• Instructor

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




    • Welcome to Conceptual Physics!  I’m here to help you explore physics and connect mathematical concepts to object behaviors in the real (or almost real) world.  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 every-day.


    Course Description


    Physics covers topics and concepts related to how the natural world interacts. Topics include kinematics (motion), dynamics (forces), circular motion & gravitation, momentum & impulse, energy & work, electricity, simple electric circuits, waves, sound, and electromagnetic spectrum.


    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.   Tardy is defined as not in the classroom when the bell begins to ring. 

    • 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 undoubtedly 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!"  


    Recommended Materials


    • Graphing Calculator

    • 3-ring binder…with paper…preferably blank (lines are ok).   Graph paper may be useful.

    • Pencils.  Colorful pencils may help.  

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






    Grade System:


    Major Assessment

    Minor Assessments





    Grading Policy


    • Assignments are due as specified in the assignment. There is no automatic extension for an excused absence.

      • All planned absences (athletics, vacations, dr appointments, etc…)do not qualify for an extension.  Submit your assignment early if necessary

      • Unplanned emergency absences may receive an extension, but it is not automatic

      • Assignments posted during a planned absence are still required on the original due date.  Office hours are available if assistance is needed.

    • All major summative assignments that are at least 2 calendar weeks late (may be adjusted near end of quarter) will receive a maximum score of 80% without possibility of a retake.

    • All minor summative assignments turned in more than two calendar weeks late will receive a maximum grade of 50%.

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

    • My expectation is that you will take any scheduled exams during your regularly scheduled block.  If you have a legitimate reason to miss the exam day you are responsible for scheduling the make-up test time for the first day of return.  Make-up tests not completed within two calendar weeks (times may be adjusted near the end of a quarter) receive a maximum score of 80% with no retake possibility.  No make-up tests will be given during your regularly scheduled block.  Generally, make-up tests are given during regular office hours in the classroom.  You can always take the exam early!

    • I believe in testing hard, but grading fair.   I always reserve the right to implement a curve on specific assignments but the general grading plan does not include a curve.

    • If you receive a grade of less than 80% on a test, you may be able to complete a retest.  Retakes are only available if there are no zeros for the tested unit in the gradebook on test day.  There may be several other gateways that must be completed prior to any retake.  The gateways for each retake will be given to each student at the time a retake is applied for.  All retakes must be completed within 2 weeks of the graded exam return or as specified when the retake is made available.




    Students will be required to read and sign the lab safety agreement provided electronically. 

    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.



    Homework involves utilizing skills and concepts to solve physics questions. The purpose of the homework is to practice the concepts learned in the previous class periods and it should be completed on time and all answers should be properly justified.  Homework will normally be reviewed in class, however you are expected to seek help prior to the homework due date if you are having difficulty completing the assignment


    Start homework the day it is assigned.  This allows you to identify difficulties rapidly and allows time for remediation prior to the due date.  


    You are responsible for all posted homework even if you are absent on the assignment day.  

    Class Website

    I will make extensive use of Schoology for assignments.  All students are expected to join the appropriate course and will be responsible for all posted assignments.  Many assignments will require access to other websites with individual logins not accessed via go.lcps.org.  Students are responsible for recording their own passwords and are expected to have access to all class materials.


    Class Notes / Lectures


    The class notes are the assigned textbook.  You are expected to come to class prepared by already having completed reading the assigned sections from the textbook AND prepared to participate in discussions about the topic/concepts from the assigned reading.   When available, any teacher prepared presentations will be made available on the class website.


    Preparing for the SOL Examination


    This should be rather easy as there is no SOL exam for this course.  If you believe you will struggle to prepare for this non-exam, please see Mr. Key early and often!


    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 object’s 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!