Physics Mechanics – Year-long Course

    $799.00

    “Physics is fascinating in its own right as the study of the basic rules of the universe and how things work; studying it trains us to think clearly and carefully and to separate bias from rationality. I love sharing the wonders of physics with my students and watching them progress in their thinking skills!” ~Dr. Tanya Hughes

    Enrollment

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    Ferris wheel showing the mechanics of physics for Physics - Mechanics course at Athena's Advanced Academy
    InstructorDr. Tanya Hughes
    Content LevelsGrades 9-10 • Lower High School
    Grades 11-12 • Upper High School
    Course Length32 Weeks - Year-long
    Live Webinars Held OnWednesdays 1:00 - 2:30 PM Pacific - 8/16/22 – 5/20/23

    This year-long course is an in-depth coverage of the physics of motion, forces, momentum, energy, rotational motion, gravity, planetary motion and thermodynamics, with an introduction to waves, electricity, and magnetism.

    We work at the college level and include the advanced mathematics of vectors, trigonometry, and calculus. We do regular lab work either in real life or in simulation.

    Physics is presented in its historical context, allowing the students a glimpse into the human side of actually doing science.

    Because it’s a class for gifted learners, we take a little time to enjoy learning about the historical process of scientific discovery along with how the development of calculus and vectors arose from physics questions. My goal is to give students a feel not only for how to do physics problems, but also for the sometimes haphazard way that research is done and progress in the field is made.

    Note to parents:

    • This course requires a significant investment of time outside of class; expect a minimum of 4-5 hours per week in addition to class time.
    • The minimum math requirement is to know basic trigonometry. Students do not need to have taken calculus, though if they are less comfortable with math, they may want to have taken it first. The text includes the development of basic calculus and vectors; students who are ready for calculus or concurrently enrolled in calculus, and have some aptitude for math, should be fine. We only need the basics of calculus for this class.
    • Textbook: The Mechanical Universe: Introduction to Mechanics and Heat, by Olenick. ISBN-13: 9780521715928 (paperback), 9780511818509 (ebook). There is a free video series that goes along with the text. There are two different versions of the book; please double-check that you are buying the one by Olenick. Note that Amazon conflates the two versions so be careful if buying from Amazon.

    What to expect in the Required section in the classroom each week:

    • Reading the text and working problems on an online whiteboard that the instructor will be able to view/edit.
    • Working on a lab activity – either in real life or online simulation; typically we will report our results on a forum rather than doing a lot of writing for these.
    • Forum discussions: certain questions lend themselves more to discussion than mathematics; some of these we will discuss in forums.

    What to expect in the Highly Suggested  section in the classroom each week:

    • The Mechanical Universe videos that go along with the course text.
    • Other videos and documents that demonstrate the concepts we are learning or additional ideas that are not central to the course.

    What to expect in the Optional section in the classroom each week:

    • Suggested problems to work that go beyond the expectations of the course.
    • To excite learners and to add depth to the subject matter, curated resources, including websites & videos, are provided.
    • Preparation of a short presentation for class time.
    • A “Help” forum for students to ask for help.
    • A “Suggested Schedule for Working at Home” to help order the week’s work.

    What to expect during the weekly webinar:

    • Weekly webinars are 90 minutes long. Webinars are recorded and are available for students with schedule conflicts.
    • Primary instruction and guided discussions are provided during live webinars.
    • Active Participation (via the microphone and chat) in online class discussions.

    What to Expect During the School Year:

    • Thorough discussion of the mathematics of falling bodies, force, motion, rotation, work & energy, gravity.
    • Additional material will sometimes be added beyond the scope of the text.
    • A heavy sprinkling of stories about how this science was discovered and the human factors that affect the progress of science.
    • Developing a sense for the grit, honesty, determination, insight, and synchronicity that pushes scientific knowledge forward.
    • Fun on the forums: lively discussions about questions pertaining to the lessons.
    • Learning about taking good measurements and estimating error in experiments; observing that experimental results approximately correspond to the theory we learn.

    Before taking this course, students should be able to: 

    • Do trigonometry; be ready for calculus if they haven’t started it already.
    • Read non-fiction at an upper high school level.
    • Get their mathematical ideas written down, preferably electronically: writing on a tablet with stylus or using LaTex (https://www.overleaf.com/) to write equations via the keyboard. If needed, they can use pencil and paper and upload photos of their work.
    • This class is designed for students working in grades 9-12.

    Students should be willing to:

    • Begin learning the material on their own each week. Class time is limited, so they’ll need to come to class with some of the ideas in their head already!
    • Work on physics at least 4-5 hours per week outside of class
    • Participate in the weekly forum questions… contribute their ideas – even if they are not sure of them – and comment politely on their classmates’.
    • Participate in class discussions via voice and/or chat
    • Come to Dr. Tanya’s office hours to receive extra help if needed!

    Required text and materials:

    • Textbook: The Mechanical Universe: Introduction to Mechanics and Heat, by Olenick. ISBN-13: 9780521715928 (paperback), 9780511818509 (ebook). There is a free video series that goes along with the text. There are two different versions of the book; please double-check that you are buying the one by Olenick. Note that Amazon conflates the two versions so be careful if buying from Amazon.
    • Common household materials & measuring devices for making observations.