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Physics (Regular & Honors)

Physics is Phun! 

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32 Week
2 Semesters



One LIVE Class / Week
Wednesday 1:30 - 3:00 pm
Create a Class (click here)
Eastern Time

Physics Hewitt Pearson.jpg

Pearson Conceptual Physics

Paul W. Hewitt

Copyright 2002 or after.

Course Requirements

  1. Student Pre-Assessment as part of Registration / Enrollment (click here).

  2. Enrollment Agreement (Parent Survey) as part of Registration / Enrollment (click here).

  3. Textbook (hardcopy or etext) ... (any edition 2002 or beyond).

  4. Free Zoom account with audio / video capability for classes.

  5. Tablet with stylus for writing is highly recommended (e.g. Wacom).

  6. MAC users get compatible software (Word, Powerpoint, Excel), if possible.


Regular Physics

  1. Students will spend 8-10 hours per week for this course.

  2. Four (4) Formal Lab Reports based on Hands-on experiments.

  3. Fifty (50) labs and/or hands-on activities.


Honors Physics

  1. Students will spend 9-11 hours per week for this course.

  2. Five (5) Formal Lab Reports based on Hands-on experiments.

  3. Fifty (50) labs and/or hands-on activities (taking pictures of major procedures/results).

  4. Students will do an EXTRA lab most units (taking a picture of reactants and/or products, and explaining its relevance).

  5. Homework, lab reports, and tests require more math computation.

  6. Student project each semester in addition to established curriculum.


32 Week Course ... 2 Semesters







Physics Hewitt Pearson.jpg
Physics Hewitt.jpg

Pearson Conceptual Physics

Paul W. Hewitt

Copyright 2002 Prentice Hall (preferred, inexpensive) or later editions (Pearson).

Lab Supplies Needed

  • Mass scale  (0.1 g or 0.01 g)

  • Metric Measure (mm to m)

  • Stop Watch (0.1 s or 0.01 s)

  • 250 ml Glass Beaker / Cup

  • Household Items

  • Cow Magnet (strong)

  • Spring Scale (200 grams / 2 Newton minimum)

  • -10 C to 110 C Thermometer (non-immersion)

Course Description


Prepare for an exciting year of studying Physics! This High School prep course targets science driven high school students, and incorporates Physics (force & motion, Newton's laws, energy, energy & heat, work & simple machines, electricity, magnetism, sound, light, lenses, & color, nuclear energy) because Physics is Phun!

Physics is the most hands-on course taught at Learning CTR Online, incorporating labs and activities as the main way to present content. The course practically relates to student’s experience all the time, though they may not realize it. It helps students make the important connection between the science they read and what they experience every day. Relevant content, lively explorations, and a wealth of hands-on activities take students’ understanding of science beyond the page and into the world around them.

The course is offered as Regular Physics or Honors Physics (simultaneously) with the math component determining which course students should enroll for. Both courses are laboratory-oriented with hands-on or virtual experiments driving the content. Students desiring to receive a certificate of completion for Honors Physics will complete problem sets each week and take more math-oriented tests as well as do extra tasks for lab reports.

Assignments involve reading, note taking, review worksheets, and labs all centered around concepts in action. Students engage in laboratory activities every week, including step-by-step training, supported and reinforced by articulate instructions and model documents, for writing good lab reports.


Note: Students will perform math computation and manipulation of basic equations. (Equations are provided so memorization of formulas is not necessary.)

Note:  Students are given opportunity to correct their tests for points to reflect, realign their thinking, and master content. This also applies to revising graded formal lab reports.


Topics and Objectives:

  • Scientific Method & Measurement

    • Outline Scientific Process and distinguish from bias, opinion, and prejudice.

    • Review parameters of measurement (metrics, volume, mass, area, density, scientific notation, uncertainty, graphing, precision, percent error, significant figures).

  • Vectors

    • Distinguish vector quantities from scalar.

    • Identify components and conventions.

    • Determine resultant & equilibrant vectors.

    • Utilize properties (addition, subtraction, graphing), including trigonometry.

  • Force & Linear Motion

    • Describe how motion is produced.

    • Explain what is meant by relative motion and factors involved.

    • Distinguish between speed and velocity and know how to calculate both. Describe the types of speed and velocity.

    • Define and calculate acceleration, acceleration due to gravity, and free fall.

    • Distinguish free fall from terminal velocity, incorporating air resistance.

  • Projectile & Circular Motion​​

    • Identify five types of projectile motion.

    • Resolve horizontal and vertical components of various projectiles (horizontal, upwardly launched, non-horizontal off a cliff).

    • Rotational, linear (tangential) speed. Revolution. Centripetal & Centrifugal force. Simulated Gravity.

  • Newton's Laws of Motion

    • Distinguish philosophy from scientific process based on Aristotle’s claims, Galileo’s experimentation, to Newton’s Laws of Motion.

    • Recognize and explain Newton’s First Law of Motion, Inertia, as the tendency of matter to resist change in motion.

    • Identify and explain friction [defining four kinds of friction] as a force that opposes motion, producing negative acceleration or “deceleration”.

    • Explain & calculate variables of Newton’s Second Law of Motion, f = ma, describing how force, acceleration, and mass are related. Force equals mass times acceleration.

    • Explain & recognize Newton’s Third Law of Motion which states that forces always occur in pairs. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

  • Momentum, Impulse & Energy

    • Identify and give examples of the components of momentum (mass, speed, direction) in the motion of objects.

    • Calculate momentum involving elastic collisions and inelastic collisions while showing the conservation of momentum.

    • Define impulse in terms of force, time, and change in momentum. Explain practical applications of impulse (e.g. sports).

    • Define and calculate Potential Energy (PE) in terms of gravitational PE, and explain elastic PE.

    • Define and calculate Kinetic Energy (KE) related to the motion of object.

    • Recognize maximum PE, maximum KE, maximum velocity, rest position, and when PE = KE for moving objects.

    • Identify specific forms of energy and how they can be transformed into other forms.

  • Work, Power, Simple Machines, Efficiency

    • Define and calculate Work as the force applied to an object over a specific distance (W = f d) in units of joules.

    • Understand how work relates to Potential Energy (mgh) & Kinetic Energy (½mv2).

    • Define and calculate Power as the amount of work done per unit of time (P = W/t) in units of Watts.

    • Classify the six simple machines, being able to calculate work done based on effort (force and distance) and resistance (force and distance) and calculating mechanical advantage.

    • Define & calculate efficiency of machines, knowing that real machines are never 100% efficient due to friction.

  • Heat Transfer 

    • Distinguish aspects of heat flow (endothermic, exothermic, potential energy, kinetic energy, heat and temperature).

    • Identify heat flow, potential and kinetic energy, phase changes, and heating or cooling for phase diagrams of a substance.

    • Define temperature, heat flow direction, thermal expansion, and specific heat.

    • Calculate / measure heat changes in a system using a calorimeter.

    • Understand thermal expansion and its importance regarding water.

    • Distinguish the three types of heat transfer (radiation, conduction, convection).

    • Explain the difference between thermal insulators and conductors.

    • Understand and apply the concept of adiabatic processes.

  • The Atom & Quantum

    • Explain the energy levels of atoms.

    • Understand that atoms are mostly empty space (Rutherford) and energy is quantized (Bohr).

    • Calculate energy, frequency, and wavelength of light absorbed or released by electrons when excited (absorption spectra) or returning to the ground state (emission spectra).

    • Recognize the color or portion of the light spectrum relating to electron energy, frequency and wavelength and where it fits in the electromagnetic spectrum.

  • Nuclear Energy

    • Define "radioactivity"

    • Describe the three types of nuclear radiation

    • Summarize the history of the study of radioactivity

    • Describe the effects of nuclear radiation

    • Define "half-life" & solve problems involving the concept of half life

    • Discuss the application of radioactive decay to dating methods

    • Artificial Transmutation of Elements - Explain how one element can be changed into another by bombardment

    • Define and describe subatomic particles protons, neutrons, electrons in terms of composition, electric charge and arrangement (quarks, baryons, mesons).

    • Define Nuclear Fission

    • Describe the forces acting on an atomic nucleus

    • Summarize the history of the study of atomic fission

    • Explain how a nuclear power plant generates electricity

    • Define Nuclear Fusion & discuss the practical obstacles to nuclear fusion as a power source

    • Describe the process by which atomic fusion takes place

    • Explain where the energy from a nuclear fusion reaction comes from

  • Static Electricity & Magnetism

    • Which particle is involved in transfer of charge between objects?

    • Compare and contrast Static Electricity and Magnetism (similarities, differences).

    • Explain the source of electrostatics and how objects are affected by it.

    • Identify properties of magnetic objects.

    • Distinguish and draw electric field lines around charges and magnetic field lines around magnets, labelling the charges and the poles.

    • Identify properties of electrified objects and magnetic objects (retention, strength).

    • Understand how magnets are formed and sustained.

    • Define and understand insulators and conductors.

    • Describe the transfer of charge, which particle is most involved.

    • Understand magnetic strength related to magnet size and composition.

    • Explain friction, induction and conduction related to electrostatics and magnetism.

  • Electric & Magnetic Fields, Current, Circuits & Electromagnetic Induction

    • Define & calculate components of electric fields (energy, charge, & force).

    • Understand voltage related to force and distance (work).

    • Explain components of electric current in relation to Ohm’s law.

    • Distinguish direct current from alternating current.

    • Differentiate series circuits and parallel circuits and calculate electrical power, voltage, current, and resistance for each.

    • Define & calculate components of magnetic fields (right/left hand rules, flux, charge & force).

    • Explain electromagnetic induction and give practical applications (Faraday’s Law, electrical usage).

    • Distinguish motors from generators.

    • Describe electrical transmission in terms of voltage, current, and transformers.

  • Waves & Sound Energy 

    • Define electromagnetic radiation and recognize the relationship between frequency, wavelength, energy, and the speed of light.

    • Describe wave-particle duality and classify associated properties of light (photoelectric effect, reflection, refraction, diffraction, and polarization).

    • How is sound produced, transmitted, and heard?

    • Define the properties of sound waves (longitudinal, wavelength, amplitude, frequency, speed) and calculate variables.

    • Properties of Sound Waves
      Reflection, Refraction, Doppler Effect, Amplitude, Diffraction, Music

    • Explain and recognize behaviors of sound waves (Doppler Effect, refraction, reflection) [resonance, diffraction (enrichment)].

    • Distinguish between pure sound, noise, and music. How do musical instruments work? 

  • Light - EM Radiation, Reflection, Refraction

    • Identify and define the electromagnetic spectrum, giving practical applications of each range (wavelength, frequency, energy).

    • Recognize, draw, measure and calculate using reflection of light, the law of reflection, and components of light when it reflects off a reflective surface.

    • Recognize, draw, measure and calculate using refraction of light, optical density, index of refraction, identifying all components of light as it refracts while travelling through different media, including total internal reflection.

  • Light & Color - Mirrors and Lenses

    • Name the three major types of mirrors and describe & draw how light is transmitted through them.

    • Name the two major types of lenses and describe & draw how light is transmitted through them.

    • Calculate focal points, object and image distances and shapes related to each type of mirror and lens.


  • Light - Polarization, Behavior, Human Eye, Color

    • Define polarization and give real life examples of its use.

    • Understand the behavior of light in various materials (transparency, translucency, opacity, and scattering).

    • Identify and define the anatomy of the human eye responsible for vision.

    • Distinguish between primary additive, primary subtractive, and complementary colors of Light. Be able to define how each color is created.

  • Student Project
    • Participate in a project-based, independent study, learning unit as a review of one major concept from 2nd semester.

    • Use class notes, labs, homework, textbook, internet, and other resources to research ideas to create a lab experience based on Motion, Newton’s Laws, Simple Machines, Heat Transfer, Electricity, Sound, or Light.

    • Submit a report of the project that includes all elements of a formal lab report.


Grade Weighting

10%    Homework / Problem Sets

 5%    Participation 

35%   Labs

45%   Assessments

  5%   Semester Exam / Student Project

Unit Assessments

Class Notes (PDF doc provided)

Homework (Worksheets)

Lab (Quiz; Worksheet or Report)

Test (Multiple Choice; Problems)

Grading & Assessments

Craig T. Riesen

CTR pic 9 2011.jpg


  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Physics

  • General Science 7-12

  • Basic Administation K-12

  • Online Instructor

30+ years Teaching Experience

  • Public Schools (26+yr)

  • Online (7+yr)

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