Course Syllabus - SC81 General Physics

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Contact Information

Instructor:  Ms. Eileen Gratkins Website:

Room: 821 Email:

Phone: 480-308-5621

About the Course

This course is taught using the Modeling Physics method of learning.  You will be presented with a series of situations in which you will decide what factors might be involved, how you can go about measuring them, then collect the data.  You will use your computers to graphically analyze the data and learn how to clearly describe the relationships you find using a variety of representations.  What you discover will then be applied to a wide variety of new situations.  In this approach, you will derive from experiments most of the equations you will use in physics.

Materials Needed EVERY DAY

  • pocket folder OR a labeled physics section in a 3-ring binder

  • college-ruled composition notebook

  • college-ruled loose leaf paper

  • pencils

  • red pen

  • scientific calculator (see note below)

  • computer (charged up)


You will be using a calculator almost daily in physics.  An inexpensive scientific calculator (one that includes trig functions) will serve your needs well, and can be purchased for less than $10 at Amazon or found locally at many stores (Walmart, Target, etc.).  The TI-30X or similar is a good one for this class.  You may use graphing calculators; however, the use of graphing calculators on quizzes or tests is dependent on you showing the teacher you have cleared the memory each and every time.  

Collaborative Groups

You will work in the lab and on assignments in 3-4 person groups.  Your groups will make presentations before the whole class in which you present your ideas and answer questions from classmates.  The emphasis is on the general understanding of the principles involved, and how you solved the problem, rather than on the answer.  Groups will be changed once or twice a quarter.

Study Habits

Each day you are expected to bring to class the materials listed above.  You will keep all the materials for a given unit in your folder (or binder) until the unit test.  On the day of the unit test I will grade your notebooks and worksheet packet.  You should keep the completed/graded worksheet packets to study for semester finals.  Cell phones and other personal electronic devices are only to be used when prior permission has been given.  Violations will be dealt with according to school policy.

Daily Work

The problems assigned in this class are designed to assess whether you really understand the concepts developed in class.  It is reasonable to expect that you will often experience difficulty in setting up and solving these types of problems.  It will be common to need to finish an assignment at home.  It’s not such a bad thing that you will struggle a bit in trying to complete an assignment.  It is in this struggle and discussion of the homework the following day that you and your classmates really learn the material.  To be a meaningful contributor to your group, you must attempt to do the problems.  To receive credit for attempting the assignment, you must make a genuine effort.  I will stamp your assignments if you have made a reasonable effort. During whiteboarding and discussions, you will add to and correct your work.  Test and quiz questions will be very similar to the problems you encounter on your assignments.  So, it’s simple: if you do your work you are more likely to be successful!

Lab Work and Reports

Almost everything you learn this year in physics is based on the results of your experiments.  For each experiment, you will be expected to write a report in a format you will soon receive.  You will work together to insure that each member of your group turns in a quality product.


Your grade will be based on your mastery of the various topics we will study this year as assessed by tests, quizzes, and labs.  Specifics regarding grading policies are outlined in a separate document.

90-100% A Final Exam will make up 20% of semester grade.

80-89% B

70-79% C

60-69% D

0-59% F



Remind is a program that I will be using to keep parents and students up to date with current activities, deadlines and other things in my class.  You can choose to receive text messages or emails.  If you’re having trouble texting to 81010, try texting to (928) 432-3250.   *Standard text message rates apply.

Sign up for text messages only Sign up for text messages and/or email

Period 1: text @gratkins1 to 81010

Period 2: text @gratkins2 to 81010

Period 3: text @gratkins3 to 81010

Period 5: text @gratkins5 to 81010

Period 6: text @gratkins6 to 81010

Communication & Acknowledgment

Parents and students will find much useful information on my class website.  Students will also find a lot of the same information in Canvas.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact me at 480-308-5621 or  Email is usually the most effective way to reach me.  

The teacher reserves the right to modify the syllabus at any point when deemed necessary and appropriate for the needs of the students.  Any modifications will be posted on the teacher’s website.

Please take the time to read this document and the attached grading policies, and acknowledge that you understand what is expected by signing and returning the Course Acknowledgment page.  Thank you.

Daily Log

Make-up Work Calendar

Make-up, Late Work, & Grading

Course Acknowledgment

Units by Semester

Canvas contains links for handouts.

First Semester: 

Unit 1 Constant Velocity

Unit 2 Uniform Acceleration

Unit 3 Two Dimensional Motion

Unit 4 Forces, Part 1

Unit 5 Forces, Part 2

Unit 6 Momentum

Second Semester: 

Unit 7 Energy

Unit 8 Waves

Unit 9 Light

Unit 10 Electricity