Conceptual Physics

This course consists of 12 units that target topics in Mechanics, Static and Current Electricity, Wave Mechanics, and Ray Optics. While numbers are commonly used to help illustrate relationships and principles, the mathematical rigor of the course is significantly reduced compared to our Algebra-Based Physics Course. There is a wide collection of task Tracker assignments, including Simulations with Concept Checkers, Concept Builders, Minds On Physics missions, customized CalcPad problem sets, and Science Reasoning activities. 

The course is well-suited for a junior or senior student with low math and/or reading skills. The course is also suitable for an on-level ninth grade Physics student. The pace of the course and the amount of content it contains is significantly reduced. An effort is made to focus attention upon concepts and relationships. There is little to no reliance upon the algebraic manipulations of equations and the use of equations to solve Physics word problems. Trigonometry is absent from the course. When numerical information is used, it is primarily used to demonstrate relationships and reinforce concepts. 

Use the links below to access the Lesson Plans and Pacing Guides for the various units.  Each Lesson Plan includes links to the actual resources as found on the website. The CalcPad assignments are customized assignments that include problems from a variety of our problem sets.

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Units

Experiments, Variables, and Relationships (link coming soon)

An 8-day unit that acquaints students with the importance of experiments, the use of claim-evidence-reasoning arguments, the concept of variables, the types of variable relationship commonly encountered in a Physics class, and the use of the slope-intercept equation for linear relationships. Relies on several labs and 4 Concept Builders.

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes (link coming soon)
 

1-Dimensional Kinematics

A 13-day unit that forms the foundation for the study of mechanics. Students learn how to describe motion with words, diagrams, graphs, and numbers. Includes several labs, 9 Concept Builders, 13 Minds On Physics missions, 1 CalcPad problem set, and 5 Physics Interactive simulations.

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes
 
 

Newton's Laws of Motion

A 14-day unit that provides a strong emphasis upon the relationship between force and motion. Students learn Newton's three laws, types of forces, how to draw a free-body diagram, and how to solve an Fnet =m•a problem. Includes several labs, 9 Concept Builders, 7 Minds On Physics missions, 6 CalcPad problem sets, and 5 Physics Interactive simulations.

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes
 
 

Free Fall and Projectiles

A 12-day unit that develops a conceptual and mathematical model of free fall and projectile motion without any algebraic manipulations of equations. Students create and use data tables, vector diagrams, and graphical displays to answer questions and perform lab challenges. Includes several labs, 4 Concept Builders, 3 Minds On Physics missions, 2 CalcPad problem sets, 2 Physics Interactive simulations, and 1 Science Reasoning Center activity, and an open-ended project.

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes



Momentum and Collisions

An 11-day unit that describes the momentum concept and its use in the analysis of explosions and collisions. The impulse-momentum change theorem and the law of conservation of momentum are the two big ideas presented in the unit.  Includes several labs, 1 Science Reasoning Center activity, 6 Concept Builders, 5 Minds On Physics missions, 2 CalcPad problem sets, and 4 Physics Interactive simulations with their accompanying Concept Checkers.

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes
 
 

Work and Energy

An 11-day unit that presents a model of work and energy that proves useful for analyzing and understanding physical situations. Includes several labs, 9 Concept Builders, 4 Minds On Physics missions, 4 CalcPad problem sets, 2 Physics Interactive simulations, and a Concept Checker.

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes
 
 

Circular and Satellite Motion

Coming Soon. This is our current project (July, 2024)

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes (link coming soon)
 
 

Static Electricity

A 15-day unit in which students learn how objects become charged and the effect of that charges on other objects in the surrounding region. Charge interactions, the behavior of conductors and insulators, polarization, methods of charging, Coulomb's Law, and the electric field concept form the foundation of the unit. Includes several labs, 8 Concept Builders, 9 Minds On Physics missions, 1 CalcPad problem set, 5 Physics Interactive simulations, and 3 accompanying Concept Checkers. There is no emphasis upon the substitution of values into the Coulomb's law equation.

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes
 
 

Electric Circuits

A 15-day unit that explores what causes charge to flow in circuits and what affects the rate at which it flows. There is an emphasis on series and parallel circuit concepts and mathematics. Includes several labs, 9 Concept Builders, 9 Minds On Physics missions, 3 CalcPad problem sets, 5 Physics Interactive simulations with accompanying Concept Checkers, and 1 Science Reasoning Activity.

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes
 
 

Vibrations, Waves and Sound

A 20-day unit that begins with the idea of vibrating object, transitions to a discussion of wave motion and all that it entails, and then applies wave principles to an understanding of sound waves and music. Includes several labs, 9 Concept Builders, 8 Minds On Physics missions, 5 CalcPad problem sets, 6 Physics Interactive simulations, 4 accompanying Concept Checkers, and 2 Science Reasoning activities. The unit ends with students making and tuning a pan flute.

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes
 
 

Light Waves and Color

An 11-day unit that investigates the dual nature of light, the wavelike behaviors of light, the electromagnetic and visible light spectrum, and color perception. Includes several labs, 4 Concept Builders, 5 Minds On Physics missions, 6 Physics Interactive simulations, 3 accompanying Concept Checkers, and 3 Science Reasoning activities.

Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes
 
 

Ray Optics

A 20-day unit that explores both reflection and refraction topics. Basic reflection and image formation principles are introduced and applied to plane mirrors, concave mirrors, and convex mirrors in the first half of the unit. The second half of the unit investigates the refraction of light at a boundary between two transparent materials, total internal reflection, and the refraction of light and formation of images by converging and diverging lenses. Includes several labs, 6 Concept Builders, 12 Minds On Physics missions, 1 CalcPad problem set, 6 Physics Interactive simulations with accompanying Concept Checkers, and 1 Science Reasoning Center activity.


Also View: Activities organized by Learning Outcomes
 

 






Physics teachers may find the following for-sale tools as useful supplements to our Lesson Plan and Pacing Guide section:

 

  1. Task Tracker Subscription (annual purchase)
    A subscription allows teachers to set up classes, add students, customize online assignments, view student progress/scores, and export student scores. Task Tracker accounts allow your students to begin assignments in class or at school and to finish them at home. View our Seat and Cost Calculator for pricing details.
     
  2. The Solutions Guide
    We publish a free curriculum with >200 ready-to-use Think Sheets for developing physics concepts. The Solutions Guide is a download containing the source documents, PDFs of source documents, and answers/solutions in MS Word and PDF format. An expanded license agreement is included with the purchase. (Cost: $25 download)
     
  3. Teacher Presentation Pack
    This is a large collection of downloadable content packed with nearly 190 Microsoft PowerPoint slide decks, the corresponding Lesson Notes (as PDF and fully-modifiable MS Word format), about 170 animations (in .gif, .png, and .mp4 file formats), a countless number of ready-to-use images (including the original source documents that would allow for easy modification of those images), and a license that allows teachers to modify and use all the content with their classes on password-protected sites (such as course management systems).  (Cost: $40 download)
     
  4. Question Bank
    We distribute a Question Bank that includes more than 9300 questions neatly organized according to topic. The Question Bank is the perfect tool for busy teachers or new teachers. Even if you don't use the website with your classes, the Question Bank will assist you in quickly putting together quizzes, tests and other documents with high-quality questions that target student's conceptions of physics principles. And if you do use The Physics Classroom website, the Question Bank is the perfect complement to the materials found at the website. (Cost: $25 download)