• Physics AP 1 and Honors


    College Board Course Resources

    AP Central - main AP orientation and launch page - if you have not created an AP account, do so here.

    AP Physics 1 Introduction Page - general AP Physics 1 information page. 

    MyAP - Login on this webpage to access your AP resources, tools and AP Physics 1 My Classroom

    AP Physics 1 Course and Exam Description - in-depth information about AP Physics 1 (246 pages)

    AP Physics 1 My Classroom Join Code - V7YQZ9

    CHS Physics AP/Honors Syllabus

    AP Physics 1 (Algebra-based) and Honors Physics 2020-21

    Dr. Mark Sivy
    Concord High School



    Not only is this syllabus written for a combined AP/Honors class but is also adapted to the current fully online nature of the course and an unknown future. As a result, information is subject to change. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at the email address above if you have any questions.

    Course Description

    This is an algebra-based course in general physics. For AP Physics 1 students it’s roughly equivalent to an introductory algebra-based university-level physics “mechanics” (motion and forces) course. For Honors Physics students, the course is not quite as rigorous (they will not always have the same class assignments and expectations as the AP group). This course covers the topics in the tables below. The emphasis of the course is for students to improve their knowledge and understanding of essential physics concepts, and to enhance their ability to creatively and strategically integrate scientific, mathematical and spatial skills to solve problems. Given the current limitations due to online learning, laboratory understandings and skills will be conveyed in the best manner possible. The course also complies with the Standard Course of Study Competency Goals as specified by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.


    Units for AP Physics 1

    Topic and AP Exam Weighting Ranges

    Unit 1: Kinematics     10–16%

    Unit 7: Torque and Rotational Motion     10–16%

    Unit 2: Dynamics     12–18%

    Unit 8: Electric Charge and Electric Force     4–6%

    Unit 3: Circular Motion and Gravitation     4–6%

    Unit 9: DC Circuits     6–8%

    Unit 4: Energy     16–24%

    Unit 10: Mechanical Waves and Sound     12–16%

    Unit 5: Momentum     10–16%

    AP Exam Review

    Unit 6: Simple Harmonic Motion     2–4%



    Units for Honors Physics

    Unit 1: Kinematics

    Unit 7: Torque and Rotational Motion

    Unit 2: Dynamics

    Unit 8: Electric Charge and Electric Force

    Unit 3: Circular Motion and Gravitation

    Unit 9: DC Circuits

    Unit 4: Energy

    Unit 10: Mechanical Waves and Sound

    Unit 5: Momentum

    Unit 11: Magnetism

    Unit 6: Simple Harmonic Motion



    This is a “B” day class and will meet according to the applicable mandates of Concord High School and Cabarrus County Schools. To enable time for exam review, the goal is to complete the units two weeks prior the AP Physics Part 1 exam, which is the afternoon of Wednesday, May 5, 2021 (test starts at noon). Class meetings after the exam will be spent covering topics/projects we choose together.


    All Physics students go to my Physics AP/Honors website to sign up for an account with the AP College Board (if you don’t have one already) and to join the AP Physics 1 My Classroom. You need to do this to access online resources and workbooks that are used with the course and to register for the AP exam.


    Students are encouraged from the first day to create or join a study group to work with during and out of class.


    Course goals include developing student’s intuition, creativity and investigative skills to do the following:

    • Use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.
    • Use mathematics appropriately.
    • Engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course.
    • Plan and implement data collection strategies in relation to a particular scientific question.
    • Perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.
    • Work with scientific explanations and theories.
    • Connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts, and representations in and across domains.



    • Course Fee - $25
    • Access to the AP Physics 1 My Classroom
    • Download the AP Physics 1 Student Workbook, Student Edition (contains the 12 workbooks) or the 12 individual workbooks found on the AP Classroom for AP Physics 1.
    • Download the AP Physics 1 Course and Exam Description. This is your best single source of information for course and exam details.
    • Primary Textbook (CHS provided) – College Physics, Serway & Vuille, Eleventh Edition
    • Supplemental Digital Textbook - College Physics for AP Courses, which is free from Rice University Openstax. This text is officially listed by the AP College Board as one that meets the Board’s curricular requirements.
    • Scientific Calculator (graphing preferred).
    • Organization System – in addition to being important for this class, documentation may be required when requesting college credit from a higher education institution. This includes:
      • An organization and maintenance strategy for your digital files. This is an important skill to have, and includes setting up a hierarchical folder structure, using a consistent naming convention and performing regular cleanups. Here are a couple of websites for ideas - 10 File Management Tips, 10 Best Practices,
      • A composition book or other means of maintaining handwritten notes and recording any lab work.
      • A three-ring binder with organizing dividers to keep hardcopy work, handouts, homework, AP documents, formal lab write-ups, and tests when available and appropriate.


    Semester Grading Criteria

    Major Grades (e.g., exams, projects, major labs) – 75%

    Minor Assessments (e.g., classwork, quizzes, minor labs/activities) – 25%


    Final Course Grade Criteria

    Final Grade = (Grading Periods 1-4 Average x 75%) + (Final EOC Grade x 25%)


    Grading Scale

    Grade Letter






    Grade Scale





    Below 60



    To receive full credit, all assignments must be turned in no later than the stated time, otherwise a grade of zero may result. If you received an assignment, but you’re absent on the due date, the assignment is due the day you return. During class time, you’re expected to work on the given assignment until it’s been submitted. Any assignments to be completed as homework must be submitted at the beginning of the next class meeting.


    If you are absent, it is your responsibility to contact me to find out what you need to make up. I will gladly go over the material you missed. Including the day you return, you have three calendar days to complete the missed work. If you are out the day before a quiz/test, you may still be required to take the quiz/test on the day you return.


    Behavior & Expectations

    • Be in your seat (or Microsoft Teams) and prepared for class before class begins.
    • Be respectful of your peers and teacher.
    • Follow Cabarrus County Schools and Concord High School rules.
    • Consequences are dealt with according the CHS guidelines



    This is a laboratory class - students are expected to adhere to common sense safety rules for their protection as well as the protection of others in the classroom, no running, or using equipment as a toy or weapon.



    As needed.


    Phone/Technology Policy

    Personal electronic devices, such as cell phones, are to be silenced and put away. Headphones are also to be put away. Personal technology is allowed when needed for class purposes.



    This portion of the course is one of the greatest challenges in the online setting. How labs unfold this year will be determined by each lab’s requirements. Historically, labs are open-ended and inquiry-based and about 25% of class time is spent on lab related activities (preparation, write-up, etc.). Ideally at least 12 are assigned during the course of the year. Students are given an objective such as “Determine the coefficient of static friction of wood on wood.” and then use standard materials such as string, ruler, protractor, mass set, light pulley, etc. to investigate. Students are allowed to create their own experimental design, but ultimately most of the lab designs must lead to the collection of data which can be analyzed through graphical methods. Students are encouraged to use whatever technology is available to them, including smartphones and laptops (note that shooting a video and analyzing it is an acceptable practice). Students work in small groups, but each student must submit independent lab papers. In addition to the papers described below, you may be asked about labs on following quizzes or tests. You are still responsible for these questions if you missed (and failed to make up) the lab, and the question will be phrased in such a way that you could apply what

    you have learned and answer it (e.g. ‘how would you set up a lab to…). This is practice for the AP test!


    Lab Papers, Rubric and Format

    Participation in all labs is mandatory and anything covered in a lab is fair game on a test. Lab format is based on the expectations of college lab courses. Use these lab write-up resources for guidance:

    University of Toronto

    Monash University

    UNC-Chapel Hill Writing Center


    In essence you include the following (but use the guides above for specifics):

    1. Title, your name and date.
    2. Abstract: A short (two to five sentence) summary of the entire write-up paper. It should state what you did and what your results were in a brief, clear fashion. (5 pts)
    3. Introduction: Here is where you’ve done some literature research (and include citations in the reference section). (15 pts)

    Consists of these parts

    1. Question/Hypothesis
    2. Background and relevant theories gained from your literature research
    3. The experiment objectives, why it is important
    1. Methods and Materials: This is where you explain what you did and how you did it. Include a discussion of your materials, how you conducted the experiment, and any modifications you had to make along the way. At least one illustration is mandatory here; it may be a hand drawing, an illustration done in Word or with another application, or a well-labeled and clear photograph with explanatory text. (25 pts)
    2. Data Results and Analysis: Include a narrative of what you found along with all relevant data. Use whatever type of graphs, tables, photographs, etc. you need. Anything you show, for example, in a table or graph should also be explained in the narrative. In other words, don’t just say “see fig. 1,” but rather write something such as “as you can see from fig. 1, we found that force increases…” Make sure all graphs and tables are properly labeled and explained. (30 pts.)
    3. Discussion and Conclusions: Discuss what you found and what it means. Make a scientific argument: “We claim we found X, our evidence was Y, and we think our evidence means we’re right because…” Analyze error. This is another area where you could do some research, find someone else’s findings, and cite that source, listing it in your References section (below). (20 pts)
    4. References: I expect you to provide at least two academic references (not Wikipedia, blogs and such) using proper formatting (see Purdue University OWL) (5 pts)


    Academic Honesty

    Expected all the time. This ranges from cheating on graded work to plagiarism. You know right from wrong – don’t jeopardize your academic future. Look at this Harvard Guide to Using Sources.


    Organizing Principals

    AP Physics is organized around “Big Ideas” and “Science Practices” that we’ll revisit during the class:


    Big Ideas:

    1. Objects and systems have properties such as mass and charge.
    2. Fields existing in space can be used to explain interactions.
    3. The interactions of an object with other objects can be described by forces
    4. Interactions between systems can result in changes in those systems
    5. Changes that occur as a result of interactions are constrained by conservation laws
    6. Waves can transfer energy and momentum from one location to another without the permanent transfer of mass and serve as a mathematical model for the description of other phenomena
    7. The mathematics of probability can be used to describe the behavior of complex systems and to interpret the behavior of quantum mechanical systems


    Science Practices:

    1. The student can use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.
    2. The student can use mathematics appropriately.
    3. The student can engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course.
    4. The student can plan and implement data collection strategies in relation to a particular scientific question.
    5. The student can perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.
    6. The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.
    7. The student is able to connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts, and representations in and across domains.