Course title



Application Process

Course description

Every school year begins with a wide range of expectations on both sides of the desk. The teachers have them for their students and students have them for their teachers. This newsletter is to let you know what you can expect from us and what we will expect from each of you.

This two-course block is designed to explore the integration of physics and engineering. Your assignments in each course are designed so that the concepts you learn in physics are then applied to challenging and exciting engineering projects. Along the way; you will develop an understanding of the processes of science and engineering. The science course is developed in a "user friendly" style so that even those initially terrified of physics can develop mastery of the subject.

A physics course should provide the student with understanding of major concepts and encourage application with common life experiences. The student should appreciate physics as a human endeavor in which people contributed to the understanding of the physical universe. The course should provide the students with experiences in problem solving. They should be confronted with hypothesizing what variable may affect a dependent variable and then conduct an experiment to determine the relationship. Another important goal is to relate physics to societal concerns. It is important for the general citizenry of our society to be knowledgeable in science so that they can help make decisions based on correct understanding especially in such areas as energy use.

The Sad Facts
For the past several decades; physics has been the least popular science course in U.S. high schools. It has been common knowledge that physics courses frustrate average-ability students and drive them to despair. Physics has been “weed-out course;” the “flunk-out course;” and even the “killer course” a sieve that allows the passage of only a few academically elite students while defeating most others. It has been a course to “get-through” rather than a course to “get into.” Why? Because physics courses usually emphasize the final stage of the learning cycle—application; skipping over the first two stages—exploration and concept development. Our goal is to change that; so read on how we’ll do it!

Together Everyone Achieves More

During your time in CIT we will be engaged in multiple cooperative lessons. In order for everyone to achieve success we must work together as a class and in cooperative lab groups. Some of these lab groups will be developed by you and your peers; while at times I will choose the groups. All lab members must be dependent upon each other for success—we are all in this together! While we will work together; each member will be responsible for their individual learning. Remember you are a team and your are responsible for making sure everyone is on the “same page.” Each member must know what is covered and developed in the lab.

Physics and the Learning Cycle

Physics is distinguished from other academic disciplines by its mathematical structure. To physicists; this structure is beautiful and elegant. But when this structure is applied prematurely; before concepts are developed; its beauty and elegance are lost to all but the very few who are attuned to it. Most students simply avoid physics altogether because of their fear of the mathematics. Physics has become a tiny trickle in our educational mainstream; when it should be a major artery.

When the mathematics is used to show relationships between ideas and concepts then students are naturally drawn into developing their own derivations to supply meaning to physical phenomena.

The teaching strategies used in our class will include three phases: exploration; concept introduction and concept application. This method develops the subject matter and methodology slowly and gently and maintains a coaxing ambiance all the way through. Nonetheless; the material is not "watered down." The intention is to raise the level of ability of the students to the point where they can handle the material of a rigorous non-calculus based course; including dealing with sophisticated problems. Exploration activities encourage students to observe relationships; identify variables and develop tentative explanation of phenomenon. Concept introduction involves the development of the concept based on the experiences in the exploration phase of the learning cycle. In concept application the student tests the schema or generalization; which seemed to bring the observations and explanations back into mental equilibrium.

Physics Course Description

Objectives: Physics is a first course of an algebraic approach to physical mechanics. The emphasis will be on the understanding and use of physical laws and formulas. We will learn to recognize fundamental physical laws; and use them to understand the world around us. This is not a math course. It will be assumed that you know the necessary math.

Approach: Conceptual exercises; problem solving; laboratory activities; mini projects; outside projects; homework; interactive lectures; computer technology; quizzes; and exams will all be used to aid in understanding the material. Reading the text is an important reference and is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. My lectures will be prepared under the assumption that you have already read the appropriate material to be discussed. Therefore; in lecture I will try to present a brief summary of most of the chapter topics; and spend additional time on conceptually challenging activities and will model appropriate problem solving. I WILL NOT COVER ALL TOPICS IN LECTURE; and you are accountable for all assigned material; including assigned material not discussed in lecture. I will not spend the entire class lecturing over material we can discover on our own or regurgitating the text.

Fall Semester
Unit 1: Graphical Analysis (3 weeks)
• Slope
• y = mx + b
• Relationships (linear; exponential; inverse; y-squared; no relationship)
• Modeling & Predicting
• Experimental methods (error; experimental design; controls; variables; data collection)
• Data analysis
• SI Units

Unit 2: Velocity (2 weeks)
• d = Vt
• d vs t and V vs t graphs
• Slope of d vs t
• Area under V vs t
• Motion maps

Unit 3: Kinematics (3 weeks)
• Qualitative Accelerated motion graphs (d; V; a)
• Kinematic equations are derived from graphs
• Acceleration due to gravity
• Problem solving

Unit 4: Projectile Motion (3 weeks)
• Rules for projectiles
• Independence of X and Y
• Horizontal projectiles
• Vectors
• Projectiles at an angle

Unit 5: Newton’s 1st and 3rd Laws (3 weeks)
• Inertia (Sum of Forces = 0)
• Definition of Force; types of forces
• Free body diagrams
• Newton’s 3rd Law
• Define weight
• Static Equilibrium
• Friction

Spring Semester
Unit 6: Newton’s 2nd Law (2 weeks)
• F = ma; Sum of Forces is NOT zero
• Lab: constant force; changing mass & changing force; constant mass
• Elevator Lab

Unit 7: Circular Motion (2 weeks)
• Uniform Circular Motion
• Period & Frequency
• Centripetal Force vs. “Centrifugal Force”
• Force Diagrams
• Orbits & Satellites
• Universal Gravitation

Unit 8: Momentum (2 weeks)
• Impulse & Momentum Theorem
• Conservation of Momentum
• Elastic and Inelastic Collisions

Unit 9: Energy (2 weeks)
• Work and Power
• Potential Energy
• Kinetic Energy
• E = mc2
• Conservation of Energy

Unit 10: Waves; Sound and Light (3 weeks)
• Types of waves (Transverse; longitudinal)
• Wave behavior
• Period and frequency
• Speed of Sound
• Amplitude; Frequency
• Doppler Effect
• Electromagnetic Spectrum
• Speed of light
• Basic Optics

Unit 12: Electricity (3 weeks)
• Electrostatics
• Coulomb’s Law
• Charges
• Current Electricity
• Voltage
• Resistance
• Ohm’s Law
• Basic Series & Parallel Circuits

Physics Grade Determination

I will use a variety of methods to evaluate your progress through the course. Everything we do in class and outside of class will be evaluated; this includes homework; quizzes; lab work; projects; exams; lab notebooks and other material.

I reserve the right to lower grade cutoffs at the end of the course if it seems appropriate; but I will not raise them—if everyone gets an A; then everyone deserved an A. In general I am a strict grader; but I encourage you to privately challenge any grade you feel is incorrect. If you present a strong case I will usually raise the grade.

I typically round grades on a border but I will not round a 69.5% to a C. You must have a 70% to earn a C.

Semester Work (85% total grade)
Measurement: 60% (quizzes; tests; authentic & lab assessments; group participation)
Performance: 20% (projects; lab work; in class assignments)
Practice: 20% (homework)

Final Exam (15% total grade)
A = 90% to 100% B = 80% to 89% C = 70% to 79% D = 60% to 69%

“I take academic dishonesty as a personal insult and will vigorously apply penalties to those being dishonest. I strongly encourage collaboration in class when working together; but will not accept dishonesty.”

Supply List

3-Ring Binder
Spiral Bound Notebook (Physics)
Scientific or Graphing Calculator
Please keep your physics textbook at home where you typically do homework!

ET Phone Home

While we can appreciate the technology behind today’s cell phones; please understand that there is a time and a place for using your phone and that it is not during class. There may be times when your phone becomes a tool for class; but the rest of the time it must be put away. We expect each of you be responsible; and to enjoy your cell phone at the appropriate time. School policy states that this is before and after school & during lunch. Please respect the valuable time we have together

Make Up Work

We will do lots of hand on activities and labs; so it really is critical that your child have good attendance. Labs and activities missed must be made up on the student’s own time (before school; after school (until 3:30); during pathways; or at lunch (BY APPOINTMENT ONLY) and within a reasonable time frame (within a week from time it was done in class). If your child is absent from school for any reason; please work into their schedule the opportunities to make up their work. If they miss school; they really do miss out! Please take this into consideration; and if at all possible; do not schedule doctor’s appointments or other events during class time. Help your child be successful by making sure they are in class every day.

You will receive five Newton Bucks at the beginning of each semester. Newton Bucks will be given out on occasion for rewards. A Newton Buck allows you to turn in late assignments from a unit for full credit up to the day of the unit test. Late work without a Newton Buck attached will be 20% credit up to the unit test and then will no longer be accepted for credit! Extra Newton Bucks that you haven’t spent can be turned in for extra credit at the end of the semester.

Ms. Christine Sapio:
I received my degree in Physical Science and Secondary Education from NAU in 2005; and just completed my Master of Arts in Science Teaching this summer. In the past I have worked at Space Camp in Huntsville; Alabama and at Willow Springs Girl Scout Camp as the Challenge Course Director. Nine years ago I started my teaching career at Coconino High School and have loved every year. I am a founder and coach for the award-winning and “world famous” CocoNuts FIRST Robotics Team here at Coconino High School. In my spare time; I enjoy classical and historical sword fighting; rock climbing; and whitewater rafting. I have a real passion and enthusiasm for science that I’m excited to share with you this year in physics. I am here to do all I can for you; but I am not a mind reader! If you are having any troubles in class please see me immediately for extra help. CIT is an exciting and dynamic experience; and I’m looking forward to a PHABULOUS year!

School country

United States

School state


School city


School / district Address

2801 N. Izabel

School zip code


Requested competency code

Lab Science

Date submitted



Approved competency code

  • LPHY
  • Physics

Approved date

Online / Virtual