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IB Physics HL - Year 1 (2019-2020)



  • discuss briefly the history of modeling motion
  • differentiate between average and instantaneous speeds and define constant speed
  • determine if a toy car moves with constant speed
  • create a scatter plot of the motion of a toy car and discuss the significance of its slope
  • homework - read to p. 11 in the booklet (Physics: An Introduction); do the 6 math questions on p. 10


  • define distance, displacement, speed, velocity and acceleration
  • "read" position,velocity and acceleration graphs and relate them to one another



  • derive the kinematic (or suvat) equations
  • practice using the kinematic equations
  • homework - solve sample IB test questions on motion graphs


  • test over motion graphs, with general questions about distance, displacement, speed (average and instantaneous), velocity and acceleration
  • homework - install Logger Pro on your laptop (on a school-issued laptop, install it from the Software Center; on all other laptops, use these instructions); read pp. 27-38 in your textbook


  • graph the motion data in this spreadsheet and add trendlines
  • practice interpreting trendlines and using the extracted (velocity and acceleration) information to interpolate and extrapolate (file 1file 2)
  • homework - do test corrections on a separate sheet of paper; also, complete the worksheet from class


  • picture day
  • read what Aristotle and Galileo had to say about falling "bodies"
  • study how objects fall using a "motion detector" - lab instructions
  • homework - finish the lab at home; read (and take notes on) pp. 8-16 in your textbook
  • check your Interpolations and Extrapolations homework against the key


  • use the kinematic equations for modeling freely falling objects - worksheet
  • homework - read about experimental uncertainty (its measurement and propagation in calculations) - handout


  • begin formal lab investigation of free fall acceleration (enter data here)
  • the general Lab Report Format


  • "linearize" the free fall data in Logger Pro; add trend lines
  • the lab report will be due 9/20 (at 11:59 pm) through
  • practice solving motion problems
  • homework - complete the motion problems (answer key)


  • introduce a new way to represent vectors - 3Blue1Brown video
  • model 2D projectile motion
  • homework - read pp. 39-43 in your textbook


  • test over 1D motion (with a focus on the kinematic equations, but including a few graph-related questions) - postponed until 9/24
  • continue modeling of projectiles launched at an angle
  • study this animation of a launched projectile
  • the lab report is due tonight through
  • homework - solve these kinematics problems (answer key); review for the test


  • test over kinematics (no 2D projectiles)


  • complete analysis of projectile motion
  • solve projectile practice problems (key at end of document)
  • homework - complete the worksheet of projectile problems
  • by the end of next week, pay the fee to participate in the IB Physics field trip to iFLY, scheduled for Monday, Oct 21
























  • discuss the independence of a projectile's horizontal and vertical velocity
  • PhET projectile motion simulation (lab instructions)
  • homework - complete the online lab



  • determine the acceleration due to gravity in the Angry Birds game -  video
  • solve IB problems on projectiles
  • homework - review for quiz on projectiles next class; pay for iFLY before Monday


  • quiz over projectile motion
  • discuss the certainty of our knowledge


  • an introduction to epistemology, the study of knowledge
  • distinguishing between deduction and induction - worksheet
  • homework - please review the end of the PowerPoint and read the Scientific Laws document below
  • The Laws of Nature (PowerPoint)
  • TED Talk: "Do we see reality as it is?"
  • Scientific Laws and What They Say

**No school on Monday or Tuesday**


  • investigate various types of forces (online activity)
  • discuss the various types of forces in the universe
  • discuss Newton's First Law; define inertia
  • STUDENTS: before going to iFLY, you or your parent must complete this
  • online waiver!! go ahead and do this asap; reservation #4115004005
  • homework - read all of section 5.1 in your new booklet, Physics: An Introduction, Chapters 5 and 6


  • short review of Newton's 1st Law
  • lab investigation of Newton's 2nd Law - formal lab info
  • homework - you should complete the Exploration portion of the lab this weekend, so that you have less to do between next Tues and Fri


  • field trip to iFLY !! some photos of the trip


  • complete Newton's 2nd Law lab
  • help sheet for adding max and min trend lines to your graph
  • homework - the formal lab is due Friday, Oct 25 Saturday, Oct 26 at 11:59 p.m. on






















  • read and process the information on this webpage
  • handout on "g"
  • calculate the force of gravity and discuss weightlessness
  • homework - read section 5.2, 5.4, 5.5 (do the math), and 5.7 in your booklet, Physics: An Introduction, Chapters 5 and 6; feel free to read 5.6 if you want to


  • discuss apparent weight
  • calculate the force of friction
  • draw free-body diagrams and calculate the acceleration of various objects
  • homework - complete the worksheets from class [key]

10/30 - PSAT Testing


  • practice drawing free-body diagrams, including for hanging signs (in translational equilibrium); calculate all forces and acceleration, if relevant (help sheet)
  • model an Atwood machine and a modified Atwood machine
  • homework - read Unit 2.2 Forces, in your textbook; finish the hanging signs worksheet; the rest of the other packet can be taken as a fun (optional) challenge
  • mini-project - 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 the linked Google folder by the deadline, 11/7.
  • please read your Second Law lab feedback, on turnitin


  • answer key for hanging signs problems
  • model a block sliding down a ramp (simulation) and stacked blocks
  • discuss static friction
  • homework - solve the problems on p. 56 and 61 in your Chapters 5&6 Booklet; upload the mini-project


  • test over forces
  • the mini-project is due here by class time; upload it, don't share it
  • homework - packet of worksheets (nTIPERs); you can skip p.115 for now


  • review the homework (nTIPERs answer key)
  • solve IB test problems on forces
  • homework - finish the packet of IB test problems


  • discuss Newton's 3rd Law of motion
  • homework - read this book excerpt (from The Feynman Lectures on Physics) on energy


  • -no lesson-



  • derive the work-energy theorem
  • practice solving energy problems
  • homework - solve these challenging "Dynamics Problems"; read pp. 61-69 in your textbook (take notes, as needed)
  • assign the mousetrap-powered car project (to be due Dec 16th) - video help

** Thanksgiving Break **



  • (in my absence) continue working through the big, green packet of work-energy problems [do at least 15 problems; check against the key] - these worked-out sample problems should help
  • carefully read and think through this handout on work and energy
  • return to this handout (with a block on a hill); it has been expanded; study it and try to complete it
  • homework - try to complete the block-on-a-hill handout, which is now 3 pages


  • review homework
  • discuss Hooke's Law (Hooke's original paper, from 1678, is an interesting, rather easy, read; I've annotated it; read it!)
  • define and calculate elastic potential energy (handout)
  • homework - check your homework against the answer keys (calculating work, mostly on hills, #4-8 key, and the dynamics problems key); please do look over the Hooke's Law paper
  • the mousetrap-powered cars are to be designed and built at home; there are plenty of internet resources, including this great video; here is the overview; you can work with one partner, creating a single car and video, if you'd like; it's due on 12/16


  • solve additional work-energy problems - nTIPERs key
  • homework - complete two worksheets (one and two); maybe acquire materials for mousetrap car


  • calculate change in kinetic energy (and work) from a force-vs-position graph
  • solve a problem using elastic potential energy; briefly discuss power
  • review for the work-energy quiz - IB problems key
  • homework - watch this power and efficiency video and complete the IB problems


  • quiz on work and energy
  • the mousetrap-powered car project is due next class, on Monday the 16th


  • test our mousetrap-powered cars [turn in your video here]
  • work on the midterm review


  • review for the midterm


  • midterm exam, covering the entire semester

** Winter Break **



  • define momentum, discuss its conservation, and model the transfer of momentum in a 2-body collision
  • get help by watching this video
  • homework - complete pages 3-4 of 4-page handout on momentum


  • define impulse and discuss the impulse-momentum theorem
  • homework - in the packet of IB momentum problems, complete problems 1-15, omitting 6 and 11; also read pp. 73-82 in your textbook


  • review homework
  • obtain impulse from a force-time graph; practice problems from a book
  • review elastic collisions
  • homework - complete practice problems (answer key)


  • momentum conservation lab - due through turnitin on Friday 1/24 Saturday 1/25 at midnight
  • the general Lab Report Format - however, this report does not require the following sections: Background, Graph, Extension; it may be unclear, but I do want Strengths and Weaknesses and Areas for Improvement
  • reminder: you may share raw data but not any calculations or processed data
  • all written parts of the lab should be in your own words


  • model a ballistic pendulum
  • calculate both final velocities in an elastic collision
  • practice uncertainty calculations
  • homework - finish the two AP problems on momentum


  • test over impulse and momentum
  • homework - the lab report is due Saturday night (at 11:59 pm) through


  • begin our study of thermodynamics, with a focus on the relationship between temperature and kinetic energy; methods of heat transfer; and specific heat capacity - PowerPoint


  • discuss latent heat (worksheet); calculate the equilibrium temperature achieved by two objects in contact
  • define pressure and begin an exploration of the ideal gas law (packet)
  • homework - complete the ideal gas law packet














  • discuss the nature of an ideal gas, and how real gasses differ
  • solve IB practice problems re: thermodynamics
  • handout - read me before doing the homework!
  • homework - read these essays on entropy in preparation for a round table discussion; come prepared for the discussion with questions and/or comments; the packet of IB problems is due Thursday (2/6)


  • discussion of entropy -- if you want to read more about time, check out The Order of Time, by Carlo Rovelli
  • answer key for thermodynamics packet


  • test over thermodynamics and ideal gasses

​Are you ready to educate and entertain some 5th graders? Feb 12 is the date!



  • introduction to circular motion
  • centripetal vs centrifugal force - Vsauce video


  • most of the class will be visiting Grandview Hills Elementary School


  • discuss centripetal acceleration
  • analyze the motion of an object going through a vertical loop


  • Group 4 Project, all day


  • analyze circular motion in other contexts, including a banked track
  • model satellite motion - packet
  • homework - complete the satellite motion packet and the IB questions (omit 6 f,g,h) on circular motion by 2/27; there will be a homework help session during PIT on Wed, 2/26

​You need to start thinking about a Research Question for your physics IA. Spend some time thinking, and researching online, and reading the back pages of your textbook (pp. 687-692), and come to me to visit about some of your ideas. I'll help you choose a good Question. You want to have a Question by the end of February.



  • ACT Testing
  • class time to work on "homework"; general review for test
  • answer key for satellite packet
  • discussion of Kepler's Laws


  • test over circular motion and gravity

​Submit your IA topic here by Sunday, March 1.



  • begin the study of oscillatory motion, and Hooke's Law, with this online lab
  • Phet simulation - Masses and Springs
  • -- we first looked at Hooke's Law back on 12/4; we're taking another look --
  • homework - explore this simulation, paying careful attention to the graphs; draw acceleration, kinetic energy and potential energy graphs on the graph sheet from class; complete the Hooke's law problems (both pages) on the handout; if you didn't finish reading through the online lab, do so


  • SAT testing


  • find the mass of an astronaut in space, and examine the motion of a pendulum - worksheets
  • homework - complete the worksheets, then also do this one, which is new


















  • pendulum lab
  • begin packet of IB problems
  • homework - complete packet of IB problems
  • answer key for big packet of IB problems
  • answer key for previous homework (with focus on energy)


  • quiz over SHM
  • the pendulum lab is due March 29th April 5th at 11:59 PM, through



*Class, you should have received an email from me on 3/25. Be sure to read it.

Lab Report Format

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

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

Parabolas in the NFL: the physics of a football punt
projectile motion

Science does not aim at establishing immutable truths and eternal dogmas; its aim is to approach the truth by successive approximations, without claiming that at any stage final and complete accuracy has been achieved. - Bertrand Russell

Luke, Cameron, Daniel, Shreyas, Rohit

How strong is the force of gravity on Earth?

by Randall Munroe

The science of approaching absolute zero (o K), as discussed by a former professor of mine. (Published in Scientific American, March 2011)

Free Energy, Entropy, and the Meaning of Life! - blog post by physicist Sean Carroll