Mr. Rogers' Syllabus for AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetics (With IB Physics Topics)

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Common Syllabus

Mr. R's Home

Southside High


1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter


A parent or guardian for each student is asked to send Mr. Rogers an e-mail as follows:
  • Subject: AP Physics Magnetics <your student's name>
  • Please indicate your name inside the e-mail body.

Mr. Rogers will use this for communicating information during the year.

Click here for an abbreviated syllabus on the official letterhead.


Contact Information:

  Instructor   Mr. Rogers
  Room   134
  Phone   355- 8737
  tutoring   Southside High School Physics Club
  Availability  rm 134 at lunch time, after school: Tues, Thurs, Fri

What to Expect:

In a word: magic. The world of E&M is the closest thing to magic a human can experience (without being a wizard). It is a hidden world which lights the darkness, enables communication over great distance, and heats, or cools on demand. It is a world which is only accessible through the concepts of physics using the tools of mathematics and calculus.

This is a calculus based, college level, physics class which covers electricity and magnetics for the American College Board AP Physics C E&M. Students passing this test may receive college credit. In addition, this class ends a two year IB Physics course. Again students will take an IB test which will count toward their IB diploma and can result in college credit.

The Psychology of Physics Problem Solving
A teacher can guide students through a complex physics problem merely by asking questions. By learning to ask questions of yourself, you can gain the same level of problem solving skill without having a teacher present. It's called metacognition and is a skill you will acquire.
Powerful physics problem solvers also frequently use a type of free association. By learning to associate small hints with a corresponding physics principle, they can often visualize an equation for a problem even before they have fully read it.  Again it's a skill that can be learned.

The Intellectual Challenge

In college, physics is generally considered an intellectually challenging course. Correlations between the combined PSAT math and verbal scores with the passing rate in AP Physics bears this out.   However, AP Physics E&M has an advantage over the equivalent college course in that it takes an entire year to present what would be considered a semester of material in college.

Resources and Materials for Class

TextBook : Mr. Rogers will provide the following books:

Physics for Scientists and Engineers
by Raymond A. Serway, John W. Jewett
  • Publisher: Brooks Cole; 6 edition (July 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0534408427

How to Prepare for the AP Physics C (Paperback)
by Robert A. Pelcovits, Joshua D. Farkas



Web Page Resources Provided by Mr. Rogers
All of the following are maintained by Mr. Rogers and can be reached via links from his teacher homepage.
  1. Objectives: The daily objectives used in class along with homework assignments are all available online
  2. Practice Tests: Self scoring online practice tests complete with explanations of the answers are available for each unit. In addition practice test questions without answers are also available online. You should have no surprises when you take tests.
  3. Study Guides: Study guides are available online for each unit. These include the equations you must learn, problem solving tips, important concepts, vocabulary lists, and example problems to help you succeed on tests.
  4. Movie Physics: Mr. Rogers maintains a web site with all kinds of movie physics information to assist you in your enrichment assignments.
Physics Software
Interactive physics software will be available in the physics classroom for conducting simulations and confirming solutions to problems

Materials for Class Provided by the Student

  1. A USB thumb drive or other storage media for maintaining your electronic portfolio of physics assignments.We will attempt to be as close to a paperless classroom as possible.
  2. A set of dry erase markers. You will frequently be working problems in class on a white board.
  3. A package of 3x5 cards: Starting immediately, each student will, over the course of the year create a set of flash cards to use as a study aid.
  4. A graphing calculator
  5. Cracking the AP Physics B and C Exams, 2006-2007 Edition (College Test Prep) (Paperback)
    by Princeton Review , $12.35 from, can generally also be purchased locally. Note: this book is the text for IB physics topics.


Grading and Assignments

Grading: (For details see Mr. Rogers' Syllabus - Information Common to All Classes.) Tests will be the single largest item and  will be written as close to AP exam standards as possible. Course work will generally be finished in the third quarter leaving the rest of the year for review and various physics investigations (labs). The first semester exam will be taken directly from old AP tests. The exam grade will give you an indication of your standing on the future AP exam in enough time to take corrective action if needed. The fourth quarter grade will consist primarily of practice AP test grades. Generally, there is a high correlation between the practice exams and your grade on the AP test.

Physics Investigations - Labs:  We will be spending about 20% of our instructional time on various forms of practical activities.  These include formal lab write ups, mini-labs (informal write ups), computer simulation labs (interactive physics), and a few after school labs. Many E&M investigations will be conducted with computerized data collection using a wide range of Vernier Lab equipment. Other labs will use multimeters, power supplies, bread boards, E-field meters, oscilloscopes, and various forms of microwave equipment. We will measure the ratio of charge to mass of an electron and perform the Milliken experiment.

We will regularly use statistical tools like regression analysis and various forms of error analysis to help evaluate experimental data. Having taken AP Statistics or taking it concurrently will be helpful but is not required. Mr. Rogers will assist those who are unfamiliar with these techniques.

All physics investigation raw data and observations will be recorded in a bound composition notebook which will be periodically checked. Write ups will be maintained in an electronic portfolio (computer folder) and be submitted via the school's computer network.

Enrichment Assignment: You cannot master physics if you only think about it in the classroom. To encourage physics thinking in everyday life, once per quarter you are to review a Hollywood movie scene for physics content. The review will contain the following:

  1. The movie's title and main stars.
  2. A summary of the scene (about one good paragraph)
  3. A summary of the scene's physics (about one good paragraph)
  4. At least one calculation related to the scene's physics

To analyze movies you will have estimate many of the parameters used in your calculation, often based on the size of objects in the movie. Estimating is a real world skill which is often required for major engineering projects.

The analysis is to be submitted via the school's computer network as a computer file one week before the end of each quarter and will count as a lab grade. The file is to be labeled with the movie name and your name and can be either be an a Microsoft Word or Excel file.

Class Work
You cannot master physics by watching Mr. Rogers work problems, hence, you will be going to the front of the classroom and working problems on the white board in groups of 2 on a regular basis. Guided practice of this type is a powerful learning opportunity. In this class you will think physics, talk physics, write physics, and yes at times even help teach physics to your fellow classmates.

The AP Exam:

The Exam will be given on Monday May 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm. You must arrive 30 minutes early. The exam lasts 90 minutes and Consists of two parts: 45 min. for 35 multiple choice questions and 45 min. for three free response.

AP tests are graded on a scale of 1 to 5 with 3 considered passing.


Summer Assignments for New Students

Who Should Take this Class: Students with highly developed algebra skills and an interest in careers related to: engineering, the computer professions, medicine, physics, chemistry, or math.

Credit: One unit of lab science

Prerequisites: AP Physics C Mechanics and Calculus concurrent (no exceptions). Having taken AP Statistics or taking it concurrently will be helpful but is not required.

Use of Calculus: This course requires the use of calculus. A high level of skill in algebra is essential.

Extra Credit Opportunity--Science Fair

How to Succeed on AP Tests

Safety Rules/Procedures

All students are required to be familiar with the following:

Tool Safety Rules: Details rules for the safe use of the tools and devices found in room 134.

Medical Incident Procedures: Details procedures to be followed in a  medical incident such as fainting, allergic reaction, sudden illness, injury, etc.


Course Outline

The following is offered as a general indication of how the class will be paced. Adjustments will be made as needed.

First Quarter:

Unit I. Charge & Electric Fields Chap 23
Start 09 - 07 End 09 - 18 Days 10
Objectives/ Standards Electrostatics Assessment  Exam


Unit II. Gauss's law Chap 24
Start 09 - 21 End  10 - 02 Days 10
Objectives/ Standards Electrostatics--Gauss's law Assessment  Exam


Unit III. Electric circuits Chap 27
Start 10 - 02 End 10 - 19 Days 10
Objectives/ Standards

1. Current, resistance, power

2. Steady-state direct current circuits with batteries and resistors only

Assessment  Exam


Second Quarter

Unit IV. Electric Potential Chap 25
Start 10 - 20 End 11 - 01 Days 10
Objectives/ Standards Charge, field, and potential Assessment  Exam


Unit V.  Electric circuits--Kirchoff's Law Chap 28
Start 11 - 02 End 11 - 13 Days 10
Objectives/ Standards Steady-state direct current circuits with batteries and resistors only. Capacitors in circuits Assessment  Exam


Unit VI. Magnetic Fields Chap 29
Start 11 - 16 End 12 - 03 Days 10
Objectives/ Standards

1. Forces on moving charges in magnetic fields

2. Forces on current-carrying wires in magnetic fields

Assessment  Exam


Unit VII. Sources of Magnetic Fields Chap 30
Start 12 - 04 End 12 - 17 Days 10
Objectives/ Standards Fields of long current-carrying wires Biot-Savart and Ampere's law Assessment  Exam



1st Semester Exam Review

Start 01 - 04 End 01 - 11 Days  
Objectives/ Standards The 1st semester exam will be a multiple choice AP Exam appropriately curved, yielding an early prediction


Third Quarter

Unit XI. Physics Experiments Chap  
Start 01 - 22 End 02 - 26 Days 10
Objectives/ Standards   Assessment  Exam


Unit VIII. IB Thermodynamics Chap  
Start 03 - 1 End 03 - 05 Days 5
Objectives/ Standards Topic 10: Thermal physics Assessment  Exam


Unit IX. Atomic and nuclear physics Chap  
Start 03 - 08 End 03 - 13 Days 5
Objectives/ Standards Topic 7: Atomic and nuclear physics Assessment  Exam


Unit X. Communications Chap  
Start 03 - 15 End  03 - 19 Days 5
Objectives/ Standards Option F: Communications Assessment  Exam


Fourth Quarter

Unit XI. Electromagnetic waves Chap  
Start 02 - 22 End 03 - 26 Days 5
Objectives/ Standards Option G: Electromagnetic waves Assessment  Exam


Unit Review for AP Exam
Start 03 - 22 End 05 - 03 Days 26
Objectives/ Standards # 5 on AP Exam


Mr. Rogers' AP Physics C: E&M Objectives

Basic Syllabus 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter

Extra Credit

AP physics students can normally not receive extra credit. The exception is credit for major projects depending on their complexity and quality. A major well done project can receive up to 10 points extra credit in more than one quarter. 10 extra credit points will normally raise a grade by about 3 percentage points.

All extra credit is due one week before the end of the quarter it is counted in.

Major Projects

  1. Intel Science Talent Search A completed research paper (similar to a science fair project) must be submitted along with the required forms by Nov 5th. This contest hands out over a million dollars worth of scholarships to about 340 people. It is an excellent opportunity (seniors only).
  2. Regional Science Fair: The idea is due by Oct 1st, the experimental work is to be completed before Christmas break, and the total project completed by January 31st.
  3. Design and build a significant piece of equipment for use in physics classes.











Sixty Symbols: Videos about the symbols of physics and astronomy

Mr. Rogers Physics Pages

  1. Why Take High School Physics?
  2. Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics
  3. Basic Physics Savvy Quiz

SAM Team--Southside High School's STEM and Computer Science extra-curricular club (Mr. Rogers Sponsor)

Mr. Rogers' Twitter Site

Mr. Rogers Teacher's Blog

Mr. Rogers T-shirts

Mr. Rogers Information for Teachers

Mr. Rogers Science Fair Information

Check out other web sites created by Mr. R:

Check out Articles by Mr. Rogers:

Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics is one of the most humorous, entertaining, and readable physics books available, yet is filled with all kinds of useful content and clear explanations for high school, 1st semester college physics students, and film buffs.

It explains all 3 of Newton's laws, the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics, momentum, energy, gravity, circular motion and a host of other topics all through the lens of Hollywood movies using Star Trek and numerous other films.

If you want to learn how to think physics and have a lot of fun in the process, this is the book for you!


First the web site,

now the book!

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