Mr. Rogers' Syllabus for Honors Physics

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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: Honors Physics <your student's name>
  • Please indicate your name inside the e-mail body.

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


Contact Information:

  Instructor Mr. Rogers
  Room 311

What to Expect:

You have begun a mental journey to an exciting new territory -- the world of physics. Like mountain climbing the journey takes effort and self discipline but the view can be awesome. Physics is not just a collection of facts. It is the search for the basic principles behind the facts.

These principles are often expressed as mathematical equations or models which makes applied physics or engineering amazingly effective for designing and improving equipment. Computers, for example, double in power every 18 months due to the fact that they're designed using applied physics.

Your reward for venturing into the world of physics will be a sharper mind and deeper understanding.

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.


Rules, Policies, Grading Scale

This information is common to all of Mr. Rogers' classes. Click here for details.


Resources and Materials for Class

Textbook : Mr. Rogers will provide the following books:

Physics Principles and Problems,
  • Publisher: Glenco Science
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.


Materials for Class Provided by the Student

  1. A set of dry erase markers. You will frequently be working problems in class on a white board.
  2. 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.


Grading and Assignments


Physics Investigations - Labs: We will be spending a significant amount of our instructional time on various forms of practical activities. These will include formal lab write ups, mini-labs (informal write ups), computer simulation labs (Interactive Physics), and a few after school labs. We will also analyze several Hollywood movie scenes in class. Some investigations will be conducted with computerized data collection using a wide range of Vernier Lab equipment, video analysis, and sophisticated devices like air tracks and radio controlled robots. Other labs will use old fashioned meter sticks, stop watches, pendulums, spring scales etc. At least some of the labs will be designed by students.

Deliverables from physics investigations will be submitted in electronic form in the Honors Physics folder on the students virtual drive.

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
Summer Assignments for New Students

Who Should Take this Class: Students with well-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


Extra Credit: Your participation in the science fair can earn significant extra credit in AP Physics, but it has many added benefits. Over the years, Southside students have won thousands of dollars worth of prizes. Some have gone on to the Intel International Science Fair where they've met hundreds of people from around the world including Nobel Laureates. The two Southside students in the picture at right are with Nobel Laureate (Physics) and best selling author Leon Lederman.

Click here for more Science Fair info


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

Click here for course outline



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 2 to 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.








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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