• Please below below for the course syllabus!


    Scott Key - Email: scott.key@lcps.org




    • Welcome to AP Physics C – Mechanics edition!  I’m here to help you explore physics in a hands-on environment at a collegiate level.  Throughout the year we are going to delve into topics such as forces, momentum, and energy in order to explore how they relate to stuff we see everyday.


    Course Description


    AP Physics C covers the topics and concepts typically included in the first semester of a calculus-based, introductory college-level physics course.  Most students take AP Physics C in their senior year following successful completion of regular physics and teacher recommendation is required.  Students should be concurrently taking (or have taken) AP Calculus AB.   Topics include kinematics (motion), dynamics (forces), circular motion & gravitation, simple harmonic motion, momentum & impulse, energy & work, and rotational motion & torque.  The course focuses on high-level understanding of concepts and experimental design, and prepares students for the AP Physics C exam in May. 

    1. Kinematics (18%)

      1. Vectors 

        1. Components, addition, subtraction

    2.    unit vector (î ĵ ƙ) form

    3.    Dot (scalar) product

    4.    Cross product

    1. Motion in one and two dimensions

      1. Equations for uniformly accelerated motion (aka “kinematic equations”)

      2. Graphing and graph interpretation (more involved than you may be familiar with)

      3. Calculus applications

        1.  Instantaneous quantities (derivatives)

        2. Area under curves (integrals)

      4. Projectile motion

    1. Newton’s Laws (20%)

      1. Three laws of motion

      2. Free Body Diagrams 

      3. Types of forces

      4. Static equilibrium

      5. Dynamics of a single body

      6. Systems of two or more bodies

      7. Uniform circular motion

      8. Law of Universal Gravitation

        1. Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion

        2. Orbits of planets and satellites

    2. Work, Energy, and Power (14%)

      1. Work and the Work-Energy Theorem

      2. Conservative forces and potential energy

      3. Conservation of Energy

      4. Power

    3. Systems of Particles and Linear Momentum (12%)

      1. Center of Mass

      2. Impulse and momentum

      3. Collisions and Conservation of Linear Momentum

    4. Rotation (18%)

      1. Rotational Kinematics

      2. Rotational Dynamics

        1. Torque

        2. Rotational equilibrium (the two conditions of equilibrium)

      3. Angular momentum and its conservation


    1. Oscillations and Simple Harmonic Motion (18%)

      1. Dynamics and energy relationships

      2. Mass on a spring

      3. Pendulums and other oscillations 


    We will also emphasize the correct and consistent use of:

    • SI (“metric”) units

    • scientific notation and significant figures

    • order of magnitude, dimensional analysis and unit conversions in evaluating problems

    • simple differential and integral calculus, the dot product, and the cross product

    • complex algebraic expressions and equations: deriving, rearranging and solving 

    • trigonometric expressions and identities

    • good calculator technique to avoid mistakes and save time




    Class Expectations

    As all of you are upperclassmen, I know that you already understand how to act appropriately in class and with each other.  With that in mind, here are a few items that will help us get the most out of class.


    • Be on time.   

    • Bring all required materials.  You need a pencil, pen, something to write on that is not your hand, and a calculator.

    • Respect your peers – we’re going to be doing a lot of group work and discussing ideas with each other so we must always be respectful so we feel comfortable sharing all our ideas. 

    • Bring the right attitude.  Physics is undisputedly the greatest of all the sciences, but if you are not willing to challenge yourself in class and attack problems that you can’t get in five seconds then we won’t be able to reach the highest level of universal enlightenment that is possible.  

    • Do your best.  Doing “good enough” is acceptable in English class but here we strive for excellence or better.  "There are 4 ways to do things: 1) the right way, 2) the wrong way, 3) your way, and 4) My way…do things my way and we will get along just fine!"  (1st extra credit is to correct the previous quote and provide the movie it came from…)


    Recommended Materials


    • Graphing Calculator (Ti nSpireis best; Ti 84 works just fine)

    • 3-ring binder…with paper…preferably blank (lines are ok) 

    • Pencils.  Colorful pencils may help.  

    • Snacks for Mr. Key (or yourself)…learning takes FUEL!  My favorite is something with dark chocolate.




    Physics for Scientists and Engineers – 10th Edition: Serway and Jouett


    Grading Policy


    • Assignments are due the next class period following the date of assignment unless otherwise specified. If a student has an excused absence, the assignment is due the next class period the student returns. No credit will be given for assignments missed resulting from unexcused absences. 

    • All answers must have supporting work. Credit will not be given for assignments turned in without proper written justification and demonstration of mathematical work. 

    • You must be prepared for the test/quiz as scheduled.  If you are not able to take the exam on time and you have an excused absence, meet with me to schedule a make-up time.  If you know in advance that you will be gone, the expectation is that you will take the test/quiz in advance!

    • If you received less than an 80% on a quiz, you can complete a make-up assignment for a maximum score of 80%

    • I use a point system for grades. I believe in testing hard, but grading fair.  You are in a non-mastery, college level course.  As such, grades will be calculated on a "performance curve" as specified below

    Grade System:


    Class Work/Participation/Labs               50%

    Projects/Quizzes                                     50%


    Grade Curve:  AP Physics is a difficult and demanding class.  This class may be your first experience with a college level difficulty STEM course with associated performance expectations.  A typical college level physics course does not find students perform at high percentage correct levels like you may be used to in high school.  As such, the grade curve below is used to adjust college level performance into high school level grade systems.




    60 - 100


    55 - 60


    50 - 55


    47 - 50


    43 - 47


    40 - 43


    37 - 40


    33 - 37


    30 - 33


    27 - 30


    23 - 27


    20 - 23


    < 20




    This course requires that 25 percent of the instructional time will be spent in hands-on laboratory work, with an emphasis on inquiry-based investigations that provide students with opportunities to apply the science practices.  Students will be required to read the Flynn Safety Contract and return it to me with their signature.


    Students who fail to successfully complete this will not be allowed in the laboratory and will complete an alternative assignment.  Safety violations may result in a disciplinary referral, loss of the privilege of participating in the lab or activity, (which may result in a failing grade), and/or a payment of restitution for damaged equipment.





    Advanced Placement classes are college equivalent classes. Homework is involves utilizing skills and concepts to attack AP level questions.  Plan on spending a minimum of 2+ hours each week. The purpose of the homework is to practice the concepts learned in the previous class periods and it must be completed on time and all answers must be properly justified. You will not receive credit for only writing the answer. The class may begin with a daily, timed, quiz based on previous homework set(s) and/or classwork/labs. Homework may or may not be reviewed in class. You are expected to seek help prior to the homework due date.  Collaboration is encouraged; however you are expected to submit your own work. All homework assignments may be checked at the beginning of class and may be graded.


    Late Homework: Homework is considered late when it is not available at the beginning of class on the due date. Students who are in the building at any time during the school day (even if they are on a field trip during physics class) are expected to turn in assignments on or before the due date.



    Preparing for the AP Examination


    Students who enroll in AP Physics C are expected to take the AP Examination. To help develop confidence with the format of the AP exam, multiple-choice and free-response style questions will be incorporated into each unit of instruction. Several practice examinations are given throughout the year. All exams will be given in a manner consistent with the college-board examination and consist of 20 to 30 multiple-choice questions along with two to three free response questions. Students will take practice tests under examination conditions.


    My Approach to Physics


    My goal is to have the students successfully be able to do the following:


    • Design experiments in response to a scientific questions.  i.e., “Can I decrease the force exerted on an object by increasing the collision time?” 

    • Reason with respect to a relevant equation.  i.e., “If I double the mass, what effect will this have on the period of the pendulum?”

    • Interpret Graphs. i.e.,  “What information can I glean from a velocity vs. time graph?”

    • Understand the physical meaning of numerical quantities.  i.e., “Does 29.105 m/s make sense with respect to the accuracy and precision of my data collection techniques and devices, and within the context of this problem?”

    • Understand the physical significance of integrals and derivatives.  i.e., “How does the rate of change of an objects speed relate to acceleration?”

    • Answer absurd questions relating to dumb movies.  i.e., "What is the airspeed velocity of an un-laden swallow?"


    One final thought…UNITS MATTER!!!!!!  If you are one of those students that never really bothered with keeping track of units, well…time to pay the piper!