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Physics 4A: Physics for Scientists & Engineers I
Spring 2018 Course Syllabus

Instructor Information
Name: Carlos E. Figueroa
Office Hours: see website
Office Location: 813
Phone: 831.479.6520 & 768.7971 (home)

Course Information
Title: Physics for Scientists & Enigeers I (Mechanics)
Sections: 103538, 103539, 103540
Prerequistes: Phys 11 (or algebra-based high school physics) & Math 5A
Meetings: Lecture in Room 804, 11:10-12:25 pm; Labs in Room 802, 11:10-2:15pm (W), 2:30-5:35pm (W), and 11:30-2:35pm (F); PLC in Room 834 is TBA.


Textbook: Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A strategic Approach (4th Edition but all editions accepted) by Knight
Laboratory Manual: Posted online at

Learner Outcomes
1. Analyze and solve novel problems using the concepts, equations and methods of mechanics, fluids, and waves in both independent and collaborative settings.
2. Investigate physical phenomena experimentally using appropriate equipment and methods, and make valid comparisons with theoretical predictions.
3. Clearly communicate results of scientific inquiries in both oral and written form.

Grading Polcy
The course grade is based on the following weighted percentages:

Problem Sets 10%
Problem Set Quizzes 08%
Concept Quizzes 08%
PLC Activities 05%
Exams 1 & 2 34%
Final Exam 17%
Weekly Lab Reports 10%
Formal Lab Report 03%
Modeling Project 05%

Note: You will automatically be dropped from this course if you miss seven class!
Problem Sets, Quizzes, Exams & PLC Activities
Problem Sets
: Problem sets must follow the required format and are due approximately due every two weeks at 11:10 pm on the due date. Full credit is given for work that is (i) complete, (ii) correct, and (iii) clearly presented. I encourage you to work on problems in groups--but you must write up your own solutions individually. Due dates are fluid, so come to class. 

Problem quizzes are designed to check your understanding of a single topic/problem set. They are generally taken on the day the problem set is turned in. Problem quizzes are closed book and closed notes, except for a predetermined set of equations from the instructor.

Concept Quizzes: Concept quizzes emphasize physics concepts and relationships rather than answer to numerical problems. Concept quizzes are answered individually after small group discussions. They are generally taken on Thursday's.

Exams & Final Exam: There will be two exams (Chapters 1-6 & Chapters 7-11) and a comprehensive final exam (Chapters 1-11 & 15-17). Each exam will cover material from the lectures, problem sets and concept quizzes. Exams are closed book, but you will be provided with an “Equation Sheet” for each exam. A written excuse or prior notification must be provided if an exam is missed.

TBA (To Be Arranged) Hours or PLC Activities: The drop-in PLC (Physics/Engr Learning Center/STEM Center, Room 834) will be open every day. You are required to complete PLC activities that will take approximately 50 minutes per week and are due every Friday. These activities are designed to support analystical and conceptual learning of the material and should be worked in small groups for best learning. To get credit for the PLC activities each week, you must show your work to a tutor or instructor in the PLC and have them initial a sign out sheet. All PLC exercises and experiments are posted on the Physics 4A web site at: The weekly schedule of topics for TBA assignments is listed below.

PLC Activities
PLC 1: Motion Diagrams & Plots
PLC 2: Motion Physlets
PLC 3: Vectors & Two-dimensional Motion
PLC 4: Projectile Motion
PLC 5: Newton's 2nd Law
PLC 6: Review for Exam 1
PLC 8: Energy
PLC 9: Collisions, Momentum & Bar Diagrams
PLC 10: Unknown Mass Project
PLC 11: Review for Exam 2
PLC 12: Modeling Project Check-in
PLC 13: Waves

Laboratories: Active participation and attendance in lab is mandatory. If two labs are missed you will be dropped automatically from the course. Weekly lab reports are due each week on Monday at the beginning of lecture that includes the experimental procedures, data organized into tables or graphs, calculations/results and an interpretation and discussion of the experiment (see laboratory grading rubric).

Students with disabilities:
Students needing accommodations should inform the instructor. As required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), accommodations are provided to insure equal access for students with verified disabilities. To determine if you qualify or need assistance with an accommodation, please contact ACCESSIBILITY SUPPORT CENTER (Formerly DSPS), Room 1073, (831)479-6379.