AP Physics 1 Course Description


Course Outline for AP Physics 1   2014-2015

Instructor Scott Kindt           

Contact Information:

scott.kindt@thompsonschools.org    970 613-7743

Online information & assignments              www.rockymountainstars.com

Textbook:  PHYSICS 5th edition Douglas C. Giancoli  (supplied by school)

Recommended supplemental material

5 steps to a 5   AP Physics 1 by Greg Jacobs     McGraw Hill Education

The Princeton Review Cracking the AP Physics 1 Exam 2015 Edition



AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based, first-time physics course covering mechanics, waves, and electricity.  The AP Physics 1 course is ideal for all college-bound, high school students.  For those who intend to major in math or the core sciences, Physics 1 is a great introduction to college level work.

Course Objective:

Develop students’ problem solving skills.  Provide laboratory experience that enables students to analyze collected data and arrive at logical conclusions.  Give students the background necessary to score well on the AP exam.  Prepare students for additional courses in science.  Develop students’ ability for independent and logical thought.  Increase students’ ability to apply math to physical sciences.


Required Material:

Dedicated Lab Notebook (graph or composition format), Scientific Calculator


Total Grade comes from: 75% Exams & Quizzes, 5% Homework, 20% Lab Reports

100%-90% A,      89%-80% B,     79%-70% C,     69%-60% D,      59%-0 F

There is a 10% deduction in points for each day an assignment is late.

AP Physics 1 is a weighted course for grades C or higher.

Course Sequence    1st Semester


Ch. 1 Measurement, Significant figures, Conversion Factors

Ch.2 Kinematics, Motion in one dimension

Ch. 3 Projectiles, Motion in two dimensions, Vectors

Ch. 4 Newton’s Laws, Force and acceleration

Ch. 5 Circular Motion & Universal Gravity Kepler’s Laws

Ch. 6 Work, Energy & Power

Semester Exam



2nd Semester


Ch. 7 Linear Momentum, Impulse & Collisions

*Supplemental Text (Cutnell & Johnson)

*Ch. 8 Rotational Kinematics & Rotational Energy

*Ch. 9 Rotational Dynamics, Torques & Static Equilibrium

Ch. 11 & 12 Vibrations, Waves & Sound

Ch. 16 Electrostatics, Electric Forces & Fields

Ch. 18 & 19 Electric Currents & Simple DC Circuits

Review for AP Exam

Stereo Amplifier Project

Final Exam



Laboratory Reports

There will be on average at least one Physics lab every week.  Some will be teacher directed while others will be student directed (inquiry based).  During a teacher directed lab, the students are given instructions on the operation of lab equipment and guidance in the lab procedure.  Student-directed labs are when the students are given an objective, e.g. “Determine the acceleration due to gravity on earth” and standard materials needed to conduct the lab.  Students are allowed to create their own experimental design, and collect data which can be analyzed through graphical methods.  Some of these inquiry based labs will have an extra element added to the report.  After these labs, each student group must present their results to the class and defend their results.

Students work in groups, but each student must submit a lab report which is turned in the day after the conclusion of each activity.

Each lab report must include the following components

  1.  Statement of the problem or purpose / objective
  2. Hypothesis
  3. Discussion or outline of how the procedure will be carried out
  4. Data collected from the experiment
  5. Data analysis
  6. Error analysis
  7. Conclusion
  8. Lab Questions


Lab Sequence * Inquiry Based

  1. Unit conversions with similar triangles & trig functions.
  2. Graphing and Inertia:  Use an inertia balance to calculate mass.
  3. Rock Drop Lab:  Students determine the velocity & acceleration due to gravity.
  4. *Reaction time:  Students figure out a method to determine their reaction time.
  5. Projectiles:  Students determine the landing location for a ball rolling off a table.
  6. *Projectiles:  Students have to shoot a ball through a hoop placed at a particular location when launched at an angle.

Orbit the Earth Challenge Problem

  1. Force Table & Vectors:  Students determine the missing forces to produce equilibrium.
  2. Students must determine the formula for a simple Atwood’s machine.
  3. *Students determine what effect an incline plane has on the value of friction & determine coefficients of friction for various objects.

Coriolis Challenge problem with long range missiles.

  1. Students determine the centripetal acceleration for an object in circular motion.
  2. Galileo Ramps:  Students use ramps at different angles to determine what happens to acceleration.
  3. Kepler’s laws:  Students use planetary data and apply this to Kepler’s Laws.

Lunar Tides Challenge problem.

  1. Horse Power:  Students calculate their horsepower to run up the stairs.
  2. Hooke’s Law:  Students determine the relationship between distance stretched & force.
  3. *Pendulums:  Students determine what factors affect the period of a pendulum.


Second Semester

  1. *Car Collisions:  Students design a car that will safely protect an egg in a crash.
  2. Static Equilibrium & Torque:  Students will calculate the torques involved in a bridge and a suspension sign (Joe’s Crab Shack) lab.
  3. Rolling Cylinders & Marbles:  Students will determine how the type of object affects it’s time to roll down an incline.
  4. *Angular Acceleration with PASCO units.  Students will create a lab to measure the angular acceleration with a PASCO measuring device and how the distribution of mass affect the angular acceleration.
  5. *Electric Circuits:  Students will determine current and voltage relationships in simple series and parallel circuits.
  6. Students determine the speed of sound using resonance tubes & tuning forks.
  7. (Review Lab)  Students will use spring and balsa wood to measure conversions of energy and Conservation Laws.

After the AP Exam

Students will build 20 watt stereo amplifiers + power supplies + speakers.