What is Physics?
Physics, like all the sciences, is a way of learning about and exploring the world around us. In particular, physics studies the motion and behavior of matter and energy in order to understand and predict how the universe behaves.
"Physics is, hopefully, simple. Physicists are not."
- Edward Teller (1908 - 2003)
Students are expected to be actively involved in their learning experience, from participating in class, to labs, activities, and research. Designing and performing experiments to investigate concepts helps scientific principles to come alive and extend from the theoretical to the practical. Students are expected to draw conclusions, compare their results, and learn how to report their findings. Just as scientists must have self-discipline, honesty, and integrity, so must science students.
Student participation is not expected to always be 100% correct! Some of the most effective learning comes from errors. Students are encouraged to offer suggestions and insights even when they don't know the answer. Ask questions! Make mistakes!
“There are a thousand ways to get a problem wrong -- not all of them bad -- and many ways to get a problem right -- not all of them good.”
-David J. Griffiths (1942 - )
Many types of resources will be used in class, from websites to textbooks and review books. Students will also need to at times research using other outside sources to obtain information for experiments. Students will be advised and supported in learning how to find valid sources of information. With all the information available -- some scientifically supported, some not -- it is important students learn how to choose between them.
Students are expected to be in class on time, with all necessary materials for that day, including:
- Binder or other method of collecting and organizing notes, assignments, and handouts
- Pencils and/or pens (students are strongly encouraged to use pencil to keep calculations neat and legible. Mistakes happen often!)
- Calculator (see Note on Calculators below and Other Resources page)
- Any other homework assignments or lab materials required for the day
Note on Cell Phones
Students are expected to follow all school policies while in class. Cell phones should be out of sight and silent during class unless being used for class work. At times cell phones may be allowed for particular class activities, but will never be required. There will always be a secondary way to complete the activity.
Note on Calculators
Graphing or scientific calculators are necessary for this class as physics is very math heavy! Graphing calculators are not required, but are allowed even on the Regents Exam. A selection of calculators are available in the classroom for student use. Students may use calculators on their phone during class and at home, but not on quizzes, tests, or the Regents exam.
I strongly recommend desmos.com. It provides FREE graphing and scientific calculators through an internet browser, as well as apps for iOS and Android. While a phone can not be used on exams, students can use desmos at home and during class.