Physics Syllabus





Teacher: Royce Ohlde                                                     Home Phone (785)692-4349


Text: Physics: Principles and Problems: Zitzewitz and Neff:1995




Physics is the study and investigation of the physical world around us.  The physical world deals with motion of bodies, light, sound, electricity, magnetism, and gravity.  Basically every thing that makes our world operate. We will use the lab exercises to better understand the physical world while also learning proper lab techniques.  Students taking this course should have a very good understanding of Algebra and be able to do calculations with confidence. 


I assume that the majority of the students taking Physics are considering attending a college after graduating from high school.  Therefore one of my goals of this class is to prepare you for college level work. With this in mind we will, at times, discuss things that may not be directly connected with Physics, but rather things that may help you be successful in college.


 The material we will cover in the 36-week school year will usually be covered in about 14 weeks in a college course; they will also go into much more depth than we will here. At times you may feel we are covering a lot of material quickly, and we may be.  Live with it!  YOU ARE CAPABLE OF MORE THAN YOU THINK.


The study of Physics can be difficult and sometimes intimidating.  One thing to remember is the fact that the study of Physics has NEVER killed anybody.  If you are confused or don’t understand something ASK FOR HELP.  I will be available after school if you need assistance.  Don’t be too scared or embarrassed to ask for help.  This can be a tough class; I will try to help you any way I can to make it easier. 



The information covered in each chapter is given below.  The objective for every chapter is that students learn and understand this information.


Chapter 1: A Physics Toolkit


                   SI units & prefixes, Dimensional Analysis, Significant Digits

          Scientific Method:

                   Models, laws, theories, precision vs. accuracy

                   Independent and dependent variables


Chapter 2: Representing Motion

          Motion Diagrams and coordinate systems

          Vectors vs. scalars

          Distance vs. displacement

          P-T graphs

          Velocity = Δ distance / Δ time

          Slope of line = average velocity


Chapter 3: Accelerated Motion

          Acceleration = Δ velocity / Δ time

          Velocity- time graphs

          Slope of line = average acceleration


Finding final velocity Vf , Position, Initial velocity vi, and acceleration


                   Acceleration due to gravity, g = 9.8 m/s2


Chapter 4: Forces in One Dimension


                   Free body diagrams

                    Relationship of force and acceleration       

                    Newton’s second law, F = ma

                    Inertia and equilibrium of forces

                    Air resistance and terminal velocity

          Newton’s third law:

                    Interacting forces

                    Tension forces

                    Normal forces

Chapter 5: Forces in Two Dimensions


                   Pythagorean Theorem

                   Vector components, X-Y axis


                   Static and kinetic friction

                   Coefficient of friction

                   Equilibrium of multiple forces


Chapter 6: Projectile Motion


                   Independence of X & Y dimensions

                   Projectiles launched at an angle

          Relative motion and relative velocity

          Circular motion:

                   Centripetal acceleration

                   Fnet = mac


Chapter 7: Planetary Motion and Gravitation

          Tycho Brahe & Johannes Kepler

          Kepler’s 1st, 2nd  & 3rd laws

          Newton’s law of universal gravitation:

                   Periods and speeds of satellites

                   Gravitational fields


Chapter 9: Momentum and Its Conservation:

          Impulse vs. Momentum:

                   Impulse – momentum theorem

          Angular Momentum

          Conservation of momentum:

                   Elastic collisions

                   Inelastic collisions

                   Conservation of momentum in two dimensional collisions


Chapter 10: Energy, Work and Power


                   Change of kinetic energy

                   W = Δ KE

          Work and forces exerted at an angle


                   Power = W/t

          Ideal mechanical advantage

          Efficiency of machines


Chapter 11: Energy Conservation

          Work – energy theorem

          Gravitational potential energy

Law of conservation of mechanical energy in elastic and inelastic   collisions


Chapter 16, 17 & 18: Fundamentals of Light

          Ray diagrams

          Luminous flux (lm)

          Illuminance (lx)

          Point source of illumanance

          Ole Roemer and the speed of light


          Law of reflection

          Snell’s law of refraction:

                    Indices of refraction

                   Critical angle and total internal reflection



**Some chapters or sections of chapters may be added or deleted at the teacher’s discretion in order to meet the needs and abilities of students and to maintain proper pacing.  This is a lot of material to cover in two semesters, but the more we cover the better the background you will have for college courses.  I will, however, try to maintain an appropriate pace so that you can learn the material well.






Following are the assignments for each chapter, also listed are the state standards addressed in that chapter. In addition to the listed assignments the following labs, demonstrations, and activities will be incorporated into the appropriate chapters.  A year-long balsa bridge design and construction project will also be assigned.


Labs, Demonstrations, and Activities:

Magnetic force thought activity

Measurement lab (Sigfigs)

Velocity Lab (P/T graphs)

Recorder-timer lab

Rocket lab (initial velocity)

Lead brick demo (Newton’s first law)

F=Ma Demo (Newton’s second law)

Equilibrium activity (Newton’s third law)

Friction activity

Force table lab

Projectile Launcher lab (Vi)

Projectile Launcher lab (Target)

Shoot the Monkey demo

Collision cart activity

Work lab

Power lab (Stairway)

Air puck activity

Spin table activity

Internal reflection and lens activity

Refraction lab (index of refraction)


Substitutions, additions, or deletions may be made to the listed assignments and activities to better meet the needs and abilities of the students.  Time constraints along with school activities and student attendance may also require some adjustments.


Assignments for Chapter One

A Physics Toolkit

Approximately 2 Weeks


Page 26: 34-40, 49-51, 67-77


Page 28: 87, 89, 90-92, 94, 97


Sigfig quiz


Chapter One Test


actively engages in asking and evaluating research questions


actively engages in investigations, including developing questions, gathering and analyzing data, and designing and conducting research


actively engages in using technological tools and mathematics in their own scientific investigations


actively engages in conducting an inquiry, formulating and revising his or her scientific explanations and models (physical, conceptual, or mathematical) using logic and evidence, and recognizing that potential alternative
explanations and models should be considered.


actively engages in communicating and defending the design, results, and conclusion of his/her investigation


explains how science uses peer review, replication
of methods, and norms of honesty


understands scientific knowledge describes and explains the physical world in terms of matter, energy, and forces. Scientific knowledge is provisional and is subject to change as new evidence becomes available



understands scientific knowledge begins with empirical observations, which are the data (also called facts or evidence) upon which further scientific knowledge is built.


understands scientific knowledge consists of
hypotheses, inferences, laws, and theories


understands a testable hypothesis or inference must
be subject to confirmation by empirical evidence



Assignments for Chapter Two

Representing Motion

Approximately 2 Weeks


Page 41: 5-8, 14-18


Page 45: 25-28 & Page 47: 29-33


Pg 52: 47-60


Chapter Two Test


understands Newton’s Laws and the variables of time, position, velocity, and acceleration can be used to describe the position and motion of particles


understands physicists use conservation laws to
analyze the motion of objects


Assignments for Chapter Three


Approximately 4 Weeks


Page 64: 6-11


Recorder-Timer Lab


Page 64: 12, 16, 17, 18 a&b, 20, 22, 23, 26-29


Page 71: 32-34, 37-39, 41


Pages 74 & 75: 42-52


Page 81: 82, 84, 87, 92, 94, 95, 98, 100, 101


Pager 82: 86, 89, 91, 96, 106, 109, 110, 112, 113


Chapter Three Test


understands Newton’s Laws and the variables of time, position, velocity, and acceleration can be used to describe the position and motion of particles


understands physicists use conservation laws to
analyze the motion of objects



Assignments for Chapter Four

Forces in One Dimension

Approximately 3 Weeks


Rocket Lab


Pages 97-101: 15-26

Pages 104-107: 28, 31-33, 36-39

Pages 112-115: 42, 43, 45, 47, 53, 54, 59, 60, 64, 65, 67, 74, 77, 84, 86, 90, 91


Pages 112-115: 46, 61, 66, 68, 70, 73, 79, 81, 83, 88, 89


Pages 112-115: 62, 69, 72, 75, 76, 78, 80, 82, 85, 87


Chapter Four Test


understands Newton’s Laws and the variables of time, position, velocity, and acceleration can be used to describe the position and motion of particles



Assignments for Chapter Five

Forces in Two Dimensions

Approximately 6 Weeks


Pages 121 & 125: 1-10


Pages 125, 128 & 130: 11-15, 17-26, 28-32


Pages 141 & 142: 80, 82, 84-89


Page 142: 91-99 Odd


Pages 140-142: 67, 73, 75, 90, 92,94, 96


Old Book Page 130: 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 35


Old Book Page 130: 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32


Old Book Page 130: 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 37


Chapter Five Test


understands Newton’s Laws and the variables of time, position, velocity, and acceleration can be used to describe the position and motion of particles



Assignments for Chapter Six

Motion in Two Dimensions

Approximately 3 Weeks


Page 150 & 152: 1-10


Projectile Lab, Finding Vi


Page 156: 12-15, 18-21


Page 159: 22-30


Page 164: 33, 34, 35, 39, 41-48, 50


Page 165: 51, 55, 58, 61, 64, 68, 71, 74, 77, 80


Page 165: 52, 56, 59, 62, 65, 68, 71, 74, 78, 81


Chapter Six Test


understands Newton’s Laws and the variables of time, position, velocity, and acceleration can be used to describe the position and motion of particles


understands physicists use conservation laws to
analyze the motion of objects


Assignments for Chapter Seven


Approximately 2-3 Weeks


Page 174: 1-5


Pages 178 & 181: 6-14


Page 185: 15, 16, 18-21


Pages 190-194: 38, 43, 44, 46, 52, 54, 56, 58, 71, 79, 84


Pages 190-194: 39, 45, 47, 53, 55, 57, 59, 72, 73, 80, 85


Chapter Seven Test


understands gravitational attraction of objects in the
solar system keeps solar system objects in orbit


understands the relative sizes and distances of
objects in the solar system.




Assignments for Chapter Nine


Approximately 3 Weeks


Pages 233 & 235: 1-12 except 11


Page 238: 13-18


Pages 240 & 243: 19-25


Pages 251-253: 56, 59, 62, 65, 68, 70, 72, 73, 77, 80


Pages 251-253: 57, 60, 63, 64, 69, 71, 74, 87


Chapter Nine Test


understands physicists use conservation laws to
analyze the motion of objects


Assignments for Chapter Ten

Energy, Work, and Power

Approximately 3 Weeks


Pages 261 & 262: 1-8


Pages 264 & 265: 9-22


Pages 272 & 273: 25-33


Pages 278-281: 52, 55, 58, 61, 65, 67, 70, 76, 79, 82, 91


Pages 278-281: 53, 56, 59, 62, 65, 68, 71, 77, 80, 83, 92


Chapter Ten Test


understands Newton’s Laws and the variables of time, position, velocity, and acceleration can be used to describe the position and motion of particles



understands physicists use conservation laws to
analyze the motion of objects.




Assignments for Chapter Eleven

Conservation of Energy

Approximately 4 weeks


Pages 292 & 297: 9, 10, 12-14, 15-18


Pages 300-301: 19-22, 24-28


Pages 307-310: 54, 57, 60, 63, 67, 70, 73, 76, 79, 82


Pages 307-310: 55, 58, 61, 4, 68, 71, 74, 77, 80, 83


Chapter Eleven Test


understands physicists use conservation laws to
analyze the motion of objects.



Assignments for Chapters Sixteen and Eighteen

Fundamentals of Light and Refraction

Approximately 2 Weeks


Pages 436 & 438: 1-6, 11-13


Page 453: 14, 41, 53-58, 65


Page 487: 1-5


Page 492: 6-12


Page 508: 53,55,57,61,67,69,71,75,77,79,95


Chapter Sixteen and Seventeen Test


understands waves have energy and can transfer
energy when they interact with matter


The student understand interference – how waves
interact with other waves.


The student will understand the principles of
reflection and refraction


understands electromagnetic waves result when a
charged particle is accelerated or decelerated





Mr. Ohlde’s Classroom Rules


1.      Any homework, quiz, or test that is to be handed in should not be written in red, orange, or pink ink, any fringes from spiral bound notebooks need to be removed.


2.      The following information should be in the top right hand corner.


Date due____________________

Page no.____________________


3.      Use proper grammar and complete sentences on all written assignments.  Points will    be deducted if this rule is not followed.


4.      All students are expected to contribute in group projects and assignments, I will be watching for this.  If someone isn't doing his or her part please speak with me.


5.      Bring your text, notebook, calculator, paper, and pencil to every class.  If this becomes a problem you may start losing points.


6.      Don’t touch or mess with any material or equipment until I instruct you to.  During lab exercises we will sometimes be using materials that can cause permanent personal injury; horseplay or fooling around will not be tolerated.


7.      I know accidents happen, but if you break equipment due to carelessness you may be required to pay for replacing it.


8.      I am not a big fan of extra credit, if you want and need extra credit you will need to do extra work.  Extra credit will be something above and beyond the work we are doing in class, not just an extra worksheet or two.  Keep track of your scores so that you are aware of your present grade; ask me if you have any questions about how to calculate your grade.  By keeping track of your grade you can react early if it is lower than you like. 

9.   Anyone caught cheating on a quiz or test will receive a zero.  Just so everyone understands what I think constitutes cheating I will give several examples.  Using notes of any kind is cheating.  This includes information saved in the memory of calculators, written on paper, or on the tables; I will check for these.  Looking at another student’s paper is cheating, likewise carelessly or intentionally letting someone look at your paper is cheating.  If a student isn’t present when a test or quiz is given and needs to make it up at a later date it is cheating for any student to discuss items that are on the test with that student.  Talking between students during a test will be considered cheating.  If a situation arises that is not stated above Mr. Ohlde along with the school’s administrator will decide if it is cheating.


10.  Do not use cell phones in class, the school policy concerning cell phones will be         enforced in this class.  If a phone is being used for any purpose it will be turned in to the principal.







Late papers:


While I understand there will be times when turning in a late paper is unavoidable you need to understand the importance of turning in assignments in a timely manner.  Each student will be allowed three late papers without penalty, after that no credit will be given.  If you are going to be gone for a planned activity (school function, family outings, or hunting etc.) you are expected to turn in your homework before leaving.




Grading and Weighting:


Your grades will be divided into four categories, homework, quizzes, notebooks, and tests.  Since it is not unusual for students to work together on homework it is difficult to determine if the student turning in the homework completed and understands the homework.  I have no problem with students working together as long as one is not simply copying another student’s work.  For this reason the value of the score is reduced.  The value given for tests and quizzes is increased because the student turning in the work did it themselves, I know the work is theirs and it reflects what they have learned.  You are required to keep all work that is returned to you in a three ring binder I will check these once each quarter and they will be worth 10% of your total grade.     


Following are the four categories and their weighting; homework 20%, notebooks 10%, quizzes & labs 20%, and unit exams 50%.





Your total grade consists of four parts with the following weightings.


Homework: 20% of grade

Quizzes and labs: 20%

Notebook: 10%

Tests: 50 %


This may sound somewhat confusing, but here is how you calculate your total grade.


Take the points earned in each category divided by the total points possible in each category, multiply that by the weightings and add all these answers together for your grade.  I know you are still confused so here are some examples.


Homework: total points earned = 455

                   total points possible = 500


Quizzes: total points earned = 27

               total points possible = 30


Notebook: total points earned = 10

                 total points possible = 10


Tests: total points earned = 95

           total points possible = 100


Homework: 455/500 = .91             .91 X 20% =   .182

Quizzes :     27/30     = .90             .90 X 20% =   .18

Notebook:   10/10     = 1.00           1.0 X 10% =   .10

Tests:          95/100 = .95               .95 X 50% =   .475 


Total grade                                                          .937  or 93.7% which is an A



Now, remember that if you are caught cheating on a test you will receive a zero on that test.  Let’s see how that may affect your grade.  I will use the same numbers except for the test.



Homework: 455/500 = .91             .91 X 20% =   .182

Quizzes :     27/30     = .90             .90 X 20% =   .18

Notebook:   10/10     = 1.00           1.0 X 10% =   .10

Tests:          0/100     = 0.0              0.0 X 50% =  0.0


Total grade                                                          .462  or 46.2% which is an F


Not only is it an F it is a very low F.  The only way to bring that grade up is to do well on the next test.  Since we have tests only every 2-3 weeks you would be ineligible for any activities for at least that amount of time.  So if you are thinking about cheating be aware of the consequences and don’t expect any sympathy if you are caught.