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IB Physics SL (2019-2020)


  • Informational Packet / Syllabus
  • Syllabus Addendum - Grading
  • Introduction to class
  • Homework - brainstorm a notation for keeping track of how far an object moves AND in which direction it travels, e.g. a man walks 20 meters eastward, then 20 meters northward, then 10 meters westward; can you write this in a way that the sum of these three motions gives you the man's final position?



  • 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; if you have a textbook, read over pp. 27-38 for a review of the material we've covered thus far


  • 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)
  • Extra Practice  - match motion to graphs with this interactive.
  • Homework - do test corrections on a separate sheet of paper (just rework the missed problems)


  • 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


  • 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
  • the general Lab Report Format


  • calculate lab uncertainties
  • the lab report will be due Wed 9/18 (at 11:59 pm) through
  • homework - you should get started on the lab report


  • graph the free fall data -- linearize the graph
  • homework - complete your lab report; the free fall calculations are due 9/23


  • quiz over free fall  postponed until Monday
  • review free fall calculations
  • discuss relative motion
  • homework - complete free fall calculations (handout)


  • quiz over free fall
  • introduction to vectors
  • homework - read pp. 39-43 in your textbook


  • model 2D projectiles
  • homework - complete this worksheet of projectile problems (the answers are given within the document)


  • review projectile problem-solving
  • projectile motion lab (online)
  • homework - complete the lab
  • pay for the IB Physics field trip to iFLY! The trip will be Mon, Oct 21.


  • Mythbusters video
  • discuss the effect of air resistance on projectile motion
  • solve IB projectile problems
  • help with projectiles
  • homework - extra projectile practice (key)


  • quiz over projectile motion
  • discuss the nature of a "law of nature" and the certainty of our knowledge
  • homework - pay for the iFLY field trip!



  • meeting with counselor
  • discuss the concept of a force and the types of forces found within our world (follow this guide and answer questions in your class notebook)


  • review types of forces
  • begin lab investigation of Newton's 2nd Law - formal lab info

**No school on Monday or Tuesday**


  • complete the lab
  • STUDENTS: before going to iFLY, you or your parent must complete this
  • online waiver!! go ahead and do this asap -- reservation #4115004005
  • help sheet for adding max and min trend lines to your graph


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


  • read and process the information on this webpage
  • calculate the force of gravity and discuss weightlessness


  • discuss apparent weight 
  • calculate friction
  • draw free-body diagrams and calculate the acceleration of various objects
  • homework - the formal lab is due Friday, Oct 25 Saturday, Oct 26 at 11:59 pm on; try to do these problems, after reading the explanations


  • practice drawing free-body diagrams and using F=ma; model an Atwood machine and a modified Atwood machine
  • homework - read Unit 2.2 Forces, in your textbook; complete the Forces SL packet
  • 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, 11/6. 


  • analyze a block sliding down a ramp (and hanging signs (in translational equilibrium)?)
  • discuss Newton's 3rd Law
  • homework - if you haven't already, read Unit 2.2 Forces; you can find a bunch of review videos here


  • test over forces (even if you were absent last class)
  • the mini-project is due here by class time today; upload it, don't share it; it will count as a major grade


  • define kinetic and potential energy and work
  • homework - read pp. 62-69 in your textbook


  • derive and use the Work-Kinetic Energy Theorem
  • calculate change in kinetic energy from a force-vs-position graph (key)


  • solve problems involving work and energy
  • sample problems worked out
  • practice solving energy problems (note: I am not assigning the entire packet)
  • upcoming: the mousetrap-powered car project will be assigned next week
  • upcoming: we will have a test next week on work and energy
  • homework - solve at least 12 problems in the green packet [answer key]; complete the four mini-worksheets


  • calculate elastic potential energy
  • solve IB test problems involving elastic PE
  • homework - complete pages 2 and 3 of the handout (IB problems on EPE)


  • assign the mousetrap-powered car project (due Dec 9) - video help
  • solve additional problems involving elastic potential energy


  • test on work and energy


  • discuss the energy test; spend more time learning energy concepts
  • carefully read and think through this handout on work and energy
  • [we will need to meet during PIT to properly finish this topic; you will need to re-take the exam]
  • homework - watch this video on power and efficiency; take notes; we won't discuss the material in class
  • re-take the exam Friday before school (8 am sharp) or next Wednesday PIT; your grade will be the higher of the two


  • define momentum, discuss its conservation, and model the transfer of momentum in a 2-body collision
  • get help by watching this video


  • the mousetrap-powered cars and videos are due [submit the video here]
  • lecture on impulse and its connection to momentum
  • homework - complete worksheet of momentum problems


  • solve IB problems on momentum
  • homework - complete the packet of IB problems


  • quiz on momentum
  • homework - review for the midterm


  • midterm exam, covering all material from the semester

** Winter Break **



  • begin Unit 3: Thermal Physics
  • discussion of internal (thermal) energy (PowerPoint)
  • practice calculations using specific heat capacity


  • calculate equilibrium temperature; discuss latent heat
  • pressure and the ideal gas laws (worksheet)
  • homework - read pp. 101-106, the bullet points on 107, and 110-112 in your textbook


  • ideal gas law, additional practice (worksheet)
  • discuss what makes a gas "ideal" and how real gasses compare to ideal gasses
  • solve IB problems on thermodynamics
  • homework - complete the rest of the IB Thermodynamics packet, excluding problems 5 and 14 - answers, for looking at after you attempt the problems
  • begin thinking about an IA topic for the class; read about the physics IA in your textbook, beginning on page 687
  • you will want to get my approval for your topic within the next week or two
  • a rough draft of your IA Exploration will be due January 31


  • quiz over thermodynamics and the ideal gas law


  • an introduction to circular motion
  • centripetal force lab
  • homework - complete the lab; it is due next class (note: this is not a formal lab report); also complete quiz corrections


  • discuss/model circular motion; define and calculate centripetal force and acceleration
  • differentiate between centripetal and centrifugal force
  • homework - front side of worksheet; watch this video on circular motion; be thinking about your IA topic


  • notes on circular motion, including a dad swinging his daughter around by her arms
  • review of going around a loop-the-loop


  • discussion of banked curves
  • notes on satellite motion and artificial gravity
  • homework - complete problems 1-6c in the packet of IB problems


  • review the homework and complete the rest of the IB problems
  • homework - read Unit 6.2 in your book; this video will help with understanding, and it has some good practice problems; I recommend watching it, in addition


  • explore the behavior of springs using an online simulation - activity
  • describe the position, velocity and acceleration of an object undergoing simple harmonic motion
  • finalize your IA topic this week
  • your IA Exploration, including Procedures, is due Feb 18th
  • be prepared to conduct your experiment during class on Feb 18th and 20th


  • discuss simple harmonic motion (SHM) and analyze the associated position, velocity and acceleration graphs - worksheet, old handout on Hooke's law and elastic PE


  • test over circular motion, gravity, and Hooke's law


  • analyze position, velocity and acceleration graphs for an oscillating body
  • solve IB practice problems on oscillation
  • homework - complete the packet up through #15 (remember we omitted some of the problems, including 14b); do test corrections (by Thurs or next Tues)


  • analyze longitudinal and transverse waves using a Slinky
  • notes on waves
  • homework - complete the big blue packet, omitting pages 7-8, by next Thursday; use this website as a resource
  • the IA Exploration is due, through turnitin, by 8:40 Tuesday; you should be prepared to begin your experiment during class on Tuesday


  • work on your IA

Wednesday, 2/19 - Group 4 Project, all day​



  • work on your IA
  • homework - read Unit 4.5 in your book, and then complete p. 7-8 in the blue packet; use the same website for help
  • the IA Analysis is due March 6th, through turnitin


  • work on your IA


  • discuss wave properties, including polarization; use Malus's law
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

Free Fall Motion: s,v,&a graphs

Parabolas in the NFL: the physics of a football punt

How strong is the force of gravity on Earth?




IA Checklist


Physics IA

(scored a 24/24)


this is from an IB student and YouTuber