AP Physics 1

  • NOTE:  All calendars, assignments, and resources are available to students through the Google Classroom for this course.  Please e-mail me if you have any questions.

     

    AP Physics 1 is a full-year course.  The course is the equivalent of a high-level, rigorous, freshman-level, first-semester course in physics from a university.  All students are expected to register for and sit for the AP Physics 1 exam in May.

    Students taking AP Physics 1 will:

    • Learn the content of physics related to Newtonian Mechanics (motion, forces, energy, momentum, rotation, and repeating motions), mechanical waves (such as sound), and electricity.
    • Engage in scientific inquiry and utilize scientific practices in and out of the laboratory setting.
    • Engage in high-level, critical thinking skills every single day.

    The goals for AP Physics are

    • Learn Physics
    • Prepare for the AP Exam
    • Practice College and Career Readiness Skills

    Success for students in AP Physics depends on the following practices:

    • Daily attendance and attentiveness (be in class in mind and body).
    • Daily practice and self-assessment outside of class (other people call this "homework").
    • Forming a study group of 3-4 people who take the same core classes, and using the study group as a strategic resource.
    • Asking for assistance as needed based on self-assessment (come for help as soon as you realize you need help).

    Please see "strategies for parents" at the bottom of this page for general strategies that parents can use to help their child maximize their physics experience.

AP Physics C

  • NOTE:  All calendars, assignments, and resources are available to students through the Google Classroom for this course.  Please e-mail me if you have any questions.

     

    AP Physics C is a full-year course.  The course is the equivalent of a high-level, rigorous, sophomore-level, two-semester sequence in calculus-based physics from a university.  There are two separate AP Physics C exams:  "Mechanics" and "Electricity and Magnetism".  All students are expected to register for and sit for both exams in May.  Students taking AP Physics C should be enrolled in or already completed one of the AP Calculus courses, and 

    Students taking AP Physics C will:

    • Learn the content of physics related to Newtonian Mechanics (motion, forces, energy, momentum, rotation, and repeating motions) using mathematical sophistication up to and including basic calculus.
    • Learn the content of physics related to Maxwellian Electricity and Magnetism (electric force and field including Gauss's Law, electric potential, and energy, circuits including capacitance, magnetostatics including Ampere's Law, and magnetodynamics including Faraday's Law) using mathematical sophistication up to and including vector calculus.
    • Engage in scientific inquiry and utilize scientific practices in and out of the laboratory setting.
    • Engage in high-level, critical thinking skills every single day.

    The goals for AP Physics are

    • Learn Physics
    • Prepare for the AP Exam
    • Practice College and Career Readiness Skills

    Success for students in AP Physics depends on the following practices:

    • Daily attendance and attentiveness (be in class in mind and body).
    • Daily practice and self-assessment outside of class (other people call this "homework").
    • Forming a study group of 3-4 people who take the same core classes, and using the study group as a strategic resource.
    • Asking for assistance as needed based on self-assessment (come for help as soon as you realize you need help).

    Please see "strategies for parents" at the bottom of this page for general strategies that parents can use to help their child maximize their physics experience.

Physics (on-level)

  • Physics is a full-year course.  The course prepares students for success in future college physics courses by laying a strong foundation of understanding for the student.  Students who wish to continue into medical or pharm schools or other advanced programs, though not directly related to physics, are often "weeded out" by required college math and physics courses.  Our goal is to prepare students for success and forward advancement in these cases.

    Students taking Physics will:

    • Learn the content of physics related to Newtonian Mechanics (motion, forces, energy, momentum), mechanical waves (such as sound) and light waves and optics, basic electricity and magnetism, and some topics in modern physics.
    • Engage in scientific inquiry and utilize scientific practices in and out of the laboratory setting.
    • Engage in high-level, critical thinking skills every single day.

    The goals for Physics are

    • Learn Physics
    • Practice College and Career Readiness Skills

    Success for students in Physics depends on the following practices:

    • Daily attendance and attentiveness (be in class in mind and body).
    • Daily practice and self-assessment outside of class (other people call this "homework").
    • Forming a study group of 3-4 people who take the same core classes, and using the study group as a strategic resource.
    • Asking for assistance as needed based on self-assessment (come for help as soon as you realize you need help).

    Please see "strategies for parents" at the bottom of this page for general strategies that parents can use to help their child maximize their physics experience.

Strategies for Parents

  • If your student is currently enrolled in any sort of high-school Physics class (on-level or higher), then it is almost a certainty that your student is in 11th and 12th grade.  If you as a parent are very concerned about your student's success, then GOOD!  Mr. Frensley wants to partner with you in ensuring that your student is successful in physics, grows in their marketable skills and abilities, and prepares for the next level (college).  Please note that I am saying "student" and not "child" because your student probably already has a driver's license and is about to start voting (wow how the time flies!).

    However, there is an important balance that we need to monitor and maintain.  Students, at this stage, need to be:

    • Taking ownership of their education (the student thinks "this is my education", not "this is my teacher's class" or "this is my teacher's job").
    • Engaging in self-assessment (the student views in-class activities and out-of-class assignments as an opportunity to determine whether they "get it" or they "don't get it").
    • Advocating for themselves (upon realizing that they "don't get it", they make sure that their needs for intervention are being met).

    In my experience, parents tend to fall into either one of these extremes:

    • Advocating for your student:  while this does ensure that your student is getting the extra help and intervention they need, it may prevent them from learning how to advocate for themselves and take the initiative to get help themselves.
    • Abdication (my kid's going to do what they're going to do):  While this puts them into a grown-up environment (in real life, no one is going to monitor them but themselves), they are still teenagers and need our guidance.

    I would like to partner with you in using your student's physics experience as a framing device for transitioning your student from "high-school" to "adult".  May I suggest some strategies?  Before you read them, I know that teenagers are reluctant to talk to their parents, and I don't have an easy solution for that.  However, I feel that trying to make these things a habit is valuable in strengthening your relationship with your student and also monitoring their success.

    • Use the dinner table (or some other quiet, conversational time) to ask your student about each class they are taking (not just physics).  Please avoid "how do you feel about physics" because the answer might be "I love physics" (because we play with toys often) but they may still be struggling with concepts; some students might say "I hate the book we're reading in English" but still be doing a good job of understanding the literature and writing essays.  Here are more effective questions:
      • "Tell me about what you're learning in (physics/math/English/history)."  Try to probe the student until you hear words or names you don't often hear in casual conversation.  A response of "we're learning about rotational motion" (words you've heard before) can be followed up with "what about rotational motion are you learning" until something like "well we learned about something called rotational inertia".  Note that you don't normally say "rotational inertia" in YOUR everyday life, so you've broken through the ice.  If your child says "we're studying the Civil War", probe further until words like "Antietam" or "March to the Sea" start coming out.
      • "Explain (whatever they just said) to me.  What is it?  Why is it important?"  So maybe "Explain rotational inertia to me so that I can understand it." or "Why is the March to the Sea important?"  If your student can do it, then they're in great shape!
      • Act like it is the most interesting thing in the world.  Parents complain about teachers who aren't excited by their own subject matter, but parents who aren't excited by our subject matter also influence their student in a negative way.
      • Repeat for every subject and for every child.  It takes time, but it is valuable time.  Your dinner table conversation teaches your students what is important, so if nothing of real value is discussed ("what happened on American Idol last night?") then children get a skewed perception of what is truly important in their lives.
    • At that time or a later time, try to find out how the student feels about their class work (and NOT their teacher, because students can love teachers even when they're failing).
    • If the student indicates difficulty, trying asking these questions:
      • Do you think Mr. Frensley (or whatever teacher) knows you're struggling?  (If yes, ask how I know, because the answer is probably that I don't.)
      • Do you think Mr. Frensley cares that you're struggling?  Do you think Mr. Frensley wants to help?  (If the answer to either question is "no", please e-mail me immediately.)
      • Can I help you make a plan to get help from Mr. Frensley?
      • If your student has a study group, which they should, you may include questions about whether their study group can be used as a resource.
    • Once a plan is made, please encourage the student to execute the plan on their own.  HOWEVER, please e-mail me (without the student's knowledge, preferably) so that I know that a plan was made.  I will report back to you on whether your student followed through and my recommended next steps.  If the student doesn't know that we are colluding behind the scenes, it will seem like they operated autonomously, and your student will increase their ability to function independently.  However, some students will say that they do something but then don't, so if that happens, we need to go to a more direct approach.

    If you have any feedback, suggestions, additions, or personal experiences that could help improve these suggestions, please don't hesitate to share that with me.