AP Physics B
Parent or Guardian: please read through the AP Physics B Syllabus and Course Expectations so that you know and understand now this class will be run and what your student is expected to do. By signing below, I will assume that you have read the material. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the email address above or through the contact form on the website. You may also call the school and leave a message for me.
Students: by signing below, you agree that you have read and understand the rules and works of the class and the expectations placed on you. You agree that you will put forth 100% effort on this class and realize that the class is difficult and time consuming. You agree that you understand that you must do a lot of work on your own at home and that your success in this class is highly dependant on your effort.
Education is a team effort. Students, parents/guardians and teachers must all work together to make a student successful. The teacher will do their best to give the students the information and skills necessary to succeed. The student will do their best to put in the effort in homework, studying, and attendance. The parent/guardian will do their best to support their child in their school work and give them a place to study at home.
All students must come to class with their own pen or pencil, notebook, and scientific calculator. You can buy a scientific calculator for around $10 at Target or Walmart.
A graphing calculator is NOT required for this class.
Students and Parents/Guardians: Please feel free to contact me for any reason.
Students: do not hesitate to come to me for help.
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Texts: The AP Physics B course here at
Word Problems: There will be homework assigned for each chapter of the textbook. These should be done according to a set, step by step scheme (including the writing of related quantities, symbols and data, base equations, solved equations, and problem solutions with units, as well as occasional dimensional analysis). These problems are tough but, in the end, enjoyable (dare I say fun?). All students must have a good scientific calculator that they are familiar with. Also, students should consider forming study groups - often several heads are better than one.
Class Participation: Active class participation is encouraged in science. Our class periods are relatively few (given the magnitude of what lies ahead) and, therefore, precious. Use it to clarify doubts encountered in your study at home.
Notes: Lectures will completely cover the major themes of this course. They will be organized according to the AP Physics B syllabus. Lectures will be presented in a way that should be clear to the student, less cluttered with obscuring detail than is often found in textbooks, so that students can see just what the important points really are. Class notes on this lecture material should prove most valuable, especially when plowing though the textbooks at home. Most of the conventions for notation will be the widely recognized ones used by Giancoli.
Resources: There are a number of good resources that should be of aid throughout this course. Keep them in mind as we go along: 1) In addition to the textbook we are using, there are ten or so other good physics textbooks in my room. These may be consulted and/or borrowed at the student's convenience. Often, a different presentation of a theme helps to make it clearer. Also, different texts have different strengths; 2) My website, www.physicsmedic.org, which has links to a variety of physics resources to help you gain a mastery of the knowledge 3) The list of objectives for the AP exam, taken from the types of questions asked on exams over the years; 4) The practice AP Physics B exams you will receive throughout the year - complete with multiple choice and free response sections; 5) your own, accumulating base of solved word problems in a bound notebook.
Grading: We will have three or four exams per quarter. These will emphasize the skills demanded by the AP test - there will be an emphasis on problem solving. In addition, there will be quizzes, labs, and homework problem sets. These exams will contain released exam items from past AP exams.
Labs: We should have a lab once every two weeks. Again, time is the constraint here and this is unfortunately the component of this course that will be the first to be sacrificed if we get behind (other schools offer this course at almost double the class time per week). Emphasis will be placed on in-class demonstrations should labs be curtailed. More complete lab write-ups will be required, occasionally. Due to equipment and lab supply limitations, some labs may be virtual labs done using software or online resources.
Me: I am here to help you succeed in this course. There are liable to be many questions with concepts and word problems - encountered in evening study. Working in study groups should help students answer many of these on their own. Otherwise, I am available for questions and extra help during free periods, breaks, and after school. Please feel free to come and talk if you are having doubts or difficulties. You may also email me with questions at email@example.com. I usually check my email each evening and on weekends.
Remember, your success in this course depends on your effort and the time you spend on this course. This is a college level course, and as such, it will require college-level time. You should be spending, at a minimum, one hour, every day, on this course. Even if there is no official homework, you should be reviewing your notes and reading the textbook. Take time to explore the web links on the class web site and explore physics in more depth.
(adapted from Mr. Harmon,
) CDS High