thermodynamics, optics, light, electricity, and magnetism. Relativity, atomic physics, and quantum physics are introduced.

The understanding of the lecture material will be reinforced through numerous laboratory activities. Labs will include measurements, significant digits and estimation, forces in equilibrium, static and kinetic friction, mass and acceleration, mechanical equivalence of heat, Hooke’s law, projectile motion, Kirchhoff’s laws, mirrors, lenses, rotational kinetic energy, etc.

Course Goals and/or Major Student Outcomes:
This one-year college-prep physics course involves more than just acquiring a knowledge foundation. It will offer students ample opportunities to learn, to practice, and master skills that are essential to academic, personal, and professional success. These skills include critical thinking skills (such as analyzing and solving problems, making decisions, and evaluating reasoning), science process skills (such as observing, predicting, and measuring), as well as writing and communication skills. Especially, cooperative learning environments will be built up for the students to develop and enrich their social skills, which are crucial to solve problems and complete tasks through coordination and cooperation.

Course Objectives:
In every unit the students will be challenged to develop higher order thinking skills, such as interpretation, analysis, and synthesis of the current material.

Key Assignments:
Mastery of content will be assessed through class participation, homework assignments, weekly tests, and comprehensive semester exams. The tests will assess knowledge of factual material as well as problem solving skills. See below for additional information on the Honors section.

Prerequisites:
Honors—Concurrent enrollment in Pre-calculus or higher math course. Returning students: 87% or higher in Chemistry and Algebra II/Trig, and/or teacher recommendation. Incoming students: B or higher in Chemistry and Algebra II/Trig, 3.5 overall GPA and English proficiency.
Regular—Concurrent enrollment in Pre-calculus or higher math course.

How the honors course is different from the standard course:
Honors students will be expected to demonstrate in-depth comprehension of material through frequent writing assignments. The student will be able to write a formal lab report including a statement of the purpose of the lab, a discussion of the applicable concepts, the experimental procedure, raw data, sample calculations, presentation of results, and discussion of the results (including sources of error).

Honors students will be required to exhibit higher level thinking skills primarily through the medium of writing. Honors students will be regularly required to write essays demonstrating comprehension of topics such as using Newton ’s first law to define an inertial reference frame, comparing and contrasting longitudinal and transverse waves, discuss the unusual behavior of the density of water near its freezing point, etc. They will also be required to show analysis, interpretation, and evaluation skills through the presentation of formal lab reports.

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