PHYS P201 General Physics I
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The URL for this page is http://woodahl.physics.iupui.edu/PhysP201/
General Information - Spring Semester 2017
Acceptable textbooks for Woodahl PHYS-P201/202 (New and Used), click HERE
This is the first semester of a two-semester introduction to non-calculus physics intended for students preparing for careers in the sciences and health professions. Topics covered: mechanics, conservation laws, gravitation; simple harmonic motion and waves; kinetic theory, heat, and thermodynamics (5 cr.). Enrollment into this course requires you to have completed IUPUI or IU-Bloomington MATH 15900 with at least a C–. Note: Make sure you have enrolled in the correct physics course, PHYS 21800 is also algebra-based, and in many cases a more suitable course for beginning students wishing to master physics. Our course, P201, is mainly intended for science majors who are likely to pursue graduate study or professional programs; in addition, the majority of students enrolled in P201 have previously been exposed to physics either in high school or college.
iupui 0486 4301
This fee also includes an abridged electronic version of the course text for the semester. There is an option to purchase a lifetime version for an additional $30. Note that there is no required purchase of a physical textbook for this course, a typical new physical textbook will generally run between $100 and $180. Also note that there is no fee for the lab manual (these will be provided as free PDFs). The link to a list of acceptable used, previous editions, and out-of-print (and even new) physical texts is given above.
Late homework submittals
will not be allowed -- due dates/times will not be
modified/extended. If you miss the due date/time,
for any reason, you will receive a zero for that
Cutnell & Johnson, John Wiley & Sons, (any
recent edition is acceptable).
You do not have to purchase an additional lab manual. Click on the "Calendar" link at the top of this page, then access the link to view the download page for the labs.
Office: LD 156-S,
Woodahl (see above)
Office: LD 154
For the latest Physics
Department free tutoring schedule, click
here. Please first
contact the physics tutors before seeking help from your
Prerequisite: MATH 15900 (Algebra and Trigonometry). Students must have a working knowledge of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.
Organization: Each week there is a 2 to 2.5 hour lecture, 1 hour recitation, and 1 to 2 hour lab. Bring your text and calculator to lecture, recitation, and lab. For recitation assignments we are using the WebAssign homework server. An assignment, submitted through the Internet, will be due almost every week. Missed submittals (late homework) will count as a zero. Do not forget to submit homework in a timely manner!
components of the course are assigned the following
There is a single grade for the course determined by your point total.
To pass, per Department policy, you
must accumulate at least 250 exam points (50%).
The 500 total exam points are not the
simple sum of your exam scores (*). Your net exam
points are based upon the method of derivatives which
retains the "time information" of a student's exam
scores. The method of derivatives awards a few
additional points to students that maintain a positive
exam score slope. In fact, a student can do
relatively poorly on the first exam, continue to improve
on the later exams and in the end obtain a score that
effectively adds up to 10 points (or more). For a
student that maintains roughly the same exam scores
throughout the semester, there is no difference between
the "simple sum" and the "method of derivatives".
Conversely, a student that continues to score lower and
lower on the exams will be penalized, due to their
negative exam slope. It turns out, that predicting
a student's success in P202 (the second-semester course)
hinges mostly on how that student improved upon their
exam scores in P201 throughout the semester, i.e, did
they yield a positive exam slope. In a nut-shell,
the algorithm for the method of derivatives performs the
following: using the method of least squares, a
first-order (linear) equation is fitted through the five
exam scores (final exam is equal to 2 hourly exams), the
fitted line is then evaluated at the
independent-variable of 3.3 (10% beyond the median: Exam
3), that score (the dependent-variable of the fit-line)
is then multiplied by five and this becomes the
student's exam score total. As an example,
consider a student that scores a 50% on Exam 1, 88% on
Exam 2, 78% on Exam 3, and 171/200 on the Final
Exam. The conventional "simple sum" exam score
would be 387 points. But by the method of
derivatives, the net exam score is 397.
Effectively, 10 points were added to the student's point
total because the student continued to improve.
Another more concrete example involves a student that
really struggled on the early exams: A few years ago I
had a student score the following: 19%, 44%, 97%, and
186/200 on the final. The simple sum would have
been 346 points, but by the method of derivatives, the
student obtained 376 exam points and ended up earning a
B– in the course (128 on HMK and 137 on Labs). The
method of derivatives gives the student who scores
poorly on Exam 1, a chance to earn a passing grade in
One laboratory may be missed with the
accompanying loss of points. For each successive
missed lab, the course grade will drop by one letter.
Lecture notes or recitation notes will
not be provided. Attend lecture and recitation, or ask a
fellow classmate to provide you copies.
(Read these instructions carefully!)
Bonus points, earned after the final
exam, based upon discussions among instructor,
recitation instructors, and lab instructors, are
subjectively awarded to students who maintain good
rapport and strive to improve (all facets: exams,
homeworks, labs) throughout the duration of the
The following letter grades are guaranteed
based on total points:
Poor performance in a course is not
considered grounds for a late withdrawal.
UPDATED: January 5, 2017 at 1:04 PM EST