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IB Physics SL (One Year) (2018-2019)



  • An introduction to the mathematical modeling of simple motion, including the concepts of average speed and Cartesian coordinates for recording direction
  • Homework - Read (and solve all problems in) Chapter 1 of Perrone's book


  • Practice vector arithmetic HERE
  • Explore the geometric representation of a vector HERE and HERE
    • ​Install                                                                   on your computer, first.


  • Define acceleration.
  • Homework - Read Chapter 2 up to page 32


  • Graph the motion of a toy car; draw and interpret various position and velocity graphs; data file
  • Homework - in your Oxford IB Physics book, read pages 18-21 and 27-36 (include the Worked Examples)


  • Quiz
  • Analyze accelerated motion data in a spreadsheet
  • Homework - read pp. 36-38 in the Oxford book (and pp.32-33 in my book)


  • Derive the kinematic equations
  • Graph the accelerated motion in the spreadsheet above; interpret the trendlines
  • Practice interpreting trendlines and using the extracted (velocity and acceleration) information to interpolate and extrapolate (file 1, file 2)
  • Homework - complete Interpolations and Extrapolations; also complete Kinematics Problems (partial key)


  • Model the falling of an object; find the rate of acceleration of gravity on Earth
  • Homework - read Section 1.2 in your Oxford book; install Logger Pro













  • Complete free fall data collection and graph the data
  • Homework - type up the Exploration section of the lab


  • Linearize data (spreadsheet)
  • Complete the free fall lab
  • Homework - add the max and min gradients to the graph; the finished lab is due Friday the 14th at midnight; submit it using


  • Analyze the motion of a tossed ball using a motion detector and Logger Pro (instructions)
  • Homework - 


  • test over material to date; submit lab using
  • Homework - read pp. 39-43 in the Oxford book and sections 3.2.1, 3.2.3, 3.3.4 and 4.5 (no practice problems) in my book (Chps 3-4) (read for comprehension)


  • Discuss relative motion and its relevance to projectile motion
  • Model projectile motion



  • Analyze the motion of an Angry Bird; is it on Earth?
  • Analyze projectile motion graphs
  • Study (1D) free fall in more detail here
  • Homework - complete the packet of projectile "nTIPERs"


  • quiz over free fall and projectile motion
  • Homework - complete the Deduction/Induction handout


  • The Laws of Nature (PowerPoint)
  • Homework - read through page 20 in the new booklet (and do the math!)


  • Scientific Laws and What They Say: read me
  • Review Newton's 2nd Law
  • Discover the various types of forces that operate in our world (follow this guide and answer questions in your class notebook)
  • Homework - complete the handout in which you explain something about graphs, and read the short essay, Scientific Laws and What They Say


  • Laboratory investigation of Newton's Second Law (using Method 2)
  • Homework - read and take notes on pp. 44-51 in the Oxford book, and read pp. 21-30 in my book (do the included practice problems)


  • complete data analysis for the Second Law lab
  • discuss and use Newton's Law of Gravity
  • Homework - read pp. 58-60 in the Oxford book (in preparation for indoor skydiving); read pp. 31-45 in my book; complete the Second Law lab (analysis and conclusion only)


  • discuss the calculation of gravity, the difference between mass and weight, and what it means to be weightless
  • draw and label a free-body diagram
  • Homework - read over the handouts and try the included problems; also, please update your lab data (as we discussed in class) and turn in the lab, using, by Friday's class


  • draw free-body diagrams and calculate the acceleration of various objects
  • Homework - complete pp. 45-56 in my book (read as needed, solve all problems)


  • model the sliding of a box down a hill
  • Homework - read pp. 54-57 in the Oxford book and do p.61 in my book


  • model hanging signs (an example of static equilibrium); review for the quiz


  • quiz on drawing free-body diagrams, quantifying the forces, and working out the object's acceleration
  • Homework - complete the handout; read pp.63-64 in my book


  • discuss Newton's Third Law
  • Homework - read pp.62-64 in the Oxford book


  • define and discuss work and energy and their relationship to one another
  • Homework [Quiz Grade] - Video yourself asking two individuals (not juniors or seniors in high school) what it means to be weightless and record their responses. Then, in 1 min 30 sec or less, clearly explain what it means to be weightless. Also specifically address any misconceptions offered by the interviewees. Don't say too little; show what you know. Plan what you are going to say before you say it! You do not need to appear in the video throughout, but I should see you at least some and hear you for the entire post-interview section. Props, diagrams and photos can be used, if desired. Upload this video to this shared Google folder by the end of Sunday, 11/4.


  • define kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy; show how total work done on an object equals its change in KE; identify the area under a Force-Position graph as work
  • Homework - complete the handout (with F-d graphs and W=∆KE) and read the blue packet (okay? the first section, the section on KE, and then skim the rest)


  • test


  • analyse motion using energy conservation, with and without friction
  • potential energy handout
  • Homework - complete this Work-Energy packet (answer key), and read the rest of the Energy chapter in your Oxford book


  • model, then measure, the coefficient of kinetic friction for an object sliding down a wooden board; perform a complete uncertainty analysis
  • Homework - complete the lab: calculate the coefficient with its proper uncertainty


  • practice propagation of uncertainties
  • practice solving word problems using the concepts of work and energy

​We will have a quiz on Wednesday after Thanksgiving break. The quiz will cover work, energy and propagation of uncertainties.


Coming Up: A few days after returning from Thanksgiving break, I will assign "the mousetrap car project", in which you will need to design and build a small car powered by a single mousetrap. The project also includes a video recording of you explaining the physics behind the car's operation. Stay tuned! They're pretty fun to build and race! [project details] - video help




























  • discuss elastic potential energy and energy conversions in a swinging pendulum
  • elastic potential energy problems
  • energy questions (hand in your typed-up responses on Friday, for a grade)
  • read a short overview of gravitational and elastic PE here, if you need to
  • Homework - complete the IB exam problems passed out in a previous class along with the elastic PE packet


  • quiz on work, energy and propagation of uncertainties
  • the Mousetrap Car Project is to be completed at home and turned in on Dec 12 (the car should be brought to class and the video submitted here)
  • Homework - type up answers to the 3 energy questions (maybe a half-page, double-spaced per question, but it doesn't have to be exactly a half-page; I'm really looking for effort and a real attempt to think through these questions)


  • define and calculate power
  • define momentum and impulse; calculate impulse from a force-time graph (practice)
  • Homework - complete the force-time graph practice (key); you should probably start working on your mousetrap-car project


  • use the principle of momentum conservation to model two-body collisions and explosions
  • Homework - complete the momentum practice problems (answer key); read pp. 73-79 in your Oxford book


  • Conservation of Momentum lab (due 12/14 through


  • quiz over impulse and momentum (review the momentum practice problems and force-time graph problems)
  • Homework - read pp. 80-86 in your Oxford book


  • test mousetrap cars (submit the video here by class time)
  • discussion of internal (thermal) energy (PowerPoint)


  • review for the midterm
  • turn in the conservation of momentum lab online
  • Homework - complete the review in your textbook, pp.87-90 (omit 13.a) and pp.24-26 (7,8,9,13,14,15) (answer key for pp.87-90)


  • midterm
Lab Report Format

finding the minimum and maximum gradients

with Logger Pro

Practice matching motion to graphs with this interactive.

help with reading projectile motion graphs
iFLY indoor skydiving

Unit One-Page Overviews

1.1 Measurements in physics

1.2 Uncertainties and errors

1.3 Vectors and scalars

2.1 Motion

2.2 Forces

2.3 Work, Energy, and Power

2.4 Momentum

Putting the I in IB!


EF Tours - Japan


Stay tuned for news of a potential trip for Summer 2020.

Energy and Momentum

January 8 3.1 Thermal Concepts
10 3.2 Modelling a gas
14 3.2
16 6.1 Circular Motion
18 6.1
23 Quiz
25 4.1 Oscillations
29 4.1 IA Exploration rough draft due
31 4.2 Travelling waves
February 4 4.3 Wave characteristics
6 4.4 Wave behavior
8 4.5 Standing waves
12 Quiz; IA Exploration final draft due
14 IA
19 IA
21 IA
25 5.1 Electric Fields
27 5.2 Heating effect of electric current
March 1 5.2 IA Analysis rough draft due
5 5.2
7 5.3 Electric cells
11 5.4 Magnetic effects of electric currents
13 5.4
25 review E&M
27 quiz
29 IA final paper due; Group 4 Field Trip

Download a copy of the Spring Semester calendar.


Find video notes here.


1/8 - complete worksheet; read Unit 3.2

1/10 - watch video 1 and 2; worksheet


1/14 - watch video; read pp. 687-692 on IA; answer key for book problems

1/16 - finish Centripetal Force lab; complete worksheet on circular motion


1/18 - review for quiz; choose IA topic; do 6 IB Questions on handout; answer key for centripetal force worksheet


1/25 - read Unit 4.1; write IA Exploration (must include all Exploration components)


                    1/29 - PhET link; complete Oscillation packet (pp. 1-9)

1/31 - do waves handout, read Units 4.2 and 4.3; Oscillation packet key


2/4 - complete 3 worksheets (on intensity, superposition and chapter review); watch video on polarization and Malus's Law


2/6 - read Unit 4.4; watch videos on reflection and on Snell's Law

2/8 - standing waves sim; complete IA Exploration; optional: do pp.164-166 and #12 on p.168 in your book



2/14 - test corrections, due by 2/21



2/25 - E-Field Activity; watch this video; read pp. 169-179

2/27 - read Unit 5.1, especially pp. 179-186; complete IA Analysis; finish packet

                       3/1 - read pages 10-23 in the yellow booklet



3/7 - watch last 2 videos here; take notes; bring posterboard and art supplies to class on 3/11 if you want to, for the Circuits Project, but you can also do this part at home; the main focus of class is to construct the circuits for the Project


                        3/11 - do pp. 24-31 in yellow booklet; review IA feedback; bring batteries to class

3/13 - the Circuits Project due date has been changed to 3/27, the same day as the quiz

Unit One-Page Overviews

3.1 Thermal Concepts

3.2 Modelling a gas

6.1 Circular Motion

4.1 Oscillations

4.2 Travelling Waves

4.3 Wave Characteristics

5.1 Electric Fields

Getting ready for the 3/27 quiz/test:

- review key for Circuits SL packet

- do short Magnetism SL packet

- review Unit 5.4

- do pp. 240-4 #1-10,17,19 in your textbook


* you will have one class day (3/25) to review and ask questions; you'd benefit from doing some of this review work prior to that class, but nothing is due until 3/27 

Here is a packet of information on uncertainty analysis, including how to calculate the uncertainty for a small group of numbers for which you find the average. Check out pages 4 and 5, in particular.
Magnetism SL packet KEY: 1.B, 2.A, 3.B, 4.D, 5.A, 6.B, 7. A
April 2 7.1 Discrete energy and radioactivity
4 7.1
8 7.2 Nuclear reactions
10 7.3 The structure of matter
12 Do Units 8.1 and 8.2 at home?
16 TIBS College Fair
18 Option
24 Option
26 Option
30 Option
May 2 Option
6 Option; IB Testing begins
8 Option
10 Option
17 Physics SL Paper 1 & 2
20 Physics SL Paper 3

Regarding the IA:

  • Don't include a cover page
  • Don't include your name; instead, include your candidate code (which you should already have, but which I can give to you if you need it)
Radiation and Radioactivity powerpoint





4/4 - watch this video on half-life and complete your packet of IB problems (atomic spectra, radioactivity, and half-life)

4/8 - watch this video on fusion and fission and try to work through the related IB problems on the handout

4/10 - make sure you have proper citations [use this resource] in your IA! get updated IA's to me by Sunday; I'll upload them on Monday; also, I recommend reading or skimming Unit 7.3 in your book


4/12 - we've completed Unit 7; I recommend that you review this unit in your book; you would do well to complete the review Questions on pages 304-306, but these are not for a grade (at least right now)

*you should check out this website to learn more about particle physics and the place -- CERN -- where most of the recent discoveries have occurred

-answers to recent problem sets


4/18 - we won't cover Unit 8 from your book; you need to watch the five corresponding videos here; you should watch critically, take notes, and solve the problems in the videos; for the astrophysics packet, read and do the problems 1a,1b,2a,3a,6,7, then read some more, then do 2b,2c

Learn more astrophysics on your own! Read this book!





4/24 - dynamic equilibrium in a star; capturing light with a CCD; answer key for astrophysics packet; complete the handout (6 questions on one side and 3 on the other) and the big colored packet at home


*We will meet at UT, outside the RLM [physics/astronomy] building, on Wed May 1st at 8:30 pm for a "Star Viewing Party". This is, of course, optional. Here is the official website. Hope you'll join us! (Feel free to bring a parent along.) I don't know how late we'll stay. The event ends at 10:30 but we'll probably leave earlier.
















4/30 - watch these 2 videos, then read this webpage; discuss Cepheid variables ("standard candles") || video || website


create a display that explains how it is that we determine the chemical composition of stars (i.e. that explains stellar spectra and relates them to chemical composition; include a definition of the Balmer series) and explains 2 ways that we measure the distance to stars


5/2 - quiz in class; work through Paper 1 (from 2016) that I previously handed out to you (due Monday)


5/6 - Stellar Evolution and More Stellar Evolution; at home, finish notes on Stellar Evolution; you should be taking notes on the first webpage linked here and pp. 655-659 in your book; be sure to explore the Star in a Box, too

Cancelled by UT.

5/8 - annotated copy of the Physics Data Booklet; homework - complete the new astrophysics packet of IB problems (omit #3 if you are running out of time)


5/10 - PowerPoint on cosmology; homework - finish the astrophysics packet if you haven't already


5/14 and 5/16 - review for IB Physics exams

-answer key for Papers 2 and 3 (2016)


5/17 (Friday) 12 pm - IB Physics SL Paper 1 and 2

testing begins at 1:15


5/20 (Monday) 8 am - IB Physics SL Paper 3

-bring food and let's celebrate being done!


5/24 - quiz over stellar evolution and cosmology


The final exam (if you're not exempt) is Friday, May 31.