Introductory Physics I with Laboratory

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We will investigate motion in the world around us; we welcome both those who want to participate fully and those who wish to sample, cafeteria-style, the activities of this course.  Those who participate fully will experience a course that is very different in style but equivalent (at least) in core content to a traditional, on-campus, first-semester college-level introductory physics course that includes a laboratory. At the same time, those who cherry-pick selected course elements (e.g., learning the basics of video capture and analysis of motion in one’s own surroundings) will still advance their understanding of physics.   

We aim to understand and to predict motion in the real world using a small set of powerful fundamental principles. The laboratories are the backbone of this course, providing opportunities (1) to observe and to analyze motion in our own surroundings, (2) to apply fundamental principles to build explanations of the motion, and (3) to evaluate, in a constructively critical way, our own measurements and models, as well as the measurements and models of our course peers. Other course elements (lecture videos with “clicker” questions, homework) support and extend the physics explored in the laboratories.

Participants who satisfactorily complete the course will be eligible for six (6) Continuing Education Units from the American Association of Physics Teachers. 


(NBThis syllabus will be revised soon to reflect a 16-week term; please check back later.  )

Week 1:               Motion in 1D: Kinematics, Vectors (Part 1) & Newton’s 2nd Law

Lab 0:                  Install Video Analysis & Computer Modeling Software

Week 2:               Motion in 1D: Prediction of Motion; Constant/Non-Constant Forces

Lab 1:                  Constant Velocity Motion in Your Surroundings

Week 3:               Motion in > 1D: Vectors (Part 2) & Newton’s 2nd Law

Week 4:               Motion in > 1D: Prediction of Motion; Momentum

Lab 2:                  Free Fallin’ with Drag (1D Dynamics)

Week 5:               Curving Motion, Including Uniform/Non-Uniform Circular Motion

Week 6:               Energy Principle; Work

Lab 3:                  Galactic Black Holes (>1D Dynamics)

Week 7:               Multiparticle Systems: Potential Energy

Week 8:               Energy Applications

Lab 4:                  Rope Physics in Sports (Forces & Energy)

Week 9:               Energy & Momentum: Collisions

Week 10:             Angular Momentum Principle

Lab 5:                  Free Choice Project (Energy & Momentum)

Week 11:             Final Exam; Lab 5 Submit & Evaluate