Weekly Syllabus and Homework Assignments

MEASUREMENT - Due Week 1TRIGONOMETRY - Due Week 2OPTICS (Mirrors) - Due Week 3OPTICS (Lenses) - Due Week 4FORCE - Due Week 5Skip thisFORCE + Velocity - Due Week 6Force 2 - Due Week 7Sailboat Physics - Due Week 8Solving for acceleration - Due Week 10 November 10Kinematics, Gravity & Free Fall - Due Week 11 November 17Projectile Motion - Due Week 12 December 1Projectile Motion - Due Week 13 December 8

Week 1: Measurements

Measurement, scientific notation, foundations of physics

Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was. – Dag Hammarskjold

LAB: Measurements in Physics
1) Read Chapter 1 completed, Measurement in your textbook, Introductory Physics.
2) Watch Crash Course Significant Figures (yes, it is meant for Chemistry but works for Physics):
3) Watch the use of Proportion in Physics:
4) Know
– What scientific notation does.
– What is a “significant figure”?
– What is “IPK”?
– What is the symbol for “proportionate to”?
– You are shrunk down to the height of a nickel but retain your density. You are then thrown into a blender that will be turned on in 60 seconds. How do you save yourself?

Resource: The metric conversion prefixes – petricprefix

Trigonometry in Physics

Triangle math, vectors, SOH CAH TOA

I’m applying for a villain loan. I go by the name of Vector. It’s a mathematical term, represented by an arrow with both direction and magnitude. Vector! – Despicable Me

LAB WEEK 3) Trig River
1) Read the Algebra review and Trigonometry review in the back of the book, . Make sure that you basically understand all the topics.
1a) Polynomial review:
1b) Trigonometry review:
2) Watch Crash Course Physics: Vectors
3) Watch SOH CAH TOA:
3a) more on Vectors/Trigonometry,
3b) more on Vectors/Trigonometry,
4) Practice adding vectors (add the two small vectors together and draw the result in the big box, then submit):
5a) Scalers and Vectors (if you need):
5b) Distance and Displacement (if you need):
5c) How to use the protractor (needed for worksheet, below):
6) Complete

Download (PDF, 69KB)

First part of Chapter 2, Optics

Understanding light, Mirrors, Ray diagrams, object-image formula

Are not rays of light very small bodies emitted from shining substances? – Isaac Newton

Reflection of Light

New Material and assignments for this week:
1) Read Chapter 2 Optics– the first half up to and NOT including Overview of Reflection.
2) Watch Crash Course: What is Light?:
3) Watch Khan Academy, Introduction to light
4) Watch Recap, Laws of Reflection:
5) Watch Ray Diagrams on Mirrors:
6) COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING HOMEWORK (The weekly quiz will be taken from these questions):

Download (PDF, 164KB)

Second part of Chapter 2, Optics

Reflection, Refractions, Snell’s Law, Lenses

Do not Bodies and Light act mutually upon one another; that is to say, Bodies upon Light in emitting, reflecting, refracting and inflecting it, and Light upon Bodies for heating them, and putting their parts into a vibrating motion wherein heat consists?
— Isaac Newton

LAB WEEK 5) Reflected Light Rays (part 2) + Snell’s Law
1) Read Chapter 2 Optics– the rest of the chapter from Overview of Reflection.
2) Watch Crash Course Geometric Optics: OR Matt Anderson’s Geometric Optics:
3) Watch Crash Course’s Optical Instruments:
4) Watch Refraction and introduction to Snell’s Law:
5) Watch Images in Lenses:
6) Read this:
6) Questions:
How does a convex lens alter the image?
How does a concave lens alter the image?
What is the focal point?
What shape is the eyepiece on a telescope?
Extra Credit: A telescope’s ability to resolve (sharpen) an image becomes harder and harder the farther away its object is…. why?

Week 5: Chapter 3, Force

Force, Newton’s Laws, Inertia, Normal vs Contact Force and Friction. 

“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” – Isaac Newton

  1. Read the first 3 pages of Chapter 3, Force.
  2. Watch TED-Ed Newton’s 3 Laws, with a bicycle:
  3. Watch Crash Course Newton’s Laws
  4. Watch (review) Crash Course, Motion in a Straight Line
  5. Watch Crash Course, Vectors and 2D Motion
  6. Know the following:
    1. Are the following examples of 1 Dimensional or 2 Dimensional motion?
      1. LeBron James throwing the ball for 3 points?
      2. Dropping a pencil?
      3. Rolling a bowling ball for a strike?
      4. Dancing Gangam Style?
    2. What are Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion?
    3. If I was able to jog from Judson to the Willis Tower via 290 (about 9-10 miles, you may have to look it up to get precise) in 30 minutes, what is my average velocity?
    4. Was this 1D or 2D travel?
    5. Is the length of this trip distance or displacement?
    6. Extra Credit: OK, now say I get a stitch in my side at the 5 mile-mark and it takes me a full hour to get from there to the Tower. What was my overall travel time and my average velocity?

Hooke’s Law, Newton’s 2nd Law and breaking Force into its components

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. ― Max Planck

hookes-law 1) Read Chapter 3 Force– through to (but not including) Resolving a Force into Components.

2) Watch Newton’s Second Law:

3) Watch Hooke’s Law (Doodle Science): or Watch: Springs and Hooke’s Law (Khan Academy):

4) Watch 2D movement and Vectors (Crash Course): or Watch Scalars and Vectors (Bozeman Science):

Week 6: Chapters 3+4, Force Components

Force components, Static Equilibrium, Velocity

All the calculations show it can’t work. There’s only one thing to do: make it work. — Pierre Georges Latécoère, early French aviation entrepreneur

1) Read Chapter 3 Force– completely and Chapter 4 up to “Acceleration” and Watch Newton’s Second Law:

2) Watch Introduction to Force (Flipping Physics):

3) Watch Static Equilibrium: and Watch Position, Velocity, Acceleration (Mike’s Physics): – note, these use advanced math skills. DO YOUR BEST. 

4) Watch Newton’s Second Law and air cannons:

6) Know
– Who introduced the idea that light travels in waves?
– What causes the ability to change the motion of an object?
– Name a practical application of Snell’s Law
– At what point (if any) will the mass of an object prevent its acceleration?
– Adding together all the vector forces will give us what?
– What is ‘static equilibrium’?
– Newton once famously said: “O Diamond, Diamond, thou little knowest the mischief thou hast done.” What was the mischief and who was Diamond?

This week you are learning about Newton’s 3rd Law and we’ll start making Free Body Diagrams in order to start calculating net forces.

1) Finish reading the chapter on Force in your book or read the chapter at the Physics Classroom:

2) Read about Free Body Diagrams at the Physics Classroom:

3) Watch about Newton’s 3rd Law by the Australian man who asks Liberal Arts people stuff:

4) Review at Crash Course Physics, Newton’s 3 Laws:

5) Watch how to draw Free Body Diagrams:

Problems 1, 2, 5, 8a & 8b, 12 & 13 at


“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd


1) Watch How do Sailboats work:
2) Watch Physics of Sailing:
3) Watch Sailing & Trigonometry:
4) Read the Physics of Sailing:
5) Attempt: Sailboat physics:
6) Know

    1. The answer to this:
    2. Using this diagram, convert it into a Free Body Diagram with at least 4 points of force and net force:
    3. Extra Credit: Can a sailboat go
      faster than the wind?


Week 10: Aircraft Carrier. Paper Airplanes. Solving for acceleration. 


Our age is before all things a practical one. It demands of us all clear and tangible results of our work. – Theodor Svedberg

You’re going to solve just 1 problem:

The takeoff speed of a military aircraft from an aircraft carrier is approximately 170 mi/hr relative to the air. They acquire this speed through a combination of a catapult system present on the aircraft carrier and the aircraft’s jet propulsion system. A common strategy is to head the carrier and the plane into the wind. If a plane is taking off from an aircraft carrier which is moving at 40 mi/hr into a 20 mi/hr headwind, then what speed relative to the deck of the aircraft carrier must it obtain to takeoff?

*You MUST include a free-body diagram with the solution

1) Khan Academy Physics, how to solve an aircraft carrier problem:

2) Visualization video, take-off, and at sunset:

3) Description of how aircraft carrier take-off catapults work:

4) The audio-guided solution to this problem:

Kinematics, Gravity & Free Fall

“Gravity is a contributing factor in nearly 73 percent of all accidents involving falling objects.”
― Dave Barry

1) Watch: Brian Cox Gravity Experiment:
2) Watch Crash Course and Gravity:
3) Watch Flipping Physics Gravity & Free Fall:
4) Watch Kinematics, Free Fall example:
5) Know:
– Definition of kinematics
– What v(i) and v(f) and a and t and d all stand for when talking about kinematic equations
– The standard value of g
– the 2 rules of free fall
Extra Credit: Do the problem in the 4th video except instead of 50m, it is 100m.

Week 12: Projectile Motion

“I shall now recall to mind that the motion of the heavenly bodies is circular, since the motion appropriate to a sphere is rotation in a circle.” – Nicolaus Copernicus

  1. Read your textbook Understanding Physics, Chapter 6 – first units on Trajectories, Projectiles, Vertical components of velocity.
  2. WatchFlipping Physics Introduction to Projectile Motion:
  3. WatchDerek Owen Projectile Motion Concepts:
  4. WatchJesse Mason How to Solve a Projectile Motion Problem:
  5. Homework: Using the projectile simulator (Click INTRO at, shoot a projectile (red button at bottom) and then DRAW the problem and SOLVE (helper document attached) for (some of these will be AVAILABLE IN THE DEMO):
    • Height at start
    • Total displacement
    • Height along the curve
    • Initial velocity
    • Final velocity
    • Time

Week 13: Projectile Motion, part 2