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Physics Lab Course Guidelines



Teacher:  Mr. Jared Lash

Text Book:  Holt Physics by Serway & Faughn

School Phone # 957-3340 Ext. 236




I          Introduction


          Physics is the most basic of all the sciences.  This introductory course is focused on providing a solid background in physics for students who are planning on entering a scientific field or who want to challenge themselves.  Students should posses a firm understanding of algebra and trigonometry.  Calculus and pre-calculus is helpful but not essential.  Primarily this course differs from the less advanced Conceptual Physics because of its more demanding mathematical approach as well as the need for greater understanding of the scientific principles.


In this course we will be studying more general physics principles.  In Physics Lab we will explore basic scientific measurements and techniques, motion, rotational motion, gravity, energy, momentum, fluids, heat, sound, light, electricity and magnetism.  Im sure you have some basic knowledge on all of these topics but in this class we will go into quite a bit of depth on each of them.      



II          Classroom Policies


          In Physics Lab I tend to be very relaxed and loose.  I encourage questions and discussion and allow students to feel like they are free to vocalize their point of view.  My stance is that I will treat you as adults unless you give me a reason not to. 


          I do expect promptness and that you be seated in your seats BEFORE the bell rings.  We generally have a lot to cover and need to start on time.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when students are in my class and are working on materials for another course.  I understand that you may have a test in another class that day but if you are in my class I expect you to be giving me your full attention.


As you now know, in this course you will be sitting at lab tables instead of traditional desks.  I hope that this is not an inconvenience for you.  You will be doing a lot of HW problems and labs with the people at your tables so it is to your advantage to make sure that you have their phone numbers if you need help.  At first the seating will be random but I may or may not move you around during the year.


          Of course you should know by now that there is no eating or drinking in class.  No one should be talking while I am talking and safety should always be a major concern.




III          Grading Breakdown and Class Assignments


1.                 Scoring


Your quarter grade will be calculated as follows:

25% Homework/Group work

29% Labs

10% Quizzes

35% Exams

1% Recycling


Your semester grade will be calculated as follows:

          35% First quarter Grade (1st or 3rd)

          35% Second quarter Grade (2nd or 4th)

          5% Semester Project

          25% Final Exam



2.                 Homework


Physics is a course which requires practice to master.  There are a lot of formulas and equations and while you dont necessarily have to memorize them all, you must know how to use them.  Thus you will have a lot of in class problems to work on as well as a fair amount of practice problems. 

You will be given two types of homework assignments.  Daily assignments will be shorter.  They will involve section review questions and occasionally some of the end of chapter exercises.  The other homework assignments will be called chapter homework, which will have more questions. 


Daily assignments will be worth up to 2 points.  I will grade them quickly and give 0 points for little or no effort, 1 point if you make an effort but dont complete all questions or do a substandard job on it and a 2 if all questions are attempted and good effort is showed.  Chapter Problems will be graded more rigorously on a 10-point scale that I will outline in class.  On either assignment copied work will receive a zero as well as will the person from whom it was copied.



3.                 Quizzes


Quizzes will be graded out of 5 points.  You will have a quiz every week that I will inform you about  but I will also surprise you with pop quizzes occasionally.  This is to provide incentive for you to keep up with the material, as physics is a subject in which you can get very far behind very quickly if you are not careful.  Just like exams, quizzes will be made up of a combination of conceptual and calculation questions.



4.                 Labs


In this class we will be doing a fair amount of laboratory work, roughly a lab or two per week.  The majority of these labs will involve the CBL or LabPro calculator based laboratory instruments.  Thus it will be a requirement that the majority of the people in your lab group have a TI-83+ or more advanced calculator.  Also it will be necessary for you to have the appropriate programs installed.  The programs we will be using are the DataMate, DataGate, and Physics applications.  You can download these programs from my calculator using the link cable.  We will use the computer in the back of the room for printing out graphs. 


I will give you a copy of each lab several days prior to the experiment day.  You will be expected to pre-lab and be ready to perform the labs.  On experiment days I will give you a quiz to ensure that you are prepared.  These quizzes will be worth one point, while the labs will be graded on a nine-point scale for a total of ten points per lab.  For more info read the Lab Guidelines handout.



5.                 Exams


In this class I plan on having 2 exams per quarter but it is possible that we could have three if the pacing of the class changes.  The exams will have a mix of conceptual and calculation questions.  The format of exams will be mix of multiple choice, fill in the blanks, short answer and calculation questions.  And because I am encouraging understanding and not memorization you will be allowed to bring in a 3 x 5 card to each exam on which you may write whatever you wish to help you on the exams.


On exams I will be looking for significant figures, and proper reasoning/logic and will be looking to give partial credit for people who do some work in the right direction.  Grading on Exams will be based on the breakdown of scores by both sections.  I will take the average, standard deviation and compute grades based on percentiles.  I will go over the exam scoring process more in class.



6.                 Recycling


Once each semester you will be required to bring in 50 crushed aluminum cans or a receipt from a recycling center verifying that you have recycled cans.  This is an effort to promote recycling and also a way for the science department to make some money for more equipment.  If you want extra credit you may bring more cans above the minimum fifty.  You will get one-half percent extra credit for every extra 50 cans up to 2 percent.  This would be a total of 250 cans.




7.                 Projects and Extra Credit


Each semester there will be a project, which will count for 5% of your grade.  You will be given a handout describing the first semester project in a couple weeks.  You will get a handout on the second semester project on the first day of the second semester.  Each project will allow you to work in groups of 2-4 people from either physics lab class on a comprehensive assignment.  These should be fun and interesting to you especially the second semester project The Physics Of.


Although I have not thought of any specific extra credit assignments I will make some available if there is demand. 


IV       Class Website


          One of the most important resources for this course will be the website.  The website will contain copies of all the handouts given out in class, relevant info, interesting facts, an updated syllabus and interesting and relevant links.  Also I will post current grades for this class every Monday.  If you want to get in touch with me feel free to e-mail me at the address listed above.  I also have a personal e-mail, which I check much more often and am willing to give out in important or emergency situations. 

          Also, what you may want to consider doing is downloading either the yahoo messenger or Microsoft messenger, so that you can talk with me immediately.  I decided that I would try to be online every night between 9 and 10 pm if I am home and with either of these two applications you can get an immediate response from me.  If you are interested but dont know how to get or use these programs check my website.



          Im sure Ive forgotten something but well figure it all out.