Principles of Physics I Syllabus for 2021-2022
Return to Syllabus List

Instructor Information

Office Hours

9:30-10:20 AM Mon-Thurs, plus 3:00-3:50 PM Tuesdays.

Course Information

COVID-19 Protocols

Recording Policy

Disability Statement

If you have a disability (learning, mental, physical) that affects your ability to participate effectively and have access to any program or service at Amarillo College please contact Disability Services at (806) 345-5639 . Our offices are located in the Student Service Center office 112. More information may be found at
Disability Services facilitates access to all programs and services according to the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as other federal and state laws.

Amarillo College Web Accessibility Policy Statement

Amarillo College is committed to providing equal access to all programs and services, including all working, learning, and service environments that affect equal access for persons with disabilities. This commitment to provide equal access and opportunity for persons with disabilities is in compliance with federal and state law. Amarillo College also strives to provide Electronic and Information Resources (EIR) that are accessible to all authorized users.

If you find you are unable to access material in an accessible format please contact the Disability Services Office at (806) 345-5639 . This office will work in conjunction with other campus resources to address and accommodate your issue in a timely manner.

Statement for Mental Health and Advocacy & Resource Center:

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. Amarillo College offers services to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. If you or someone you know are suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, you can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus by calling the AC Counseling Center at 806-371-5900. The AC Counseling Center website is . Also, if you are in need of social services (affordable housing, utilities, transportation, food, clothing, childcare, medical/dental/vision, legal), please call the AC Advocacy & Resource Center at 806-371-5439. The AC Advocacy & Resource Center website is

Amarillo College Tutoring for Success Policy:

The Tutoring for Success policy applies to any student whose grade or performance in the course falls below a departmentally determined minimum threshold. In either of those cases, the instructor will direct the student to the appropriate tutoring service, which may be faculty-led, discipline-specific, and/or general. Under this policy, the instructor will follow specific departmental guidelines governing the use, duration, and grade component of the tutoring need.

Administrative Drop Policy

Students who do not attend class on or prior to the census date will be administratively dropped. Effective Fall, 2016

Student Withdrawal Procedures

Students who wish to withdraw from a course must complete all steps indicated on the Academic Withdrawal Request form by the course withdrawal deadline.

NOTE: Students who are attending Texas institutions of higher education, for the first time fall 2007 and later, may not withdraw from more than six courses during their academic career. This withdrawal limitation does not include dual credit or developmental classes (Senate Bill 1231 Rule 4.10.) For more information on Drop and Withdrawal Policies, please visit the Registrar's Office Web site.

Privacy Statement

The Amarillo College Privacy Policy is found at , and applies to all Amarillo College students.  If you have questions about this privacy statement or you believe that your personal information has been released without your consent, send email to .


PHYS-2425-002 Principles of Physics I


Prerequisite: MATH 2413

Course Description

Fundamental principles of physics, using calculus, for science, computer science and engineering majors; the principles and applications of classical mechanics, including harmonic motion and physical systems; emphasis on problem solving.
Basic laboratory experiments supporting theoretical principles presented in lecture involving the principles and applications of classical mechanics, including harmonic motion and physical systems; experimental design, data collection and analysis, and preparation of laboratory reports.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(4 sem hrs; 3 lec, 3 lab)

Class Type

On Campus Course

Syllabus Information


Lecture: Physics for Scientists and Engineers 10th edition, Serway & Jewitt (hardcopy optional, WebAssign includes an ebook copy). 

Lab: Laboratory Manual for PHYS 2425, on Blackboard

Homework: You will need to get a code for, either from the bookstore or directly from the site.  (The codes available from the bookstore work for two semesters, and are a better deal if you expect to take PHYS 2426 here.)  If you are retaking Physics 1 and still have a valid code from 9th Edition, you will need to contact Cengage support to get transferred to 10th edition.


Calculator: You will need a calculator that is not your phone that can handle scientific notation, exponents, and trigonometric functions.

Ruler and Protactor: While there are rulers and protractors in the classroom for student use, you may wish to get your own.

Student Performance

After completing the lecture of this course, students should be able to:

1.      Determine the components of linear motion (displacement, velocity, and acceleration), and especially motion under conditions of constant acceleration

2.      Solve problems involving forces and work.

3.      Apply Newton’s laws to physical problems.

4.      Identify the different types of energy.

5.      Solve problems using principles of conservation of energy.

6.      Define the principles of impulse, momentum, and collisions.

7.      Use principles of impulse and momentum to solve problems.

8.      Determine the location of the center of mass and center of rotation for rigid bodies in motion.

9.      Discuss rotational kinematics and dynamics and the relationship between linear and rotational motion.

10.  Solve problems involving rotational and linear motion

11.  Define equilibrium, including the different types of equilibrium.

12.  Discuss simple harmonic motion and its application to real-world problems.

13.  Describe the components of a wave and relate those components to mechanical vibrations, sound, and decibel level.

   After completing the lab part of the course, students should be able to:

1.      Prepare laboratory reports that clearly communicate experimental information in a logical and scientific manner.

2.      Conduct basic laboratory experiments involving classical mechanics.

3.      Relate physical observations and measurements involving classical mechanics to theoretical principles.

4.      Evaluate the accuracy of physical measurements and the potential source of error in the measurements.

5.      Design fundamental experiments involving principles of classical mechanics.

6.      Identify appropriate sources of information for conducting laboratory experiments involving classical mechanics.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior

The lecture meetings will include class discussion and some activities, so students will not be expected to sit quietly the entire time.  Students will be expected to exercise good judgement regarding when to speak and when to listen, however, both with Dr. Van Domelen and their fellow students.

Students are expected to remain up-to-date on their own grades, and bring any disputes to the instructor in a timely manner.  Other than disputes regarding the final exam itself, all disputes must be brought up prior to taking the final exam.

To avoid disruption and potential embarrassment, please silence all electronic devices.  Outside of quizzes and exams, portable electronics will be allowed.  However, unless they are part of an assistive system (see Disability Services if in doubt), please remove any earpieces or headphones.

You may record (audio or video) lectures for your personal use or to share with other students currently taking this course.  You do not have permission to post them online for wide distribution or to sell them or otherwise profit by the distribution of the lectures.

Academic dishonesty will at a minimum be punished by a score of zero on the relevant task.  This includes cheating on exams, and turning in lab reports for a lab that was not actually attended.  (The online homework is harder to cheat than to just do honestly, but please do not take this as a challenge.)  Additional sanctions at the College level may be applied if the situation merits.

Grading Criteria

Three hour-long exams will together compose 30% of the class grade, while the final exam will count as 20%.  Homework will count for 20% of the grade, Laboratory writeups count for 15%, and Pre-Lab exercises for 5%. Participation in group work during recitation will make up the remaining 10%.

If it will raise your average, the lowest regular exam grade (unless it is a zero given for cheating) will be replaced by the percentage score of the final exam.

The laboratory grade will use the best 9 reports out of 10 assigned.  A bonus of one full lab's worth of points will be given if all 10 reports are completed (or if any absences are excused, at Dr. Van Domelen’s discretion).

Attendance will be taken at the beginning of lecture.  Good attendance will be rewarded with bonus points on the last homework assignment, with 15 points (1.5 full homework assignments' worth) for perfect attendance, one point less for each lecture missed, to a minimum of zero.  If you arrive late, it is your responsibility to make sure you get marked present.

The harshest grading scale that will be applied will be as follows: 89.5% = A, 79.5% = B, 69.5% = C, 59.5% = D.  Dr. Van Domelen reserves the right to adjust the curve to be more forgiving, but will not make it harsher.  The final analysis will consider the grades of all students: a few very high scores will not prevent a relaxing of the curve if most of the class struggled.  The resulting curve will probably be uneven, meaning the numerical ranges of each letter grade will not be the same.


Student attendance in lecture and lab is expected.  Note that the lecture is not just a reading of the textbook, and portions of the tests will be over material not covered in the textbook.

If a student has what Dr. Van Domelen considers to be a reasonable excuse for missing lab, it will not be counted against the "perfect attendance" bonus.

Important note: Students who miss all meetings of the class in the first two weeks will be automatically dropped.


          There will always be lectures during the lecture times.  Lab times subject to change if COVID forces restricted on-campus teaching.  Unless otherwise specified in a week’s entry, the weekly schedule for other matters will be as follows:

          Mondays: WebAssign homework over the week’s new material is available at 10:00 AM.  Lab during lab time, with the previous week’s lab report (if any) due at the beginning of the time.  If there is an exam this week, lab time will be used for recitation instead.  At 11:59 tonight, homework over the previous week’s material is due (exceptions for the first week, last week, and holiday breaks).  Except for Experiment 1, if there’s a lab that week its Pre-Lab is due at the start of lecture that day.

          Wednesdays: Recitation during lab time.  Exams will be on this day during weeks they are scheduled, otherwise there will be group work problems and discussion of the homework that was due this week.

Week 1 (1/18-1/20)
Lecture: Introduction Lecture (units, significant figures, scientific notation).  No lecture planned for Thursday, to be used for catch-up if anyone misses the first day. 
First Lab: Policies and WebAssign setup. 
Second Lab: Not meeting. 

Week 2 (1/24-1/27)
Lecture: All of Chapter 2, start Chapter 3 (Vectors). 
First Lab: Experiment 1 (1-D Motion).  Homework 1 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems. 

Week 3 (1/31-2/3)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 3, all of Chapter 4 (2-D Kinematics). 
First Lab: Experiment 2 (Vector Addition).  Homework 2 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 4 (2/7-2/10)
Lecture: All of Chapter 5 (Laws of Motion), start Chapter 6 (Applications of Newton’s Laws). 
First Lab: Group Problems.  Homework 3 due. 
Second Lab: Exam 1
EXAM 1 on 2/9 (covers Chapters 1-4).

Week 5 (2/14-2/17)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 6, start Chapter 7 (Energy of a System). 
First Lab: Experiment 3 (Newton’s Second Law).  Homework 4 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 6 (2/21-2/24)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 7, all of Chapter 8 (Conservation of Energy), start Chapter 9 (Linear Momentum).  First Lab: Experiment 4 (Work-Energy Theorem).  Homework 5 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 7 (2/28-3/3)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 9, start Chapter 10 (Rotational Motion). 
First Lab: Experiment 5 (Linear Collisions).  Homework 6 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 8 (3/7-3/10): Lecture: Finish Chapter 10, start Chapter 11 (Angular Momentum). 
First Lab: Group Problems.  Homework 7 due. 
Second Lab: Exam 2.
EXAM 2 on 3/9 (Chapters 5-9).


Week 9 (3/21-3/24)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 11, all of start Chapter 12 (Static Equilibrium and Elasticity). 
First Lab: Experiment 6 (Rotational Motion).  Homework 8 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 10 (3/28-3/31)
Lecture: All of Chapter 15 (Oscillatory Motion), start Chapter 16 (Wave Motion and Sound). 
First Lab: Experiment 7 (Moment of Inertia).  Homework 9 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 11 (4/4-4/7)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 16.
First Lab: Experiment 8 (Simple Harmonic Oscillation).  Homework 10 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 12 (4/11-4/14)
Lecture: All of Chapter 17 (Superposition of Waves), start Chapter 18 (Temperature). 
First Lab: Group Problems.  Homework 11 due. 
Second Lab: Exam 3.
EXAM 3 on 4/13 (Chapters 10-12, 15-16)

Week 13 (4/18-4/21)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 18, all of Chapter 19 (Heat). 
First Lab: Experiment 9 (Standing Waves).  Homework 12 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 14 (4/25-4/28)
Lecture: Chapter 20 (Kinetic Theory of Gases).  
First Lab: Experiment 10 (Thermal Expansion).  Homework 13 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 15 (5/2-5/5)
Lecture: Chapter 21 (Heat Engines and the Second Law of Thermodynamics). 
First Lab: Group Problems unless weather cancellation requires a make-up lab.  Homework 14 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems, Final Exam review.

Week 16 (5/9-5/12) FINALS WEEK
No Lecture, no Labs.  Homework 15 due SUNDAY night, May 8, at 11:59PM.
Final Exam (comprehensive, but heavy on chapters 17-21) should be 5:30-7:30PM Wednesday May 11 (assuming the finals schedule’s pattern remains the same as in Fall 2021.)

Additional Information

If you are going to miss class due to weather, illness, or other issues, please notify Dr. Van Domelen by email as soon as possible.  Non-final Exams can be given later in the week (or during another section’s exam time), and lab absences can be excused by the circumstances.

Should COVID levels result in the school returning to a restricted in-person format, further details will be provided based on the school's decisions, including the possibility of online exams.  A course Discord exists and you are encouraged to join it, as it can be useful even if we stay in-person (e.g. if you are quarantined, you can listen to lectures live and participate in group problems).

Syllabus Created on:

12/24/21 1:26 PM

Last Edited on:

01/20/22 8:56 AM