Honors Physics
Course Syllabus & Course Description
Fall Semester 2012 - Spring Semester 2013


Mr. Tony Wayne


975-9300 extension 60265

Web Site:


Blog www.mrwaynesclass.com/blog
Remind101 www.mrwaynesclass.com/remind

Physics by Cutnell and Johnson, 5th Edition (2001). Published by John Wiley & Sons, New York. Students will not be assigned a textbook unless he or she asks for it. (Lost textbooks cost $50 to $120 to replace.) There will be a small set of textbooks available in the class. Textbook resources and problem sets are on this website and in the "My Documents" folder on the student's computer. Most of our reading resources will come from www.mrwaynesclass.com/textbook

Physics seeks to describe and predict natural events by seeking the relationships between motion, force, energy and time. Physics is at the root of all types of engineering -mechanical, electrical, nuclear, chemical, etcetera. This course will discuss the basics in fields of physics such as kinematics, dynamics, electricity, optics, nuclear physics, etcetera. The number one priority is to learn how to think critically, in a scientific manner, about the physical environment. This course will follow the "Virginia Standards of Learning" for physics. There will be many labs to explore the concepts of physics. At the beginning of each chapter a sheet of objectives, homework problems, and labs will be handed out. Every chapter will be followed by a test. The test will be derived from the objectives. Extra credit may be completed for each semester.

This year I'm transitioning to a "flipped" class. (Actually it is a hybrid-flipped class.) Typically the lecture presents new information in class and the student goes home to do homework for practice. In a flipped class, the student gets new material at home, and does a few simple problems. Class time is spent doing demonstrations, practicing problem sets in teams, Socratic team assignments, and doing activities and labs. The material they are viewing can be found on my channel on YouTube. I have created over 200 short movies and have organized in a textbook format on www.mrwaynesclass.com/textbook. Maybe I'm being naive, but I think I can do a better job than a book publisher at integrating the resources. Unfortunately I don't have a team to do the work, its just me. I've spent thousands of hours on the content. The text is not perfect. But my students continue to inspire me to do more with their excitement, suggestions, and ideas. I've organized the materials to be interactive by writing simulations and have worked on building online quizzes so students can check their understanding as they read. Students are not required to log in to take a quiz. They are on their honor as to whether or not they do the quiz. Missing a homework assignment is like missing a traditional class period. There are times and topics that do not lend themselves well to a "flipped" class. For these times the class will be more traditional.

(Some topics may be covered out of this order)

Computer Usage

Momentum and Impulse

Dimensional Analysis

Kinetic and Potential Energy Relationships

Vector Algebra

Work and Power

Kinematics (by graphical means)


Kinematics (by algebraic means)

Current Electricity

Newton's 3 Laws of Motion


Simple Harmonic Motion


Projectile Motion

Special Relativity

Universal Gravity

Sound & Fluid Dynamics

All these topics cover the Virginia Standards of Learning, SOL’s. A complete list of science SOL’s can be found at http://www.pen.k12.va.us/go/Sols/science.html. They at the bottom of the page listed as PH.1, PH.2, and etcetera.

Plastic Eraser
It is suggested that students also purchase a "drafting" eraser like the "Hi-Polymer" by Pentel, or the Mars, plastic by Staedtler. The white rectangular shape makes this type of eraser easy to recognize. Drafting erasers work by lifting the graphite off the page and resist smudging the work. Rubber erasers work by sanding off the pencil marks and the paper under them. Now, many pencils come with this type of eraser on the end. It is usually white or some fluorescent color. ($1.25)
TI 84+ Calculator
Students are expected to have a calculator with trigonometric functions. It does not have to be a graphing calculator. Not graphing calculators range from $10 - $20. But if a student is thinking about buying a graphing calculator, buy a TI-84 or TI-84 plus. ($125) This calculator will be used in lab for data collection and analysis. Classroom graphing and scientific calculators can be used by the student when they are available. Most of the classroom discussions involving calculators will use the TI-83 and TI-84. (I have an electric engraver that you can use to etch your name in the back of your calculator. Ask to use it before or after class.)
3" x 5" Spiral notebook 3" x 5" spiral notebook. Click here to see how this will be used.
8.5" x 11" spiral notebook

Spiral bound 8.5" x 11" notebook. Choose lined or, (my favorite,) graph paper. This will be used to write all homework and class work problems. It must be spiral notebook. This is used as an organizational tool. It will also make studying for the semester exam easier. I would recommend 150 pages worth of notebook(s).

Not all graph paper notebooks are the same. Some graph paper notebooks have lines that are too dark to be used with a pencil. Look for a graph paper notebook with lighter lines.

  Every PHYSICS will receive a Lenovo laptop running Windows. This computer is more powerful than a smart phone but slower, smaller, and not as powerful a laptop computer. However, the one thing I noticed when using it was that the mouse pad was "touchy" for me, (I'm a mac user.) I purchased a small wireless mouse to be used with netbook. It has significantly reduced my frustrations. Many mice are on sale in August and September for about $10-20. Logictech makes an inexpensive($20/$30) mouse with a battery that lasts about 6 months. This is purely optional. It is a matter of taste.

SD Card

This year each student will have a Lenovo ThinkPad X130e. This laptop has a slot for an SD or SDHC card. While most if not all of what we do will be stored in the cloud, some students may want to store files on their laptop. If the laptop gets a virus, it may need to erased and the original software will be re-installed. Any files stores on the laptop's drive will be erased too. It is advisable to have all files stored "locally" to be stored on an SD card. If anything happens to the computer, then the files should be safe on the SD card. Typically an SD cards run from $4 to $16 for an 4GB card and can be found at Walmart, K-Mart, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Sears, or on line at GearXS.com, NewEgg.com or Amazon.com.
  Students will NOT be allowed to take notes on the netbooks. They are to be written by hand. So students may need a 3 ring notebook or folder to contain any notes and some handouts. I will not be collecting or grading this notebook. It is just to get the students organized. (Most handouts will be viewed on the computer but technology can't do everything better than pencil and paper.)

You can expect to hear from me with the first 3 weeks of school via email. If you have a question of comment please email or call me at school. I check my phone messages every business day. You can expect a return call during the next business day -if I'm not absent the day your message is left.) I will respond to your email within 2 business days of receiving it. Even if I can't expound in my response, I will acknowledge your email. If you do not receive a response email, call me. No response usually means that your message has been quarantined by the county's spam filter. (It is very aggressive.) If your student has a question about an assignment or grade, please encourage him or her to talk with me. I'll listen.

This year I'm excited to try something new...

This year I’m trying a communication experiment. I’m going to use “Remind101.com” to send SMS text messages to cellphones and/or short e-mails. As a follower you can choose which you want to receive. Longer messages will still occur through email. Remind101 is like Twitter except you cannot reply to any messages I send. It is built for educators to facilitate short bursts of communication. I plan on using it to remind anyone that follows me about upcoming projects or tests and any changes to an assignment that can’t wait until class. I expect to send out about 30 to 40 messages for the entire year. Instructions on how to sign up to follow me are on the last page of this document.

Click here to sign up.



Each student will be given a Lenovo ThinkPad X130e on or about the 5 week of class. Each student will also be given accounts on Google Apps for Education and a school e-mail (pending parent/guardian permission.) These tools will be combined in various ways to create a collaboration environment on certain assignments. Many more handouts will be coming.



Grades will be based on performance on tests, quizzes, activities and labs. Each assessment will be worth a certain amount of points. Typically:

  • Tests are worth 100 to 150 points
  • Quizzes are worth 2 to 50 points
  • Activities/Lab are worth 10 to 80 points
  • Homework Assignments are worth 1 pt per problem 8 point maximum

Nine weeks' scores will be based on the percentage of possible points earned. Homework will be checked for a completeness grade. It will not be worth more than 15% of the final nine weeks grade. Extra credit opportunities may be offered during a grading period. All term grades a reported to 1 decimal place.



Homework grades are gone. They have been replaced with class preparation grades. A class preparation grade indicates a student’s readiness to learn. This is demonstrated by having the homework or any other out-of-class assignments completed upon entering the classroom. Homework credit is given for attempting the assignment. What and “attempt” looks like is described to the students in every unit. Out-of-class assignments are assigned as a way of reviewing the day’s concepts or skills while getting mentally ready for the days class. The preparation grades cannot be turned in late or “made up.” This is because we go over the assignments in class and post answers on line to most problems. If it was turned in late then that would show that student was not prepared for class. If a student missed a class due to illness, doctor’s appointment or family business, then he or she is not responsible for the grade or the homework assigned when he or she was absent. But if he or she returns with the completed homework that was assigned in his or her absence, then I will give them credit if they take the initiative to show it to me at the beginning of class.



After taking a test, a student may take another test on the same topic. I will record the higher of the two grades. But, the right to take the mastery test has to be earned. This is demonstrated two ways.

  1. By having every class preparation grade for the unit. (Days when a student is absent do not count in this total.)
  2. By completing an additional assignment from the unit. Depending on the unit’s difficulty, students are usually given a weekend to work on the assignment. Student’s who do not understand how to do the problems need to make an appointment with me during 8th period to get specific help.

This mastery assignment is checked for effort and completion and not absolute correctness. What “effort” looks like is discussed during every unit. Some notes, homework solutions, short videos highlighting the notes and/or problem solutions, and pretests are provided as on line resources. Students are to complete the mastery assignment on time. (This may mean seeing me during 8th period or before school starts for help.) The only way a due date extension is given, is if a parent or guardian writes a note explaining that the student was sick or was not able to work for other reasons. Late work, without a parent or guardian’s note, forfeits the right to take a mastery test.

The 4 minute YouTube video below is my description of how I do mastery learning.

This video can be found at http://youtu.be/KsRRc_rQblI


The class will follow the school's grading scale. All nine weeks' grades reported on the report card will be rounded to the nearest one's place; e.g. 89.532 becomes a 90 on the report card. However, the raw score will be used for semester averages. Semester averages will be rounded to the nearest one's place -like the nine weeks grades.



Before each test, students are turn in a chapter in his or her 3"x5" notebooks. This summary notebook is a separate 5-point grade. Students who do not have the sheet ready before the test cannot turn it in late. He or she will receive a zero for the summary. The purpose of the summary sheet to act as a review BEFORE taking the test.



I will contact the parents or guardians via email or phone if a student receives a failing grade on a test or major lab.



Exemptions are only for the final exam during the second semester. Exemption is determined by school policy in the student handbook. Since, there is not an SOL test at the end of the course, there are no additional SOL score requirements to affect exemption.



The homework load will vary. Expect to spend an average of 30 minutes doing homework after each class. When appropriate, homework assignments consist of fewer quality problems rather than a large quantity of all possible problems. Everyday there will be a class preparation grade. This preparation grade comes from doing the homework and bringing it to class on time. It is not a big grade. Missing one or two smaller assignments will not dramatically affect a students grade. Missing many will add up.



During days when school is postponed due to inclement weather, students are expected to check his or her email for a physics assignment. Assignments will be posted to the class blog. Reminders to check the blog will be sent to student emails, students who follow me on the class on twitter account, and to students on FaceBook who have joined the class group. Students without power are not held responsible for the grade on the assignment but they are responsible for the material covered on any following assessments.


  • A ”wireless device” is anything that is capable of accessing the Internet. Such as, but not limited to, a netbook, laptop, iPad, iPod, iTouch, etcetera.
  • Only use wireless devices in class with the teacher’s specific permission.
  • When asked to close your netbooks/laptops, close them and put other wireless devices away. You do not need to shut them down -only put them to sleep.
  • When allowed, wireless devices may only be used for work directly related to this class.
  • Wireless devices are to remain closed or put away during all tests and quizzes unless otherwise permitted by the teacher.
  • If the teacher walks around and you close your netbook or laptop when he/she walks by, it will be considered a sign that you are not using it for allowed purposes.

Anyone not agreeing to follow this policy must either not use a wireless device in class or accept that the wireless device will be recognized as a distraction and dealt with according to school policy.  This may include being prohibited from using device in the classroom for the rest of the semester or year.



When a test has been missed, arrangements must be made within 2 days of returning to school to make up the missed work. The missed assignment must be made up within 2 weeks of returning to school. Failure to make up work will result in a zero for the assignment. An "incomplete" letter grade will be given for the 9 weeks to any student with an assignment not turned in by the end of a grading period. The student then has 2 weeks from the end of the grading period to turn in the assignment.
If a student misses an assignment due to an illness, then he or she will not be penalized if they return without completion of the assignment. The assignment will still need to be made up according to school policy. Missed homework assignments due to absences may be turned in one class after returning for credit. But students are not held responsible for homework assigned while absent due to illness.



Students are to work independently, without any outside aide, on tests, quizzes, the research component of the project and "questions of the day." Student may work with others on homework, in class assignments, labs and activities.



The class will follow the school's attendance policy with one exception. According to school policy, students will be assigned lunch detention on his or her second tardy.



This class will have a web site, http://www.mrwaynesclass.com. Working on the web is expected. The web site will be a constant work in progress. The web site contains:

  • Daily assignment blog
  • Information on how to follow the class on "Twitter."
  • Documents distributed in class in either web form or as a PDF document.
  • Interactive, on-line, pretests developed by the teacher.
  • Related topic links.
  • Animations and some lecture notes from class.
  • Tutorial links to other sites. (This web site will only contain links to legitimate, safe web sites. Once a student leaves the www.mrwaynesclass.com server, I cannot be responsible for the paths they "surf" beyond the initial link.)
  • Some video tutorials on how to do more difficult problem types.



by Tony Wayne ...(If you are a teacher, please feel free to use these resources in your teaching.)