Course title

Advanced Physics + Advanced Physics Lab



Course description

Advanced PhysicsCourse Overview

This college-preparatory, calculus-based advanced physics class covers a variety of topics, including; kinematics, Newton’s Laws, circular motion, work, power, energy, momentum and statics, rotational mechanics, electrostatics, electric potential and energy storage, electric currents, resistance and DC circuits, magnetism, electromagnetic induction, and Farady’s Law. To place into this course, students need to have either successfully completed high school physics or passed a placement test showing prior knowledge of physics concepts. This course utilizes student-centered learning to foster the development of critical thinking skills in a flipped-online classroom environment where the students and teacher meet for two 90-minute synchronous sessions a week and complete the rest of the work asynchronously. Discussion and demonstration activities allow students to construct explanations and engage in argument from evidence gleaned through investigations. They will also center on having students evaluate their own critical thinking and then making predictions about a given situation. Laboratories include both teacher directed and student designed/directed investigations to develop the ability to analyze complex information. Giancoli’s Physics for Scientists and Engineers volumes 1 and 2 will be used as the texts for this course. This course covers most of the topics covered in the AP Physics C Mechanics and E/M Curricula, and students may opt to take the AP Physics C exam in the Spring.

Course ContentUnit 1: Kinematics

As the opening unit of the year, students are introduced to the flipped classroom in an online setting, as well as how to appropriately interact with classmates from around the country via various technologies. This will all occur within the context of learning kinematics from the calculus perspective. Problem solving, and discussion will enhance the understanding of kinematics principles, free fall, and projectile motion. The use of the Pocketlab Voyager data logger, and hot rod car will allow students to investigate motion and verify relationships within kinematics.

Unit 2: Newton’s Laws

Using Newton’s Three Laws of Motion as the basis for this unit, students explore forces, including friction, and their effect on motion. By the end of the unit, given a combination of forces acting on an object resulting in constant acceleration, students will be able to apply Newton’s Laws and kinematics equations for constant acceleration to solve problems involving the motion of the object; that is, concerning its acceleration, velocity, position, etc. They will also be able to represent a system of forces by modeling them as free body diagrams for a system of 2 or 3 objects with constant acceleration, identify the reaction forces for each force acting on the objects and apply Newton’s Laws to solve for any unknown quantities. The design of the investigation for this unit will be a combination of ideas from students working collaboratively with each other ensure that a fair, valid scientific investigation is carried out. Evidence based results will be communicated via a formal lab report, which includes a synopsis, background information summary, data analysis, and a conclusion, which will be justified through the error propagation carried out throughout the investigation and a comparison to known scientific context.

Unit 3: Circular Motion

In this unit, the text is used to introduce students to the concepts key to understanding centripetal force and acceleration, tangential acceleration, the Law of Universal Gravitation, satellites, weightlessness and Kepler’s Laws. Students will discuss the concepts and solve problems during our live synchronous sessions. Students will not only have an opportunity to solve quantitative problems dealing with these topics but will also discuss conceptual questions and “real world” problems of satellite operations using the information gained in this unit. Information gotten from NASA’s public websites about current satellite missions will be used as examples of why understanding this topic is important outside of the classroom.

Unit 4: Work, Energy and Power

Building on the previous units, this unit combines the ideas of conservation of energy with conservation of work, leading to the work energy theorem. Situations where work is done by non-conservative forces, dissipated energy and escape velocity are also included in this unit. Graphical analysis is used to determine the relationship between work done and position of an object, along with the amount of power produced or used in certain situations. Students have the opportunity to not only solve quantitative problems about work, power and energy, but qualitative questions will also be analyzed and discussed. Real life situations about moving objects around rooms and a study of how engines can be used to do work for us will be included.

Unit 5: Momentum and Statics

Linear momentum and impulse will be introduced as a way to interpret changes in mechanical situations. Graphical analysis will again be an underlying concept through which to understand this unit. Conservation of momentum in 2 dimensions will be applied to two or more objects in two dimensional motion. The difference between elastic and inelastic collisions will be thoroughly discussed with respect to conservation of momentum for both colliding objects and exploding objects. Car safety and an understanding of amusement park physics will be included in this unit with the use of online simulations from pHet and Explore learning gizmos. The effect center of mass has on momentum, and equilibrium will also be discussed.

Unit 6: Rotational Motion

In this unit, we move from translational motion to rotational motion. It is the last unit of the mechanics portion of the course. We will apply all of the kinematics we have learned to rigid bodies experiencing torques as opposed to linear forces. The use of radians in this unit will help students further understand the idea that observations need to be made in the most appropriate system of measurement as well as allow them to relate this unit more directly to what they have learned in mathematics with respect to the unit circle. For a rotating object, if given initial conditions and any one of the following: theta(t), alpha(t), or omega(t), derive the other two functions using derivatives and/or integrals. They will also define and determine the magnitude and direction of the torque on a particle moving in a plane about an arbitrary origin under the influence of the given force. These concepts will be related to students’ lives through discussions about bicycle tires, car tires, and other objects that utilize circular motion.

Unit 7: Electrostatics

As the first unit students will complete in electricity and magnetism, this unit will introduce them to the ideas of electric charge, electric fields and Gauss’ law. By the end of the unit the students will be able to; state Coulomb’s Law, and describe its limitations, define the concept of Electric Field in terms of the force on a test charge, apply Coulomb’s Law and the concept of Electric Field to solve problems involving a charged particle in an electric field, calculate by integration using Coulomb’s Law and the principle of superposition the Electric Field of: a straight uniformly charged wire, and a loop of wire at a point on the axis going through the center of the loop. They will also be able to state Gauss’s Law, apply Gauss’s Law to determine net charges and E fields at specific points due to various charge distributions.

Unit 8: Electric Potential

This unit introduces students to electric potential, capacitance, dielectrics and electric energy storage. By the end of this unit, students will be able to: define the concept of Electric Potential and the electron-volt, as well as calculate the work done on a charged particle as it moves from one point to another. They will also be able to find the electric potential at a point and determine how it changes with distance. Finally, through investigations and simulations, students will gain an understanding of capacitors and capacitance.

Unit 9: Electric Currents, Resistance and DC Circuits

Students will learn about DC circuits. By the end of the unit the students will understand how our modern conception of current is different than the historical understanding. They will be able to explain DC circuits using appropriate vocabulary and reasoning. They will show their understanding of Ohm’s Law and Kirchhoff’s Laws through both problem-solving assignments and hands on investigations. The understanding of how capacitors and resistors work together in circuits will also be gained in this unit. This unit builds upon concepts learned in previous units and will be used to further understand future units.

Unit 10: Magnetism

Students will use a variety of sources along with the textbook to understand sources of B fields and magnetism. By the end of the unit, students will be able to explain the relationship between the motion of particles and magnetic fields and forces. The idea that magnets apply forces on other objects from a distance, along with the Biot-Savart Law and Ampere’s Law will finish off this unit. The students’ understanding in this unit will be built upon in the next unit when we combine electricity with magnetism.

Unit 11: Electricity and Magnetism

As the final unit of the year, students learn about the connection between electricity and magnetism, induction, Faraday’s Law, Inductance, e/m oscillations and Maxwell’s equations. By the end of the unit students will be able to synthesize all of the past units into their understanding of the combined understanding of how electricity and magnetism control so much of our lives.

Advanced Physics Syllabus 2023-24Course Description

This college-preparatory, calculus-based advanced physics class covers a variety of topics, including kinematics, Newton’s Laws, circular motion, work, power, energy, momentum and statics, rotational mechanics, electrostatics, electric potential and energy storage, electric currents, resistance and DC circuits, magnetism, electromagnetic induction, and Faraday’s Law. This course utilizes student-centered learning to foster the development of critical thinking skills. Discussion and demonstration activities allow students to construct explanations and engage in argument from evidence gleaned through investigations. Laboratories include both teacher-directed and student- directed investigations to develop the ability to analyze complex information.


Course Objectives

By the end of Advanced Physics, students will be able to:  

  • Demonstrate calculus-based approaches to solving physics problems

  • Be able to explain concepts and solutions in electrostatics and magnetism

  • Be able to perform and analyze complex laboratory experiments  

Textbook and Required Materials

We will work with the following textbook this year:

Physics – for Scientists & Engineers (3rd edition) by Douglas Giancoli. 

Graded problems will be posted in as Homework Assignments and Textbook Assignments

(Classwork Sets will be worked on during Live sessions and may not be completed during class.  The rest of the classwork problems can be done for extra practice or challenge)



Lab kits will be purchased directly from the company.  This is a departure from previous years.  Purchasing information will be provided to students and families during the first week of class.

Lab Kits for Advanced Physics will be purchased during the beginning of the school year.

(Advanced Physics will have a separate Live session during Semester 2 on Fridays.  However, Labs will be interspersed throughout semester one as well.  This will allow students to explore topics in Mechanics as the topics are being covered in class)


Course RequirementsThere are several components of the class.

  • Students will be asked to solve problem using equations and mathematical approaches.
  • Students will be asked to explain and describe the conceptual principles behind the various Physics topics studied.
  • Students will work independently and in group settings to solve problems and work on activities and projects throughout the course

The intent is to provide several avenues of exploring the concepts and while collaborating with the instructor, your peers, and yourself to better understand Physics.   


Live sessions  

We will meet for two live sessions a week, which actually isn’t very much, so it is important that you look at the material for the week ahead of time and come prepared to answer questions during live session.  We will highlight major ideas, but some concepts will be introduced in videos or worksheets outside of class.


Please watch and review the following DAO Flipgrid on Flipped Classrooms.Links to an external site.


Your live session participation for the week will be graded out of 6 points. [every week]  




Most weeks where we don’t have exams, you will be expected to complete a homework assignment.  I will typically assign a small selection of problems and leave the rest for you to do for extra practice or challenge.  You submit your homework as a single PDF on Canvas.  I will grade and make comments on Canvas. [most weeks, except test weeks]  



To gain more practical understanding of the underlying concepts, we will be doing labs.  For each lab, you will be expected to come to class prepared to do the lab.  After completion of the lab, you will submit a written or online lab report that details what you thought was going to happen, what actually happened, and a complete discussion of the results.


Please watch the following DAO Flipgrid Wakelet on Labs.Links to an external site.


Each week, you should plan to meet with your classmates outside of live sessions on Teams or Zoom.  You should have a minimum of 3 students (if possible), along with a STEM mentor.  Meet for a minimum of 20 minutes.  You should record the study session and post screen shots to the “Study Sessions” channel as a reminder of what was discussed.  [every week]  



After each unit, there will be a test.  Typically, these exams last for 90 minutes and are comprised of about 8-10 questions. [These take place every 4-5 weeks] .  



In each semester, students will be asked to investigate a topic in physics and demonstrate their understanding.  You have your choice of how you want to present your project, but typically a 5-10 minute video is a good choice. 




Not only is your participation in class invited and encouraged, but it is also part of your grade.  You will earn 0-6 points per week live session, depending on your level of participation.  Earning an A in this class will require a combination of academic skills and personal responsibility.  Things I will look for include: 

  • Consistent, skillful, and courteous participation in class discussions. This includes both talking and listening. You need to clearly demonstrate that you have read the material thoughtfully—your comments should reflect this. When listening, you should give the speaker your full attention.  Also, please recall that courteous participation requires being respectful, even if you disagree or think something is silly.  

  • Positive conduct in the Study Sessions.

(Put-downs of other students, or their work, will result in 0 participation points for that week.) 

  • Good use of our synchronous class time. We only have 3 hours per week together, so we must use them wisely. This means doing what you are supposed to be doing during class. Talking with friends, playing on the computers, or browsing the Internet will not be considered “good use of class time,” and will therefore lower your participation points.  

  • Consistent organization and preparation. Be on time to class (arrive 10 minutes early and ready to work).  Have all necessary supplies upon arrival in class (pen/pencil, paper, reading materials, assignments, etc.)  




Your final grade will consist of the following components:  

  • Textbook: (once per week, except test weeks):  20 points each
  • Homework: (once per week, except test weeks):  20 points each

  • Questions: (once per week, except test weeks):  10 points each

  • Exams: (every few weeks):  200 points each

  • Quizzes (weekly, except for test weeks):    25 points each

  • Classroom Engagement: (once per week): 6 points each  

  • Semester Final Exam: (during Finals Week): 300 points  

  • Labs: (once every few weeks): 50 points each

  • Activities: (once every few weeks):  25 points  

  • Projects (one per semester): 200 points each 


The final exam score may replace one unit exam score that isn’t a zero if the result is a higher overall semester grade. No other opportunities (extra credit, test corrections, etc.) will be offered to improve low scores. In exceptional cases, and at teacher or Director discretion, replacement of scores will not be allowed.



Communication is integral to a successful working relationship.  I urge you to speak with me first if you are having difficulties, need clarification, or simply want to discuss your progress in class.  Developing the ability to communicate effectively with others is a skill that will serve you greatly not only in academics, but also in your personal lives.  Studies have shown that emotional intelligence (the ability to identify, assess and manage emotions in yourself and in others) is just as if not more important than academic ability as a determiner of success.  Being able to effectively communicate is a hallmark of emotional intelligence and is an extrinsic skill that must be cultivated.  Therefore, I strongly encourage you to communicate with me before asking your parents to intervene.  As future leaders, it is essential that you learn how to approach others, express your needs, and work towards solutions without falling back on the security of your parents.  School is a safe place to experiment with interpersonal skills and I am more than willing to help you develop into young adults who are also competent communicators. 


If you reach a point where you are confused or need assistance, you should try the following: 

  • Post on the Homework Help channel on our class Team (if it is a homework or concept question) 

  • Send me a message on Teams 

  • Email me 

  • Set up a session with a STEM Mentor (again, if it is a homework or concept question) 

  • Contact your counselor 


For other classroom policies, please see both the “Syllabus Addendum” and the “Davidson Online Handbook” which are posted on our school’s Blackboard page.


Tentative Calendar

Below is our tentative calendar for the school year. Keep in mind that this calendar might change based on students’ needs and interests. All changes will be communicated far ahead of time on Canvas and Teams.

Fall Semester


Weeks 1-4

Kinematics in one and two dimensions (Using Calculus Based Approaches)

Week 5-8

Forces and Circular Motion

Week 9-12

Work / Power / Energy / Momentum

Week 13-15

Rotational Kinematics / Rotational Dynamics / Center of Mass / Torque


Spring Semester


Weeks 1-4


Week 5-8


Week 9-12


Week 13-15

Magnetic Induction


School country

United States

School state


School city


High school

Davidson Academy of Nevada

School / district Address

Davidson Academy Online, 9665 Gateway Dr., Suite A, Reno, NV

School zip code


Requested competency code

Lab Science

Date submitted



Approved competency code

  • LADV
  • Advanced science
  • LPHY
  • Physics

Approved date

Online / Virtual