High-school Physics (高中物理基础)

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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, including AP Physics classes.

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

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

Reference book: Conceptual Physics by Paul G. Hewitt


Advanced Physics (originally “SAT Physics”) course: no longer offered

Instructor: Dr. Kai Cai (蔡锴)

Email: caikai_47401@yahoo.com


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