High-school Physics (高中物理基础) /SAT Physics

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High-school Physics (高中物理基础)

Who should take this course?

8th graders or high school students who have taken at least a year of science class but not yet any physics and/or are beginning to take physics this semester. Students should have had at least a year of algebra and geometry, preferably pre-calculus (esp. trigonometry) as well. Some science lab experience will be helpful.  

What does this course do?

In most high schools in US, the physics course typically only lasts one year. That is not enough time to cover all the subjects needed, in sufficient depth. So spending more time studying physical concepts and practicing problem-solving skills are going to be very helpful. Physics is an important “fundamental science”, which means it forms the basis for many other branches of natural science like chemistry and biology. In addition, many practical applications like engineering and computer-related technology require extensive knowledge of physics. Even from the prospect of mastering math skills, physics is helpful because solving physics problems requires a lot of math concepts and skills. In fact, many high-school math problems are physics problems. The primary objectives of this course are:

1. To help students develop a conceptual and mathematical understanding of the physics principles, including classical mechanics, waves, thermodynamics, basic electricity and magnetism, and geometric optics.

2. To apply these principles to analyze and solve problems.

3. To learn how these physics principles relate to everyday life and to apply them in other disciplines like chemistry and biology. Raise students’ interest in physics and other related fields.

4. To better prepare students for the physics class in high school, plus AP Physics and/or SAT Physics test.

Textbook: College Physics, 10th edition by Serway & Vuille (ISBN: 9781285737027) (Not required)

Alternative book: OpenStax College Physics (available online at openstax.org/details/college-physics)

Reference book: Conceptual Physics by Paul G. Hewitt

SAT Physics

Who should take this course?

High school students who are taking physics this semester or have taken a year of physics class; had at least a year of algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus (including trigonometry); and plan to take SAT Physics Subject Test (or AP Physics 1 exam) within the current school year. To ensure the readiness of the students, a quiz will be held during the 1st class. Students who failed the quiz (60% or lower) are encouraged to take the High-school physics class at 2pm instead.

What does this course do?

The primary objectives of this course are:

1. To help students develop a conceptual and mathematical understanding of the physics principles, including classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, waves and optics, thermodynamics, and modern physics.  

2. To apply these principles to analyze and solve problems.

3. To better prepare students for the SAT Physics test and the AP Physics 1 exam* (note it cannot replace an AP Physics 1 course. Students shall try the AP Physics 1 exam only after taking an AP Physics 1 course or something equivalent).    

In most high schools in US, the physics course typically only lasts one year. That is not enough time to cover all the subjects needed, in sufficient depth. So spending more time studying physical concepts and practicing problem-solving skills are going to be very helpful. Physics is an important “fundamental science”, which means it forms the basis for many other branches of natural science like chemistry and biology. In addition, many practical applications like engineering and computer-related technology require extensive knowledge of physics. Unlike the High-school Physics class starting at 2pm in NCLS, in this class we pay special attention to the problem-solving skills and test-taking strategies.

* AP Physics 1 is a well-defined course. This course cannot replace it. In other words, this course can help the students prepare for the AP Physics 1 exam, but completely relying on this course instead of a rigorous AP Physics 1 course may not be a good idea.

Textbook: College Physics, 10th edition by Serway & Vuille (ISBN: 9781285737027) (recommended)

Instructor: Dr. Kai Cai (蔡锴)

Email: caikai_47401@yahoo.com

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