I. Physics Tools

A. Define

Rufus: He still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the $#!+ that gets carried out in His name: wars, bigotry, televangelism. But especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it.
Bethany: Having beliefs isn't good?
Rufus: I think it's better to have ideas. You can change an idea, changing a belief is trickier. Life should be malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can't generate. Life becomes stagnant.
Comparing fact to belief Religion and Science are both attempts to explain the world. Humans are intelligent and have a natural curiosity which forces them to look for answers. We look for answers to questions that start with "How?" and "Why?" The most significant difference between the two approaches is that the nature of Science is to change when it is confronted with new information.

  • Science -
  • Physics -
  • Proof -
  • Equilibrium -

B. Scientific Methods

The Big Lie - These methods allow us to say, "This is what we think is true, based on current information."

  1. Problem, usually stated as a question.
  2. Research; this is normally applied when faced with a new problem.
  3. Hypothesis - an educated guess, that can be tested.
  4. Experiment
  5. Theory - an explanation that has been tested, that may or may not agree with your hypothesis.

- - - - - - - - - - -

  • Law -

C. Experimental Design

  • Independent Variable -
  • Dependent Variable -
  • Control Group -
  • Placebo -
  • Double-blind study -
  • Bias -

D. Units

A noun that follows a number to explain a measurement.

  • Distance - meters
  • Area - m2
  • Volume - liters or dm3
  • Gram - mass of 1mL of water
  • Time - seconds


  • Length
  • Area
  • Volume
  • Mass

Compare / Contrast Mass and Volume

List comparing English and SI units...

E. Affixes

  • Exa (E) - 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (Quintillion)
  • Peta (P) - 1,000,000,000,000,000 (Quadrillion)
  • Tera (T) - 1,000,000,000,000 (Trillionth)
  • Giga (G) - 1,000,000,000 (Billionth)
  • Mega (M) - 1,000,000 (Million)
  • Kilo (k) - 1,000 (Thousand)
  • Hecto (h) - 100 (Hundred)
  • Deka (da) - 10 (Ten)
  • Deci (d) - .1 (Tenth)
  • Centi (c) - .01 (Hundredth)
  • Milli (m) - .001 (Thousandth)
  • Micro (µ) - .000001 (Millionth)
  • Nano (n) - .000000001 (Billionth)
  • Pico (p) - .000000000001 (Trillionth)
  • Femto (f) - .000000000000001 (Quadrillionth)
  • Atto (a) - .000000000000000001 (Quintillionth)

F. Significant Digits A.K.A. 'Sig Fig'

  1. Precision vs. Accuracy
  2. The measuring device determines the precision of the measurement.
  3. Measurements must make sense for that given situation


  • 4016m (4) 55mph
  • 4160s (3) 45.5mL

G. Measuring

1. Issues to consider before you start measuring
  • Concept
  • Units
  • Scale
  • Smallest amount that can be measured:
  • Largest amount that can be measured:
  • Increment:
  • Precision:
2. Issues to consider while measuring
  • Parallax
  • Meniscus
  • “Burning an inch”
  • Estimation
  • To position and use a ruler correctly, pretend the graduations (marks/lines) have NO thickness. If they are VERY thin, you should try to use the center of each mark
3. Measuring Mindset
  • Measure and record the "at least"
  • Estimate 1 more digit
  • Record correct units

H. Conversions

  • 4 / 4 = 1
  • 25 x 1 = 25

I. Metric Conversions

J. Scientific Notation

  1. Rules
    • Always write the number with only one digit to the left of the decimal point.
    • When converting a number to Scientific Notation:
      • If the number >= 10, the exponent is positive.
      • If the number < 1, the exponent is negative.
      • If 1 <= the number < 10, the exponent is zero.
    • When converting a number from Scientific Notation:
      • If the exponent is positive, move the decimal to the right.
      • If the exponent is negative, move the decimal to the left.
  2. Examples
    • Conversion from Number to Scientific Notation
      • 1,060,000 --> 1.06 x 106 ( The Number is larger than 10, so the exponent is positive. )
      • .00000069 --> 6.9 x 10-7 ( The Number is less than 1, so the exponent is negative. )
      • 9 --> 9. x 100 ( The Number is more than 1 and less than 10, so the exponent is zero. )
    • Conversion from Scientific Notation to Number
      • 9.08 x 106 --> 9,080,000 ( The exponent is positive, so the decimal moves right. )
      • 9.08 x 10-6 --> .00000908 ( The exponent is negative, so the decimal moves left. )

K. Problem Solving Strategy

  • Read the problem
  • Make a prediction including units
  • Take inventory - What do we know and what do we need to know?
  • Choose an equation
  • Solve for x
  • Substitute
  • Calculate and simplify units
  • Verify - are those the units you expected? Does the answer make sense?

L. Graphing in Physics

Includes the slope equation
Demo of a programmer using these equations.

M. Relationships

  1. Linear (Direct)
  2. Reciprocal (Inverse)
  3. Exponential (Quadratic)
The truth: In the real world graphs are a combination of 1-3

II. Equilibrium

  1. Force - push or pull that causes acceleration
  2. Net Force- the result (sum) of all forces acting on an object.
  3. Equilibrium = Balanced Forces when net force = 0N
Vectors -
1.Define through examples
Define Resultant and Components
Equilibrium = Net Force of (zero) = No acceleration (one dimension)
2.Vector Addition using Graphical Method
3.Vector Addition using Analytical methods
Class Vector Notes explaining what was happening to our Mouse Trap Cars during the race.

III. Inertia

History of our views on motion... Aristotle, Copernik, Galileo, Newton
Newton's First Law of Motion
Inertia = mass
mass is NOT volume. mass is NOT weight.

IV. Motion in One Dimension (Linear)

A. Key terms
1. Rate-
- - - - - -
2. Scalar Quantity-
3. Vector Quantity-
- - - - - -
4. Distance-
5. Displacement-
- - - - - -
6. Speed-
7. Velocity-
- - - - - -
8. Acceleration-
B. Calculating speed and velocity
Class Vector Notes showing the relationship between velocity and vectors
Class Notes with solutions for some sample problems.
C. Calculating acceleration
D. Derived Equations
Sample problems from class using derived equations.
E. Graphing Progression

V. Motion in 2 or more Dimensions (Projectiles)

A. Trig and vectors
define components
intro kicked ball problem (parabolic trajectory)
Example: If you are 75 m from a flagpole and the top of the pole is at an angle of 40 degrees above horizontal, how tall is the flagpole?
then solve for opp
then substitute
now solve
B. Dropped Objects
How fast is it going after 3s?
How fast is it falling when it has fallen 3m?
How long does it take to fall 50m?
How long does it take to reach a velocity of -60m/s?
Where is it after 4.6s?
Where is it when it is going -22m/s?
C. Launched up or down
Tiffany's Presentation in PDF gives advice on solving rocket problems.
Class Notes with solutions for some sample problems.
D. Launched horizontally
Discussion: Independence of Motion
Class Notes covering trig concepts and problems from sections B, C, and D.
E. Launched at “other angles”
Review Component and Resultant Vectors ... kicked ball problem
Canon-ball problems
Throwing rocks at the enemy...
Class Notes

VI. Newton's 2nd Law of Motion - Force and Acceleration

A. Review Newton's 3 Laws of Motion
Define force and net force???
B. TLW define the 4 Universal forces, and identify multiple examples of each
  1. gravity
  2. electromagnetic
  3. strong nuclear
  4. weak nuclear
C. TLW Calculate Force, Gravity and Weight
  1. Weight of a 6 kg object
  2. Mass of a 20 N object
  3. What is (g) on a planet if the mass of the object is 6.6 kg, and the weight is 40 N?
  4. If a 97kg bike rider (mass includes the bike) is moving at a velocity of 5m/s and an extra (NET?) force of 30N is applied to him, continuously, how fast will he be going 3s later?
(D.) Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation
E. TLW draw and label 2-D Force Diagrams
Ff ~ friction force
FN ~ Normal force (perp. To surfaces)
Fa ~ applied force
Fg ~ weight
TLW relate Newton's 3rd Law to Force diagrams to help solve problems
F. Friction- a force b/w two surfaces that resists motion
1.Factors affecting Friction: surface area, surface textures, F_N, and lubricants
2.Types of Friction
a. Static friction- friction b/w two objects that are not moving.
b. Sliding friction- the forces b/w surfaces in relative motion.
c. Rolling friction  ???
3.Calculating Friction
mu ~ coefficient of friction
(a) Block of wood…dragged
…if block weighs 18N, what is the force of friction?
Ff = m (FN)
Ff = .2 (18N) = 3.6N
(b)Filing cabinet….pushing with a force of 12,000N… weight = 24,000N…coefficient?
m = (Ff)/(FN)
m = 12,000N/24,000N
m = .5
(c)same file cabinet (but lighter)….Now weighs only 20,000N. What is the applied force?
Ff = m (FN)
Ff = .5 ( 20,000N)
Ff = 10,000N

VIII. Work and Energy

A. Key terms
1.Work - the use of energy to move an object
2.Energy - the ability to do work
3.Potential Energy - the amount of energy an object might develop, based on its position, location, condition, or situation.
4.Kinetic Energy - the amount of energy while an object is moving or the amount of energy because it's moving
5.Power - the rate of which an object is doing work or using energy.
B. Energy Conversions...
1.Mechanical energy
2.Chemical energy
3.Nuclear energy
4.Radiant energy
5.Electrical energy
C. Calculating Work and Energy – simple examples to compare
w=Fd = 1N × 1m = 1Nm = 1J
P.E.= mgh = 0.10194kg × -9.81m/s 2× 1m = -1Nm = -1J
K.E.= ½(m)(v)2 = ½ (0.10194kg) × (-4.4294m/s)2 = 1Nm = 1J
Work at any angle
w=Fd cos ( θ)
Theta is angle between direction of motion and direction of force
D. Law of Conservation of Energy
Define system
E. Calculating Power

VII. Collisions

A. Momentum - (Mom = mass x velocity)
B. Impulse - (Impulse = Force x time) the transfer of momentum during an event. (or something =/ )
C. Law of Conservation of Momentum (Two types of collisions)

VII. Rotational Motion and the Law of Gravity

It's all about the Radians!!!
A. How angles change around a circle:
1. Angular Displacement
radial meters / meters
2. Angular Speed
3. Angular Acceleration
B. Compare:
1. Rotational motion with constant angular acceleration
2. Linear motion with constant acceleration
C. Changes around a circle:
1.Tangential Displacement = arc length
2. Tangential Speed
3. Tangential Acceleration
D. How does it feel as you go around a circle:
Centripetal (center-seeking) acceleration
Tangential and centripetal accelerations are perpendicular.
Centripetal force
How do ice skaters spin so fast? Conservation of Angular Momentum
Moment of Inertia for a point mass moving around an axis (diff. shapes have diff. equations)
Angular Momentum
(e.) Why is my truck stronger than your truck? Torque
Torque sounds like work because of the units, but it is actually more similar to Force (but in a circle.

“d” is known as the “moment arm”- distance from the pivoting point. “F” is the force applied at “d” from the pivoting point.

Newton's law of Universal Gravitation
using Newton's constant of Universal Gravitation
all units cancel except for N.
Escape velocity also uses G.
where M is the planet's mass (),
and R is the planet's radius (),
so Earth's .
What would happen if we lower M (X0.002) and lower R (X0.19) as we would for Pluto?
What would happen if we raise M (X317.9) and raise R (X11.19) as we would for Jupiter?
What would happen if we raise M (X10000000) and lower R (X0.005) as we would for a small star?

IX. - XI. Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics

A. Kinetic Theory of Matter explains Temperature and Phases...
B. Phase Changes
C. Density
D. Archimedes' Principle
E. Pressure
F. Pascal's Principle
G. Bernoulli's Principle
H. Gas laws
I. Thermodynamics

XXXVI. Magnetic Fields

A. TLW Define and give examples to explain the following terms:
1. Magnetic Poles-
The phrase, involving poles, that we should know:
2. Magnetic Field-
3. Electrical Field lines-
B. TLW describe, explain and compare the different Types of magnets
1. Permanent-
a. Lodestone-
b. Man-made: How are they made?
1) Iron alloys
2) Ceramic
3) Plastic (refrigerator)
2. Electromagnets-
C. TLW Explain the “Right-hand Rule” in the form of a short paragraph:
D. TLW List the Magnetic Metals: ______________, _______________, and _______________. What does that mean?
E. TLW List things that we can do with magnetic fields in general terms as well as with specific examples?

XXXII. Electric Charge

TLW Define Charge and demonstrate its effects using a Balloon and a Van de Graaff generator

XXXIII. Electrical Energy and Capacitance

A. *TLW define (including variable & units) Potential Difference
-The difference between charges in two locations
Variable: V
Unit: volt/voltage
B. TLW define (including units) Capacitance
-The ability of a thing to hold on to a certain amount of charge then lets it go
Variable: c
Unit: Farad

XXXIV. Current and Resistance

A. *TLW define (including variable & units) Current
-The rate of the flow of electricity of a conductor
Unit: Ampere/Amp (A)
B. TLW connect “Methods of delivering electricity” and their related sources
1. Static (lightning, fuzzy slippers, Van de Graaff generator)
2. Current
a. DC- Direct current (batter, generatory)
b. AC- Alternating current (wall outlets, alternator)
3. Wireless
C. TLW use the Water Analogy to explain most aspects of electricity, drawing circuits of flowing water to represent electrical components
Define Frequency after AC is explained using this analogy.
D. *TLW define (including variable & units) Resistance
-the tendency of a thing to restrict the flow of electricity
Variable: R
Unit: ohm
  1. TLW list Factors that affect Resistance
  • diameter
  • length
  • temperature
  • material
  • TLW solve problems using Ohm's Law (V = I x R)
E. *TLW define (including variable & units) Power
-rate of which electrical energy is used (or produced by generator or alternator)
Variable: P
Units: Watts (W)
TLW solve problems involving V, I, R, and P
F. TLW combine the 2 electrical equations into new equations and solve problems using all equation combinations
V = I x R + P = I x V produces P = R x I² + P=( V² ) / R

XXXV. Circuits

Define Conductor and Insulator

A. TLW know symbols for electrical components
B. TLW draw and interpret Circuit Diagrams
C. TLW create and simplify Series Resistors
D. TLW create and simplify Parallel Resistors
E. TLW create and simplify Mixed Resistors
F. TLW solve 1000 circuit problems

XXXVII. AC and Induction

Finish list from Chapter :21... “What can we do with Magnetic Fields?”
A. Define Induction ... use the verb "Induce" in several sentences.
B. Define, compare, and contrast Generator and Motor
C. Transformers
  1. Theory of Operation
  2. Equation
  3. Examples within circuits

XXIV. Modern Electronics

Semiconductor Doping-
n-type ... extra electron
p-type ... missing electron
Uses and diagram
Building a bridge rectifier
Uses and diagram
Building an "and gate" and an "or gate"

Resonating sound waves in a closed air column.

If you don't correct for diameter, the harmonics can be found as follows... L1 = l/(4/1) L2 = l/(4/3) L3 = l/(4/5)

Remembering that l = vT, that equation would look like 4L = vT – kd where d is the inside diameter of the tube and k is a constant

or it could be written as 4L = v/f – kd--.

Solve to find ... k =

Marin Mersenne (8Sep1588-1Sep1648, France), a classmate (and later friend) of Rene Descartes (who was 8 years younger), became a Franciscan monk (Order of the Minims to be precise) in 1611, and taught philosophy and theology in Paris. Early in his career he published works condemning the ideas of people such as Galileo and Descartes because many of their ideas ran contrary to those of Aristotle. His mathematical intellect, however, led him to actually study those works, and eventually see the truths that they held. In less than a decade, he reversed his opinion and became “ of Galileo's most ardent supporters.” He had regular contact with Gassendi, Descartes, Fermat, Hobbes, Etienne Pascal and his son Blaise. He hosted meetings with international scholars, mathematicians, and “natural philosophers”. These meetings eventually grew into the “Academie Parisiensis”. In 1627 he published his famous work that included the laws related to vibrating strings. The laws concerning a string can be summarized in one sentence. “Its frequency is proportional to the square root of the tension, and inversely proportional to the length, to the diameter and to the square root of the specific weight of the string, provided all other conditions remain the same when one of these quantities is altered.” Christien Huygens considered him a mentor, although they never met face-to-face. Without Mersenne's Academie, Galileo would not have become known outside of Italy. He may not have been the biggest wheel of the Renaissance, but he certainly was the hub.

Mersenne's Laws

1. When the tension on a string remains the same but the length L is varied, the period of the vibration is proportional to L. This is also known as Pythagoras's law. 2. When the length of a string is held constant but the tension T is varied, the frequency of oscillation is proportional to . 3. For different strings of the same length and tension, the period is proportional to , where w is the weight of the string. </math>