St. Ignatius High School Science Department, Clavius Science Center - 08/21/07

Honors Physics 2007-2008 - Mr. Bob Ward - Room 104

Goals and Objectives: (also available on ) under Honors Physics Goals.

1. To have students learn how to solve complex numerical physics problems using their math and reasoning skills and to be able to explain the concepts behind the problems. By taking Honors Physics, an algebra-based course, students will be prepared to take AP Physics here (usually as a senior) or to take further physics courses in college. Students from this course have gone on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in science, engineering, and medicine.

2. To give students a good foundation in the logical and organized thinking processes of scientists and give them a new way of looking at the physical world. In our highly technological world, the "non-technical" person is called upon more and more to understand technology and to use scientific thought processes. Physics should give all students confidence in their ability to think like a scientist and to solve complex problems.

3. To use available computer-based technology and its related equipment to make high accuracy measurements in lab, graphically analyze the results, and to discover equations for some basic principles of physic

4. To enjoy physics and have fun doing it.


Some chapters/sections will begin with a lab. I will only tell the students what to do, not what they are going to learn. They are then able to discover principles, relationships, and equations on their own. They will tell me what they have learned. Then we discuss the results and they write a lab report. Only then do we read the book and do problems. All students will also be trained in the use of the Excel spreadsheet for data analysis, including graphing and curve fitting.

Students are given the list of problems due for the chapter. Students first read the appropriate section. I explain the tougher parts in the book and answer questions. The tougher problems are worked in detail on the board and I (or the students) answer questions on any of the problems. There is a 45-60 minute test on each chapter. Lab questions and problems are included in quizzes and tests. Chapters take one or two weeks. The pace is rapid and the atmosphere is informal.

There will be more frequent shorter labs (hands-on and simulated) than in previous years due to the excellent equipment available in the Clavius Science Center. Most days, each team of two students will have access to a laptop, which has Microsoft Word, Excel, the Pasco Data Studio software (for hands-on labs), as well as the Interactive Physics mechanics simulation software, Electronics Workbench simulation software, and other simulation software. The simulations will allow students to "build" mechanics problems, electronic circuits, and perform experiments that would otherwise not be easy to do.

Student projects such as Science Olympiad, robotics competitions, science fairs, and other contests are encouraged. ( )

Quizzes and chapter tests are given to allow students to show what they have learned. The semester exams cover all material from the semester to give students encouragement to review older material.

Books and Materials:

Our textbook is College Physics, 7th edition, by Serway and Faughn, 2006, published by Harcourt College Publishers. Students should take detailed notes as needed. The teacher provides supplementary handouts and lab materials. Supplementary material may be available on the Honors Physics web site at . Each student must bring a basic scientific calculator (only the TI-30x IIS at $15 or less), notebook, paper (lined and unlined), and a pen and pencil to class daily. The text should also be brought unless we are doing a full-period lab.

NOTE: Due to the equation solving power, game playing ability, and large storage capacity of many scientific calculators, my Honors Physics students are allowed to use only the TI-30x IIS calculator in class for daily work, tests, and quizzes. Use of ANY graphing calculator during regular class, quizzes, or tests is forbidden. These calculators will be confiscated and returned to the student at the END of the day. Repeat offenders will be jugged. Graphing calculators may be used in lab or outside my classroom.

Students may not have cell phones in class.

Academic Integrity:

Incidents of cheating, copying, plagiarism, etc. will be handled according to the student handbook. Please read that section if you haven't yet. Students are to do their own homework and lab reports. There are NEVER any group homeworks or group lab reports in my class. (The only similarities on labs should be data or information taken in class. All explanations and conclusions should be written by each individual). There may be an occasional project that could involve group work. The instructions (paper or online) will clearly state that fact, otherwise they should work alone. Students may get help from others, but the final product should be their own, in their own words, and in their own style. I have been teaching 30+ years and can easily recognize copied work.

Homework Policy:

Homework is practice. As mentioned above, students are allowed to get help but copying or large scale help is not allowed. If they have that much trouble, they should contact me for tutoring sessions. Homework in Honors Physics is a time to learn from mistakes. Students are graded on degree of effort, not correct answers. To get credit, they must make what I judge a worthy attempt at the problems. Late homework is not accepted unless it is due to an excused absence. Homework is as important as practice to an athlete. It is mandatory for success. Homework assignments will be listed on my web page as given above.

Written homework is given many nights, depending upon the current topic. This consists of practice problems from the chapter, questions/problems from the end of the chapter, or questions/problems from a teacher handout. Occasionally problems are given before we have covered material in class to challenge students. On nights when written homework is not assigned, students are expected to review and practice problems done previously and to read ahead in the book. This is necessary because it is useless for students to cram for a physics exam. If your son tells you he doesn't have any Physics homework, tell him I told you he was supposed to be reviewing older material in preparation for the next quiz or test. Frequent quizzes are used to encourage quality homework. Homework assignments and upcoming quizzes/tests will be listed on my web site.

Grading Policy:

Grades are based upon points. For example, tests might be worth 100 points, quizzes 5 to 50 points, depending upon their length. Homeworks are generally worth 5 points if they are complete and the student makes a good effort. Lab reports are 10 to 20 points. Extra credit is NOT an option for students who have any missing work or who are doing poorly in class. Extra credit is never to be used to 'bail out' students who are not doing their job. Small amounts of extra credit may be assigned at times for students with no missing assignments. Larger amounts of extra credit may be available for students who participate in science competitions. Final grades are determined by calculating the percentage of possible points and assigning a letter grade based upon the school policy. Grades will be posted on Netclassroom ( ) for students and parents to track. Posting for homework is usually done the evening of day it is due. Labs and tests will usually be posted by late Sunday the week they are taken, if not earlier.   Some tests take a while to grade and this may cause delays.

Tardy and Absence Policy:

Students may be assigned detentions for tardiness to class. These may be detentions with Mr. Arthur, work duties in science labs, or some other type of teacher detention. Unexcused absences are counted as class cuts, which are handled by Mr. Arthur. Work missed during that class may not be made up. Any quizzes or tests on that day will be graded as zero points.

Make-Up Policy:

The student must see me upon return; I will not approach him. Students are allowed one day of make-up time for each day of excused absence. Absence the day before an exam does NOT usually excuse a student from the exam because exams are announced several days ahead. New material for an exam is not covered the day before the exam. Failure to bring study materials home, or forgetting there is a test, also does NOT excuse a student from the exam! Homework assignments are available on my webpage at all times. Students may also e-mail me. Assignments not made up within a week will revert to a zero, unless due to an extended illness.

Teacher Availability:

Parents should feel free to contact me at 216-651-0222 x240 but an email to (listing concerns and/or with suggested times for me to call) is preferred. Email will be answered the same day.  Phone calls will be returned the same day I get the message.  I am available in room 104 during 4o  and during 5o.  I am available after school from 3:00 until 4:00 or 5:00 most days usually in Room 104 or in the 2nd floor project room. I am also available in Room 104 each morning between 7:15 and 7:55, but this is usually a bad time since I often use this time for lab setup and other final preparation for the day. If a student intends to meet with me, he should let me know in advance if possible. He should also come prepared with questions. Students should not tell me they are "clueless" since I give them numerous "clues" every day.