Course title



Algebra II or teacher approval

Course description

19. Brief Course Description
Physics is a two semester sequential study of the physical principles that govern the behavior of matter. The course is a math-based physics course. Topics from classical mechanics; such as motion; energy; rotation and gravitation are examined. The course also includes mechanics; electricity; magnetism; electromagnetic radiation; optics; and some kinetic theory. These will be covered at the calculus-based level and the use of calculus in problem-solving and derivations increases as the course progresses. Approximately one week is spent on each chapter.


20. Course Goals and/or Major Student Outcomes

Students in Physics will demonstrate the required knowledge and skills outlined in the California State Physics Standards as they work toward the school-wide goals of becoming: Critical readers who explore a wide range of texts in diverse genres and styles as they interrogate; decode; and interpret the world they live in and the human condition.
Effective communicators who speak; listen and write with clarity and purpose.
Skilled problem solvers who employ systematic reasoning; construct logical arguments; and use abstract symbols to describe; order; explain and communicate about the world.
Discriminating thinkers who investigate the world through scientific inquiry utilizing appropriate tools; technologies; processes; and ethical rigor.
21. Course Objectives
Motion and Forces
Students know how to solve problems that involve constant speed and average speed.
Students know that when forces are balanced; no acceleration occurs; thus an object continues to move at a constant speed or stays at rest (Newton's first law).
Students know how to apply the law F=ma to solve one-dimensional motion problems that involve constant forces (Newton's second law).
Students know that when one object exerts a force on a second object; the second object always exerts a force of equal magnitude and in the opposite direction (Newton's third law).
Students know the relationship between the universal law of gravitation and the effect of gravity on an object at the surface of Earth.
Students know applying a force to an object perpendicular to the direction of its motion causes the object to change direction but not speed (e.g.; Earth's gravitational force causes a satellite in a circular orbit to change direction but not speed).
Students know circular motion requires the application of a constant force directed toward the center of the circle.
Conservation of Energy and Momentum
Students know how to calculate kinetic energy by using the formula E=(1/2)mv2 .
Students know how to calculate changes in gravitational potential energy near Earth by using the formula (change in potential energy) =mgh (h is the change in the elevation).
Students know how to solve problems involving conservation of energy in simple systems; such as falling objects.
Students know how to calculate momentum as the product mv.
Students know momentum is a separately conserved quantity different from energy.
Students know an unbalanced force on an object produces a change in its momentum.
Students know how to solve problems involving elastic and inelastic collisions in one dimension by using the principles of conservation of momentum and energy.
Heat and Thermodynamics
Students know heat flow and work are two forms of energy transfer between systems.
Students know that the work done by a heat engine that is working in a cycle is the difference between the heat flow into the engine at high temperature and the heat flow out at a lower temperature (first law of thermodynamics) and that this is an example of the law of conservation of energy.
Students know the internal energy of an object includes the energy of random motion of the object's atoms and molecules; often referred to as thermal energy. The greater the temperature of the object; the greater the energy of motion of the atoms and molecules that make up the object.
Students know that most processes tend to decrease the order of a system over time and that energy levels are eventually distributed uniformly.
Students know that entropy is a quantity that measures the order or disorder of a system and that this quantity is larger for a more disordered system.
Students know waves carry energy from one place to another.
Students know how to identify transverse and longitudinal waves in mechanical media; such as springs and ropes; and on the earth (seismic waves).
Students know how to solve problems involving wavelength; frequency; and wave speed.
Students know sound is a longitudinal wave whose speed depends on the properties of the medium in which it propagates.
Students know radio waves; light; and X-rays are different wavelength bands in the spectrum of electromagnetic waves whose speed in a vacuum is approximately 3◊108 m/s (186;000 miles/second).
Students know how to identify the characteristic properties of waves: interference (beats); diffraction; refraction; Doppler effect; and polarization.
Electric and Magnetic Phenomena
Students know how to predict the voltage or current in simple direct current (DC) electric circuits constructed from batteries; wires; resistors; and capacitors.
Students know how to solve problems involving Ohm's law.
Students know any resistive element in a DC circuit dissipates energy; which heats the resistor. Students can calculate the power (rate of energy dissipation) in any resistive circuit element by using the formula Power = IR (potential difference) ◊ I (current) = I2R.
Students know the properties of transistors and the role of transistors in electric circuits.
Students know charged particles are sources of electric fields and are subject to the forces of the electric fields from other charges.
Students know magnetic materials and electric currents (moving electric charges) are sources of magnetic fields and are subject to forces arising from the magnetic fields of other sources.
Students know how to determine the direction of a magnetic field produced by a current flowing in a straight wire or in a coil.
Students know changing magnetic fields produce electric fields; thereby inducing currents in nearby conductors.
Students know plasmas; the fourth state of matter; contain ions or free electrons or both and conduct electricity.
22 Course Outline

Units/ Course Themes Methods/ Activities Problem Sets
? Units of length; time; mass; in particular the SI system
? Unit checking
? Changing units
? Systems of coordinates

? Newton?s Laws of Motion
? Momentum and Energy
? Gravity and Satellite Motion
? Fluid Mechanics
? Center of mass
? Newton's second law for a system of particles
? Linear momentum of a particle and of a system
? Conservation of momentum

Motion along a straight line
? Position and displacement
? Average velocity and average speed
? Instantaneous velocity and instantaneous speed
? Average acceleration and instantaneous acceleration
? Kinematics of constant acceleration
? Freely falling bodies
? Motion in two and three dimensions
? Position and displacement
? Average velocity and average speed
? Instantaneous velocity and instantaneous speed
? Average acceleration and instantaneous acceleration
? Projectile motion
? Uniform circular motion
? Relative velocity and acceleration (the one-dimensional case)

? Vectors vs. scalars
? Magnitude; direction; Cartesian components
? Unit vectors
? Addition and subtraction by geometric and algebraic methods
? Multiplication by a scalar
? Scalar (dot) product
? Vector (cross) product

Heat; Work; Energy and Power
? Thermal Energy
? Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics
? Work-Energy Theorem
? Kinetic and Potential Energy

Work and Kinetic Energy
? Work as a scalar product
? Work done by weight
? Work done by a variable force
? Hooke's law and work done by a spring
? Kinetic energy and the work-energy theorem
? Power

Potential energy and conservation of energy
? Conservative forces and potential energy
? Conservation of mechanical energy
? Conservation of energy (including internal energy)
? Work done by non-conservative forces

Circular Motion
? Review Newton?s laws
? Kinematic principles
? Circles
? Newton?s Universal Law of Gravitation
? Kinematics of fixed-axis rotation
? Linear and angular variables
? Moment of inertia and rotational kinetic energy
? Torque (including definition as a cross product) and rotational dynamics
? Rolling; translational and rotational kinetic energy;
? conservation of energy of angular momentum

Einstein?s Theory of Special Relativity
? Motion phenomenon
? Studying relativistic speeds.

? Sound Waves
? Music
? Light Waves
? Color
? Properties of light
? Reflection
? The Ray Model of Light
? Transverse and longitudinal waves
? Wavelength and frequency
? Speed of a traveling wave
? Waves on a stretched string
? Speed; energy; and power of a traveling wave on a stretched string
? Principle of superposition; interference
? Standing waves
? Speed of sound
? Interference of sound waves
? Doppler effect

Electricity and Magnetism
? Electrostatics
? Charges and effects of charges
? Magnetism
? Current Electricity
? Rates of charge flow
? Circuits
? Oscillations
? Simple harmonic motion resulting from Newton's second law and Hooke's law
? Position; velocity; and acceleration in simple harmonic motion
? Energy considerations in simple harmonic motion
? Simple pendulum

Lectures on: The motion of objects; language of physics: words; diagrams; numbers; graphs; and equations; Newton's laws of motion; The impulse-momentum change theorem and the law of conservation of momentum; vector principles and operations; the motion of objects in two dimensions.

Lab Activities: the collision of objects; riverboat problems; projectiles; inclined planes; and static equilibrium.

Lectures on: The components of motion; x and y components; combining and separating; relative velocity; projectile motion

Lab activities: Building roller coasters; and rockets; analyzing athletics?football throw; nerf golf

Lectures describing motion including scalar quantities; vector quantities; constant acceleration-kinematic equations

Problem sets on Vector addition and subtraction and relative velocity

Lectures on the average kinetic energy of gas molecules comparing the rms speeds of molecules of different masses at the same temperature and molecules with different masses but the same speed.

Lab activities: Heating water and examining the expansion; demonstrating linear expansion; diffusion in liquid

Lectures on: Applications of Newton's laws; free-body diagrams; tension and pulleys; Static and kinetic friction
Inclined planes

Research responses; Concepts of work
kinetic energy and potential energy
the work-energy theorem; application of work and energy to physical movement

Lab activities: analyze an object or system of objects moving between an initial and final state; bow and arrow experiment (force versus pulling distance); spring investigation; stairs investigation; pendulum investigation; toy car crash investigation; slinky and stairs investigations

Lectures on applying Newton?s Universal Law of Gravitation to: circular motion of planetary bodies and satellites; elliptical motion of planets and satellites; constant velocity; applying Newton?s Universal Law of Gravitation to: circular motion of planetary bodies and satellites; elliptical motion of planets and satellites; constant velocity;

Research responses; physical torque in dance movement; bow distribution and equilibrium

Lab activities: conservation of momentum (air track); comparing translational and rotational motion (lab carts); torque wrench and spring scale investigation; violin bow and equilibrium

Lectures on length and time; dilation and contraction; relativity and simultaneity; space-time travel

Lab activities: The twin trip simulation

Lectures on: nature; properties and behaviors of waves; standing waves;
the nature of sound: longitudinal and mechanical pressure waves; wave principles; resonance; light waves; color; refraction and reflection
Research Reflection the interplay between music and physics

Lab activities: polarization investigation;
plane mirrors; concave mirrors; and convex mirrors; wave images in ripple tank; straw whistles; bottle flutes; Doppler effect

Lectures on: basic principles of electrostatics; how objects become charged; charges on localized objects; charging methods; electric field lines; lightning rods; mathematical application of electrical principles; parallel and combination circuits

Lab activities: electrostatics; charge flows; mapping electrical fields; building
series circuits

Chapter One
? dimensional and unit analysis
? unit conversions
? significant figures

Chapter Two
? inertia and Newton?s first law
? Newton?s second law
? Newton?s third law
? acceleration
? free fall

Chapter Three
? components of motion
? vector addition and subtraction
? relative velocity
? projectile motion

Chapter Six
? linear momentum
? conservation of linear momentum
? collisions
? center of mass

Chapter Three (cont.)
? components of motion
? vector addition and subtraction
? relative velocity
? projectile motion

Chapter Four
? free-body diagrams
? force and net force
? friction

Chapter Five
? work done by constant force
? work done by variable force
? kinetic energy
? potential energy
? conservation of energy

Chapter Eleven
? specific heat
? phase changes
? heat transfer

Chapter Five (cont.)
? work-energy theorem
? conservation of energy
? power

Chapter Seven
? angular measure
? centripetal acceleration
? angular acceleration
? Newton?s law of gravitation

Chapter Eight
? torque; equilibrium and stability
? rotational dynamics
? angular
? momentum

Chapter Fourteen
? speed of sound
? sound intensity
? the Doppler effect
? musical instruments

Chapter Twenty
? induced emf: Faraday?s law
? electric generators
? transformers
? electromagnetic waves

Chapter Fifteen
? electric charge
? electrostatic changing
? electric force
? electric field
? Gauss?s law

Chapter Sixteen
? electric potential
? energy capacitance
? dielectrics
? capacitors in series and parallel

Chapter Seventeen
? current and drift velocity
? resistance and Ohm?s law
? electric power

Chapter Eighteen
? resistances in series and parallel
? circuits

Chapter Seventeen
? magnetic field strength
? charged particles

23 Texts & Supplemental Instructional Materials
Wilson and Buffa; College Physics Fifth edition
Hewitt; Paul G.; Conceptual Physics; Third Edition; Addison Wesley
Other supplementary materials:
Understanding Physics; Asimov
Six Easy Pieces; Richard Feynman

24 Key Assignments
collision of objects
inclined planes
static equilibrium
building roller coasters
analyzing athletics?football throw; nerf golf
heating water and examining the expansion;
demonstrating linear expansion
diffusion in liquid
analyze an object or system of objects moving between an initial and final state
bow and arrow experiment (force versus pulling distance)
spring investigation
stairs investigation
pendulum investigation;
toy car crash investigation
slinky and stairs investigations
conservation of momentum (air track)
comparing translational and rotational motion (lab carts)
torque wrench and spring scale investigation
violin bow and equilibrium
the twin trip simulation
charge flows
mapping electrical fields
building series circuits
polarization investigation;
mirrors investigation: plane mirrors ;concave mirrors; and convex mirrors
wave images in ripple tank;
straw whistles
bottle flutes
Doppler effect

Chapter Problem Sets as assigned
Journal Responses and Notes
Critical Analysis of Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman

25 Instructional Methods and/or Strategies
Oral Presentations
Class Discussions
Group Discussions and group work
Laboratory Experiments/investigations
Field Work
Computer tutorials/instruction

26 Assessment Methods and/or Tools
Student work will be graded by teacher.
Student portfolios will be kept by teacher and assessed at semester and at year?s end.
Students will perform laboratory experiments/investigations where they can apply their knowledge to real world situations.
Final exams will be given once per semester and must be passed with 75% accuracy to receive credit.
A rubric will be used to assess lab work
In-class writings; quizzes; class activities; unit tests
Informal and on-going assessment
Teacher conferencing
Critical Analysis
Comprehensive written midterm
Comprehensive written final exam

20% Labs
20% Homework
20% Test/Quiz
15% Final/Midterm
15% Participation
10% Portfolio


27. Indicate how this course is different from the standard course.

Physics is designed to give students experience with Physics concepts and applications comparable to that in a first year college Physics class. Students in Physics engage in an in-depth study of advanced mathematics-based Physics connecting the study of key formulae with the physical phenomena they observe on a day-to-day basis. Physics requires that students broaden the scope of their scientific study while developing the skills necessary for authentic scientific investigation.


28. Context for Course (optional)
29. History of Course Development

The RenArts curriculum team revised this course adhering more closely to the A-G course outline template. One of A-G?s cadre of experts met with our team at length and helped us better structure and format our course outlines. This course was revised to more explicitly delineate content; assignments; and labs.

School country

United States

School state


School city

Los Angeles

High school

Renaissance Arts Academy

School / district Address

1800 Colorado Blvd.

School zip code


Requested competency code

Lab Science

Date submitted



Approved competency code

  • LPHY
  • Physics

Approved date

Online / Virtual