The Physics Classroom Topics

1-D Kinematics

The motion of objects in one-dimension are described using word, diagrams, numbers, graphs, and equations.

Newton's Laws

Newton's three laws of motion are explained and their application to the analysis of the motion of objects in one dimension is discussed.

Vectors - Motion and Forces in Two Dimensions

Vector principles and operations are introduced and combined with kinematic principles and Newton's laws to describe, explain and analyze the motion of objects in two dimensions. Applications include riverboat problems, projectiles, inclined planes, and static equilibrium.

Momentum and Its Conservation

The impulse-momentum change theorem and the law of conservation of momentum are introduced, explained and applied to the analysis of collisions of objects.

Work, Energy, and Power

Concepts of work, kinetic energy and potential energy are discussed; these concepts are combined with the work-energy theorem to provide a convenient means of analyzing an object or system of objects moving between an initial and final state.

Circular Motion and Satellite Motion

Newton's laws of motion and kinematic principles are applied to describe and explain the motion of objects moving in circles; specific applications are made to roller coasters and athletics. Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation is then presented and utilized to explain the circular and elliptical motion of planets and satellites.

Thermal Physics

The distinction between heat and temperature is thoroughly explained. Methods of heat transfer are explained. The mathematics associated with temperature changes and phase changes is discussed; its application to the science of calorimetry is presented.

Static Electricity

Basic principles of electrostatics are introduced in order to explain how objects become charged and to describe the effect of those charges on other objects in the neighboring surroundings. Charging methods, electric field lines and the importance of lightning rods on homes are among the topics discussed in this unit.

Current Electricity

The flow of charge through electric circuits is discussed in detail. The variables which cause and hinder the rate of charge flow are explained and the mathematical application of electrical principles to series, parallel and combination circuits is presented.


The nature, properties and behaviors of waves are discussed and illustrated; the unique nature of a standing wave is introduced and explained.

Sound Waves and Music

The nature of sound as a longitudinal, mechanical pressure wave is explained and the properties of sound are discussed. Wave principles of resonance and standing waves are applied in an effort to analyze the physics of musical instruments.

Light Waves and Color

The behavior of light waves is introduced and discussed; polarization, color, diffraction and interference are introduced as supporting evidence of the wave nature of light. Color perception is discussed in detail.

Reflection and the Ray Model of Light

The ray nature of light is used to explain how light reflects off of planar and curved surfaces to produce both real and virtual images; the nature of the images produced by plane mirrors, concave mirrors, and convex mirrors is thoroughly illustrated.

Refraction and the Ray Model of Light

The ray nature of light is used to explain how light refracts at planar and curved surfaces; Snell's law and refraction principles are used to explain a variety of real-world phenomena; refraction principles are combined with ray diagrams to explain why lenses produce images of objects.