AP Physics
Mrs. Whiteford

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:13


Congratulations! You made a good choice when you enrolled in A.P. Physics if you want a college level course based on solving physics problems and oriented toward passing the College Board Advanced Placement Physics Exam in May. A significant amount of homework and laboratory work will be included. Be prepared to consistently work hard during this course!


§ During first semester, we will explore concepts from mechanics, thermodynamics, wave motion, and sound (Serway and Faughn’s College Physics, Chapters 1-15)
§ During second semester, we will explore concepts from electrostatics, DC circuits, magnetism, electromagnetism, properties of light, optics, quantum physics, atomic physics, and nuclear physics (Serway and Faughn’s College Physics, Chapters 16-30)


You need to get one binder with dividers and lots of loose leaf paper, and one big, plastic covered spiral notebooks with no perforations exclusively for AP Physics.
  • All class notes and reading notes go in your spiral notebook
  • All homework problems are to be written on the loose leaf paper and kept in your binder
  • All handouts and labs go in your binder (or a folder in your binder)

This is a convenient way to organize material as it is presented to you. Being organized will certainly improve your chances of success in AP Physics!
I strongly suggest setting aside a few pages at the end of your notes notebook for units and formulas. You may want to decide to take your own notes only along the left of two adjacent pages so that the right-side page can be used for notes taken in class.
You are expected to have a section in your binder for your lab handouts and reports. Labs need to be stored together after they are graded and returned. Colleges may request your “lab notebook” in order to make a final decision whether or not to award you college credit for this course, so keep this neat and well organized. If you have a large binder, you can also keep your notes and/or homework notebook in the binder.


You will be graded on the following categories:

Grades will be determined according to this scale:
100-93% A/A+ 77-73% C
92-90% A- 72-70% C-
89-88% B+ 69-68% D+
87-83% B 67-63% D
82-80% B- 62-60% D-
79-78% C+ 59-0% F

Homework Problems will be assigned for every chapter and are too many to be left for one (or even
the homework guideline sheet for the requirements. I try to set aside at least a ½ class period
per week for questions on homework. Homework is due at the end of each chapter. During the first
semester, if your homework is done on the day before it is officially due, you will receive a solution
key in order to correct your work. If you receive a solution key, you must show in your work which
problems were initially correct and which were incorrect.

Homework Quizzes are timed and happen once each week – usually on Wednesdays. They usually consist of one problem from the homework assignment, an AP exam, or a problem related to the topic we are studying. Sometimes these are open-note quizzes, so keeping up to date on homework assignments will make the quizzes very reasonable to complete. Quizzes are graded on four areas: setup/equations, numerical values in equations, numerical solutions, and use of units throughout the problem.

Missed homework quizzes are not made up. One quiz score will be dropped at the end of
the quarter.

Lab Activities are at the core of understanding physics! They will usually be completed in groups of 2
to 4 people, and each person will write their own lab report. Working cooperatively together is critical
to the success of everyone in the class. You will be given guidelines for the formal lab write-up.

Exams will cover two or more chapters and are intended to model the AP Exam itself. They will be a
combination of multiple choice questions and free-response problems. Calculators and the official AP
Physics formula sheet may only be used on the free-response section of the exam. These are used to
help assure that you have mastered the appropriate concepts in each unit. Exams may also contain

review material from previous units. I also encourage cooperative study groups before the exams.

Text: College Physics by Serway and Faughn, 6th edition
You may purchase your textbook for $75 if you would like to write notes in it or keep it for future use. I also have other texts available for you to check out if you are interested.

Web Resources: www.hippocampus.org has several great videos to aide in your Physics understanding. We will even use a few of these videos in class. Please also subscribe to our class webpage on www.southfieldchristian.org. Homework and announcements will be posted on this page. I’m also planning on starting an AP Physics wiki on www.southfieldchristian.wikispaces.com. We can use this wiki for discussions and study groups.

Time spent on AP Physics: I feel it is only fair to give you an idea of the workload involved in taking this class. The expectation at SCS is that you should be able to set aside 7 hours each week for each AP class you take. This estimate should not be taken lightly. On any given week, it might take you 2-3 hours to read the chapter and take notes, and an additional 4-5 hours to complete the homework. No student is the same, so for some it takes more time; for some it takes less. Please make sure that before you commit to this class you have the time in your schedule to make it work. Once you have decided to be a part of this class, I will expect you to keep up with the work and stick with it to the end! Believe me, completing this course will be one of the greatest accomplishments of your high school career, and it is exhilarating to make it to the end! I’m excited to help you reach that goal!

We need to approach this course as a team. Our goal is to help each person to become a confident physics problem solver and thinker. We can achieve success if we work together!

Midterm and Final Exam: All students will take the midterm exam in December (no exemptions). The College Board AP Physics B Exam is scheduled for Monday, May 10th, 2009. Students who take this exam will automatically be exempt from the final exam in June.

Contact Information: I am generally here around 7:50 am and I expect to be in the building until around 12:30 most days. My office telephone is (248) 357 3660 x 254 and my email address is swhiteford@southfieldchristian.org. I look forward to a rewarding year!