What is the Difference Between AP Physics and Academic Physics?
- In AP Physics, we only cover Mechanics. However, we go much more into depth with the concepts. This is done in a variety of ways that will be explained.
- Time duration:
- This course is a full year long.
- The AP test for this course occurs in May each year. You have the option to take the test be you are not required to. The AP test does not factor into your grade.
- Should you decide to take the AP test, you can have the fee waved if you get reduced lunch. See your guidance counselor for more assistance.
- Students are more responsible for keeping up with assignments and due dates. They choose where to record their assignments and how they wish to do so, if at all. (Although it is suggested).
- You are provided with a unit outline that gives you the tentative due dates and schedule for that entire unit.
- You take your own notes, in the form you prefer. No more handouts. (it is suggested that you DO take notes however.)
- This course uses Calculus concepts as well as Algebra.
- Over 20% of the course is based on labs that are very student led and inquiry based. There are some labs that have defined instructions and handouts to follow, however there are also very many labs where students will be faced with a challenge or task and expected to problem solve with their group.
AP Physics C (Mechanics) is a national calculus-based course in physics. This course is equivalent to a first-semester college class. The emphasis is on understanding the concepts and skills and using the concepts and formulae to solve problems. The course requires and employs a basic understanding of calculus (differentiation and integration). The prerequisite calculus course may be taken concurrently. Laboratory work is an integral part of this course and will comprise 20% of the instructional time.
In this course, we will focus on two major activities:
- Discovery of concepts via scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills. Much of the teaching you will do for yourself and for each other. I will provide you with some instruction and background. Then, I will assign to you a task, problem, or question (perhaps more than one at a time). You will work individually or in groups, often with hands-on equipment and materials, to complete the task. Often, you will be asked to present your solutions to the class or critique or verify the solutions of others. My hope is that you will see that there can be more than one way to solve a problem.
- Laboratory application of physics knowledge. Students will work in small groups to perform weekly student-conducted, hands-on laboratory assignments. Students will individually document all laboratory investigations in a lab notebook. Reports will be written individually and kept in a portfolio by the student. Labs at the beginning or during a unit will be structured using modified Advanced Physics with Vernier (Mechanics) labs to assist students with learning the concepts. At the end of most units, labs will begin as a problem for which students must propose and develop their own solution. Next, students design the method to test their ideas, make observations, and take measurements. Finally, they form conclusions based on their collected measurements, observations, and data and error analysis.