Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

High and school and Physics

  1. Feb 22, 2008 #1
    ********P.S.: Made an error in the title, its supposed to be High School and Physics...********

    Hello people, here I am again with a soon-to-be-controversial-thread (have a look at my other threads :P)...Joking oviously...^.^

    Ok. I am starting physics next year(10th grade) and I will pursue it until I finish high school (11th grade)...

    Does someone know what you are actually suppose to lean in high school physics?

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2008 #2
    Forces and Motion
    Energy, Work, and Power
    Waves and Sound
    Light and Geometric Optics
    Electricity and Magnetism
  4. Feb 22, 2008 #3
    My school is offering a more complex(and 2-3 more units then the one you mentioned) curriculum... What are the 'mathematic' side in physics are you suppose to learn (vector?,etc...)
  5. Feb 22, 2008 #4
    btw, thank you sam432 for your answer....
  6. Feb 22, 2008 #5
    Depends. I took two years of physics in high school, one that covered a lot of topics, and the second one calculus-based for AP Physics, which covered less (mechanics and e&m only), but in much more depth.

    What else can introductory physics teach other than the things Sam mentioned? Perhaps some very basic modern physics, but that's about it.

    Don't you have course syllabi or descriptions? We really don't know your school system.
  7. Feb 22, 2008 #6
    Maybe fliuds, gravitation, elasticity, torque, angular momentum, gas laws, thermodynamics, I guess would be some more things, but meh.

    It seems like he will be taking an algebra-based physics first, so he'll probably do a lot of stuff oh a surface level, and then probably take a calculus based later on and get more in depth. Hard to say though.
  8. Feb 22, 2008 #7
    I presume some additional units then the one sam mentioned may be simply some in-depth stuff or w/e...

    As for the course description, I really don't know...I'll ask some of school's physics teacher to provide some info regarding that. *Will update this post later*.
  9. Feb 22, 2008 #8
    We already finished (about like 3 months ago) the unit on fluids (basic stuff I presume, such as pressure,viscosity,etc). We are also starting sound/waves in a week...We have 3 semester in a year and they are divided into 3, biology,physics and technology(which includes biotechnology,etc)...They obviously cover basic stuff...

    What kinds of stuff do you see when it comes to calculus-based physics? And What are the stuff you see in algebra-based physics??

  10. Feb 22, 2008 #9
    I skipped my high school physics course and just blew right into P I w/ calc :P
  11. Feb 23, 2008 #10
    In algebra-based physics, you tend to see a lot more stuff ranging from kinematics all the way to electricity. It generally is covered without knowing where exactly the math comes from, but it tends to give you a nice idea on what physics is.

    Calculus-based physics, you will learn less in terms of the range of stuff, but you will learn more about the topics at hand. A first year calc-based physics generally goes from kinematics all the way to thermodynamics. Notice, it tends to end before electricity. During your first year course, the math will resemble algebra based physics, but you'll be able to derive a lot of the equations instead of simply memorizing them.
  12. Feb 23, 2008 #11

    Thank you for your reply. Um, is calculus based physics usually offered in high schools? Or does it start from college?

    And, are you sure thermodynamics are thought in high school? I guess we'll be learning dynamics instead of thermodynamics (they probably aren't the same thing?)...? Well I still don't have much information regarding the physics classes in my school, I'll ask a physics teacher this Monday...
  13. Feb 23, 2008 #12


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    It would depend on the school, I assume. Personally, I did learn some basic thermodynamics in high school. It was algebra based and we didn't go too in depth, but we did cover it.
  14. Feb 23, 2008 #13
    Ah. are dynamics different then thermodynamics?
  15. Feb 23, 2008 #14
    Yours should be similar to mine. My Physics I curriculum is as stated:

    scalars, vectors, kinematics, projectiles, mass, density, Newton’s laws, forces, (mechanical, gravitational, frictional, centripetal), work, energy(potential, kinetic), and its conservation, power,impulse, linear momentum and its conservation, elastic and inelastic collisions, angular, measure and motion, the concept of angular momentum and its conservation, equilibrium of forces and torques, simple machines, temperature, thermal equilibrium, linear expansion and contraction, specific heat, calorimetry,modes of energy transfer, thermodynamic laws, simple harmonic motion, wave propagation, standing waves,sound, electrical charges and force, coulombs law, voltage sources and resistances, series/parallelnetworks, electricity and magnetism, light, index of refraction, color, optics, lenses, mirrors, interference phenomena
  16. Feb 23, 2008 #15
    Um, can you organize that someway in units...(general categories?)... Thank you for your answer, much appreciated.
  17. Feb 23, 2008 #16
    So...Razored (or anyone else), do you have any ideas of any general categories in which you may categorize all those terms you mentioned (for your physics I curriculum course)....(Ex.: Optics,etc)

    I'm asking this because my curriculum is not stating those topics individually, its more of organized in 'categories' and I don't have much idea what those categories include....

  18. Feb 23, 2008 #17
    Sorry, I am just as clueless as you; i don't know what belongs where; but why does it really matter? If you want to categorize it because you want don't want to miss anything out on your course, you are better off buying a book on physics to supplement the course(that's what im doing).
  19. Feb 23, 2008 #18
    I didn't take any introductory nor highschool physics. It would have been great to have had some background knowledge. Somehow, I survive introductory physics w/ calc. Electricity and Magnetism w/ vector calculus is really making my semester.
  20. Feb 23, 2008 #19
    They will probably teach you these topics.

    -Vectors (how to add them, subtract them, etc)
    -Kinematics (movement of objects)
    -Energy (potential, Kinetic)
    -Oscillations (they MIGHT teach this, provided it has no calculus involved)

    I'm pretty certain that will be your curriculum - basing my opinion on the stuff taught in the semester-long algebra physics that my GF is currently taking.

    Some people are giving you long lists of stuff that will not be taught in 1st year highschool physics.

    You can expect to have problems involving objects flying through the air, without air resistance. There might be some problems involving cars that crash into eachother and 'transfer' their momentum. Most of it will be modelable with moving blocks and circles.
  21. Feb 23, 2008 #20
    Dynamics covers such a WIDE range of fields, so you could consider thermodynamics to be part of dynamics....i guess.

    Dynamics tends to mean, at least to me, more mechanical. When you add other prefixes to the word, it takes different meanings.

    As for calc-based physics in your high school. How do you expect me to know that answer? My school did, so if you want to find out, ask someone at your school.

    Hm...I wouldn't be to sure about that. That long list was part of my high school physics course =/.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook