AP Physics

The AP Physics 1 course has been designed by the College Board as a course equivalent to the algebra-based college-level physics class.

At the end of the course, students will take the AP Physics 1 Exam, which will test their knowledge of both the concepts taught in the classroom and their use of the correct formulas.

The course focuses on the interconnections between the various strands and units contained in the course syllabus and how each contributes to the “Big Ideas” that provide a core foundation for this science course. Problem solving techniques and strategies are fined tuned throughout the year, and students are continually tasked with connecting physics applications learned in different units in order to synthesize solutions to complex problems.

The emphasis on theoretical topics, critical thinking and problem solving makes this class challenging. Mathematics is used to illuminate physical situations rather than to show off a student’s manipulative abilities. Students must be strong in both math and science to be successful in this course. Conceptual understanding of the material is a requirement for success. Students will be expected to write justifications and explanations of physics concepts. Students have the opportunity to meet the learning objectives in a variety of ways and to apply their knowledge to real world experiences and society issues. Instructional time involves a variety of student-centered activities.

The content for the course is based on six big ideas:

  • Big Idea 1 – Objects and systems have properties such as mass and charge. Systems may have internal structure.
  • Big Idea 2 – Fields existing in space can be used to explain interactions.
  • Big Idea 3 – The interactions of an object with other objects can be described by forces.
  • Big Idea 4 – Interactions between systems can result in changes in those systems.
  • Big Idea 5 – Changes that occurs as a result of interactions are constrained by conservation laws.
  • Big Idea 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 phenomenon.