Physics Courses


Applied Physics
Course Credit:1
Duration:Full Year

Physics is concerned with discovering the universal laws that govern matter, energy, space, and time, and explaining how things work. This course will focus on the physics knowledge and math skills necessary for students to have an understanding of the world around them. The course is student-centered in the sense that students will have a say as to what projects they will undertake and what content they are most interested in pursuing. Possible topics include laws of motion, mechanics, fluids, thermodynamics, waves sound, optics, electricity, electronics, magnetism, light and modern physics. This class incorporates activities, labs, projects, computer simulations, computer data analysis, and many technologies — all germane to the concrete topics that drive the course. The program is a high school version of a famous course offered at UVA by Louis Bloomfield by the name “How Things Work.” The focus is on practical application of physics concepts. Students will leave the class informed and capable. Although problem-solving is not as central as for other levels of Physics, the course still emphasizes the need for measurement and quantitative analyses in order to develop models of the natural world. The class is designed for seniors, although juniors may be admitted if they meet the prerequisites, a science teacher recommends it, and schedule allows it.

Textbook Title:How Things Work, Steven Bloomfield
Prerequisites: C in Chemistry and C in Algebra II or Integrated Math III and science teacher recommendation.


Physics — Honors
Course Credit:1
Duration:Full Year

Honors Physics investigates a wide range of physical principles and phenomena including mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, wave theory, sound, light, and electromagnetic radiation. As an honors elective, high levels of self-motivation and intellectual curiosity are expected of all students. Normally a junior or senior level course, the elective is suggested for students completing Honors Chemistry and who are simultaneously taking Calculus. A rigorous approach involving theory, problem solving, laboratory experiments, computer simulations, and interactive multimedia is used. Advanced algebra and basic trigonometry are often used in problem solving. Honors Physics is more mathematically and technically based than Applied Physics and includes a balance of text, discussion, laboratory work and demonstration activities. Project work beyond the regular classroom is expected.

Textbook Title: Essential Physics, Tom Hsu, Manos Chanlotakis, and Michael Pahre, Ergopedia, Cambridge, MA (Jan. 2014)
Prerequisites: B- Honors Chemistry or A- in Chemistry and B in Pre-Calculus with science teacher recommendation


Advanced Placement Physics 1
Course Credits: 1 credit
Duration: full year (seniors only)

This course is intended for seniors who are science and math oriented. This course was designed by the College Board as the first half of a two year sequence for an algebra-based college physics course. It is offered here as an alternative to Honors Physics for those who want to go into greater depth into Newtonian Mechanics. The course also includes electrical circuits. The course does not cover electricity and magnetism, optics, and waves which are touched upon in the Honors Physics course.

Textbook Title: Physics, (7th Edn.), Cutnell, J. and Johnson, K., 2007, John Wiley and Sons.
Pre-requisite: B in Honors Chemistry or A in Freshman Physics or A- in CP Chemistry. B+ in latest math class.



Science Department