• AP Physics 2

    AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based is a second-year physics course designed for high school students in grade 12 who have completed AP Physics 1.  The course covers topics and concepts typically included in the second semester of an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course.  Topics include  fluid statics & fluid dynamics, thermal physics & thermodynamics, electricity & magnetism (including RC circuits and electromagnetic induction), light & optics, and modern (quantum, atomic & nuclear) physics.  The course focuses on high-level understanding of concepts, experimental design and critical thinking, and prepares students for the AP Physics 2 exam in May.

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  • 1

    Summer Assignment
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    Summer Assignment

    The goals of the summer assignment are:

    1. To expose you to AP questions in topics that we covered in Physics 1
    2. To get you started thinking about problem solving and designing experiments.
    3. To weed out anyone who's not serious about putting effort into the class.

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    Data and other useful reference materials.

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    Notes pp. 13–69

    Laboratory safety, style guides and rubrics for laboratory notebooks and formal reports, laboratory equipment, performing experiments.

    The purpose of this chapter is to teach skills necessary for designing and carrying out laboratory experiments, recording data, and writing summaries of the experiment in different formats.

    • Designing & Performing Experiments discusses strategies for coming up with your own experiments and carrying them out.
    • Accuracy & PrecisionUncertainty & Error Analysis, and Recording and Analyzing Data discuss techniques for working with the measurements taken during laboratory experiments.
    • Keeping a Laboratory Notebook and Formal Laboratory Reports discuss ways in which you might communicate (write up) your laboratory experiments.

    Calculating uncertainty (instead of relying on significant figures) is a new and challenging skill that will be used in lab write-ups throughout the year.

    Skills learned & applied in this topic:

    • Designing laboratory experiments
    • Error analysis (calculation & propagation of uncertainty)
    • Keeping a laboratory notebook.
    • Formats for writing up lab experiments
  • 5

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    Notes pp. 70–136

    The purpose of this chapter is to familiarize you with mathematical concepts and skills that will be needed in physics.

    • Standard Assumptions in Physics discusses what you can and cannot assume to be true in order to be able to solve the problems you will encounter in this class.
    • Assigning & Substituting Variables discusses how to determine which quantity and which variable apply to a number given in a problem based on the units, and how to choose which formula applies to a problem.
    • The Metric System and Scientific Notation briefly review skills that you are expected to remember from your middle school math and science classes.
    • Trigonometry, Vectors, Vectors vs. Scalars in Physics, and Vector Multiplication discuss important mathematical concepts that are widely used in physics, but may be unfamiliar to you.

    Depending on your math background, some of the topics, such as trigonometry and vectors, may be unfamiliar.  These topics will be taught, but in a cursory manner.

    Skills learned & applied in this chapter:

    • Estimating uncertainty in measurements
    • Propagating uncertainty through calculations
    • Identifying quantities in word problems and assigning them to variables
    • Choosing a formula based on the quantities represented in a problem
    • Using trigonometry to calculate the lengths of sides and angles of triangles
    • Representing quantities as vectors
    • Adding and subtracting vectors
    • Multiplying vectors using the dot product and cross product
  • 6

    Pressure & Fluid Mechanics
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    Pressure & Fluid Mechanics

    Coletta: Physics Fundamentals Ch. 11: Fluids (pp. 257–294)

    Notes pp. 137–177

    Fluid mechanics is the study of behaviors that are specific to fluids (liquids and gases).

    • Pressure is the property that is central to the topic of fluid mechanics.
    • Hydrostatics and Buoyancy describe and give equations for the effects of gravity on pressure.
    • Gas Laws describes behaviors and equations involving temperature, pressure and volume, as related to gases.
    • Fluid Motion & Bernoulli’s Law describes the effects of fluid motion on pressure.

    This chapter focuses on real-world applications of fluids and pressure, including more demonstrations than most other topics.  One of the challenges in this chapter is relating the equations to the behaviors seen in the demonstrations.

    Skills learned & applied in this chapter:

    • Before & after problems.
  • This section7

    Thermal Physics & Thermodynamics
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    Thermal Physics & Thermodynamics

    Coletta:  Physics Fundamentals Ch. 13: Heat (pp. 320–337) & 

    Ch. 14: Thermodynamics (pp. 338–365)

    Notes pp. 179–260

    This chapter is about heat as a form of energy and the ways in which heat affects objects, including how it is stored and how it is transferred from one object to another.

    • Heat & Temperature describes the concept of heat as a form of energy and how heat energy is different from temperature.
    • Heat Transfer, Energy Conversion and Efficiency describe how to calculate the rate of the transfer of heat energy from one object to another.
    • Specific Heat Capacity & Calorimetry describes different substances' and objects' abilities to store heat energy.  Phase Changes & Heating Curves addresses the additional calculations that apply when a substance goes through a phase change (such as melting or boiling).
    • Thermal Expansion describes the calculation of the change in size of an object caused by heating or cooling.

    New challenges specific to this chapter include looking up and working with constants that are different for different substances.

    Skills learned & applied in this chapter:

    • Working with material-specific constants from a table.
    • Working with more than one instance of the same quantity in a problem.
    • Combining equations and graphs.
    •  Heat & Temperature File 577.6KB PDF document
    •  Heat Transfer File 429.1KB PDF document
    •  Energy Conversion File 516.5KB PDF document
    •  Thermal Expansion File 657.2KB PDF document
    •  Thermodynamics File 420.4KB PDF document
    •  Pressure-Volume Diagrams File 662.7KB PDF document
    •  Heat Engines File 473.9KB PDF document
    •  Efficiency File 474.9KB PDF document
  • 8

    Electric Force, Field & Potential
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    Electric Force, Field & Potential

    Coletta: Physics Fundamentals Ch. 17: The Electric Field (pp. 427–456), Ch. 18: Electric Potential (pp. 457–492)

    Notes pp. 261–293

    This chapter discusses electricity and magnetism, how they behave, and how they relate to each other.

    • Electric Change, Coulomb’s Law, and Electric Fields describe the behavior of individual charged particles and how to calculate the effects of these particles on each other.
    • Electric Current & Ohm’s Law describes equations and calculations involving the flow of charged particles (electric current).

    One of the new challenges encountered in this chapter is interpreting and simplifying circuit diagrams, in which different equations may apply to different parts of the circuit.

    Skills learned & applied in this chapter:

    • Working with material-specific constants from a table.
    •  Electric Charge File 582.4KB PDF document
    •  Coulomb's Law File 477.8KB PDF document
    •  Electric Fields File 553.8KB PDF document
    •  Electric Field Vectors File 473.1KB PDF document
    •  Equipotential Lines & Maps File 733.5KB PDF document
  • 9

    Electric Circuits
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    Electric Circuits

    Coletta: Physics Fundamentals Ch. 19: Electric Current (pp. 493–517) & Ch. 20: Direct Current Circuits (pp. 518–549)

    Notes pp. 294–368

    This chapter discusses electric circuits, how they behave, and how they relate to each other.

    • Electric Current & Ohm’s Law describes equations and calculations involving the flow of charged particles (electric current).
    • Electrical Components, EMF & Internal Resistance of a Battery, Circuits, Series Circuits, Parallel Circuits, Mixed Series & Parallel Circuits, and Measuring Voltage, Current & Resistance describe the behavior of electrical components in a circuit and how to calculate quantities relating to the individual components and the entire circuit, based on the way the components are arranged.

    Skills learned & applied in this chapter:

    • Interpreting and simplifying circuit diagrams, in which different equations may apply to different parts of the circuit.

    •  Electrical Components File 422.9KB PDF document
    •  Circuits File 398KB PDF document
    •  Kirchhoff's Rules File 523.9KB PDF document
    •  Capacitance File 578.9KB PDF document
  • 10

    Magnetism & Electromagnetism
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    Magnetism & Electromagnetism

    Coletta: Physics Fundamentals Ch. 21: Magnetism (pp. 550–587) & Ch. 22: Electromagnetic Induction and AC Circuits (pp. 588–627)

    Notes pp. 369–398

    This chapter discusses electricity and magnetism, how they behave, and how they relate to each other.

    • Magnetism describes properties of magnets and what causes objects to be magnetic.

    • Electricity & Magnetism describes how electricity and magnetism affect each other.

    Skills learned & applied in this chapter:

    • Combining vector equations for electric fields with vector equations for magnetic fields.

    •  Magnetism File 579.8KB PDF document
    •  Electromagnetism File 731.2KB PDF document
  • 11

    Light & Optics
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    Light & Optics

    Coletta: Physics Fundamentals Ch. 23: Light (pp. 628–661), 

    Ch. 24: Geometrical Optics (pp. 662–697), 

    Ch. 25: The Eye and Optical Instruments (pp. 698–730) &

    Ch. 26: Wave Optics (pp. 731–764)

    Notes pp. 399–481

    This chapter discusses the behavior and our perception of light.

    • Electromagnetic Waves discusses properties and equations that are specific to electromagnetic waves (including light).
    • Color discusses properties of visible light and how we perceive it.
    • Reflection, Refraction, Polarization, and Diffraction discuss specific properties of light, and the equations that relate these properties.
    • Mirrors and Lenses discuss what happens when the direction of a ray of light is changed by a mirror or a lens.

    One of the new skills learned in this chapter is visualizing and drawing representations of how light is affected as it is reflected off a mirror or refracted by a lens.   This can be challenging because the behavior of the light rays and the size and location of the image changes depending on the location of the object relative to the focal point of the mirror or lens.  Another challenge is in drawing precise, to-scale ray tracing drawings such that you can use the drawings to accurately determine properties of the image, or of the mirror or lens.

    Skills learned & applied in this chapter:

    • Drawing images from mirrors and through lenses.
  • 12

    Modern Physics
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    Modern Physics

    Notes pp. 317-362

    This chapter discusses the particles that atoms and other matter are made of, how those particles interact, and the process by which radioactive decay can change the composition of a substance from one element into another.

    • The Bohr Model of the Hydrogen Atom describes the first attempts to use quantum mechanics to describe the behavior of the electrons in an atom.  The Quantum Mechanical Model of the Atom describes the evolution of atomic theory from the Bohr model to the present day.
    • Fundamental Forces describes the four natural forces that affect everything in the universe.  The strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force are particularly relevant to this chapter.
    • The Standard Model and Particle Interactions describe properties of and interactions between the particles that all matter is made of.
    • Radioactive Decay, Nuclear Equations, Mass Defect & Binding Energy, Half-Life, and Nuclear Fission & Fusion describe and give equations for the nuclear changes that radioactive elements undergo.

    One of the challenging aspects of this chapter is that it describes process that happen on a scale that is much too small to observe directly.  Another challenge is the fact that the Standard Model continues to evolve.  Many of the connections between concepts that make other topics easier to understand have yet to be made in the realm of atomic & particle physics.

    •  Fundamental Forces File 129.9KB RTF document
    •  The Standard Model File 2.5MB RTF document
    •  Radioactive Decay File 870.7KB RTF document
    •  Nuclear Equations File 225.8KB RTF document
    •  Half-Life File 365.3KB RTF document
    •  Half-Life worksheet File 27.3KB PDF document
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    Special Relativity
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    Special Relativity

    Notes pp. 199-221

    This chapter describes changes to the properties of objects when they are moving at speeds near the speed of light.

    • Relative Motion and Relative Velocities describes relationships between objects that are moving with different velocities.
    • The Speed of Light describes some familiar assumptions we have about our universe that do not apply at speeds near the speed of light.
    • Length Contraction & Time Dilation and the Energy-Momentum Relation describe calculations involving changes in the length, time, mass, and momentum of objects as their speeds approach the speed of light.

    New challenges in this chapter involve determining and understanding the changing relationships between two objects, both of which are moving in different directions and at different speeds.

    •  Relative Motion File 7.1MB RTF document
    •  Relative Velocities File 803.3KB RTF document
    •  The Speed of Light File 337.9KB RTF document
    •  Energy-Momentum Relation File 231.2KB RTF document