Course Syllabus

This page is mostly for parents; Students should navigate the course through the Modules page or Calendar. 

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Draft Evidence Based Grading Curriculum Guide (we are not using EBG this year)

Course Title: Physics

Level: H

Instructor: Christine Carpenter


          Physics at the Honors level provides students with an in-depth overview of physics topics including light, waves,  electricity and magnetism, mechanics, heat, and energy. The course is designed for students who have a strong proficiency in mathematics, including the ability to easily solve algebraic equations. Students will be expected to express understanding in clear, coherent writing, and to demonstrate mastery of problem-solving techniques. Laboratory work is an integral part of the course. In lab, students will develop foundational science skills, such as experimental design, qualitative and quantitative observations, data and graph analysis, and meaningful communication of scientific results. This rigorous and fast-paced course is suitable for students who can work independently in order to master the material and have advanced skills in reading, writing, math, and data analysis. It is recommended that students also be concurrently enrolled in honors math. This course prepares students for the Introductory Physics MCAS.

Course Sequence:

Sequence subject to change to better to accommodate for students and schedule.

  • Geometric Optics (Snell's Law, Intro to Trig)
  • Mechanical Waves (Sound and Water)
  • Electromagnetic Waves (Light, Microwaves, Radio, etc)
  • Electrostatics and Electric Fields
  • Electric Circuits
  • Electromagnetism and Magnetic Fields
  • Describing Motion (constant velocity and constant acceleration)
  • Explaining Motion (Newton's Laws, Forces, Friction, Universal Gravitation)
  • Conservation of Momentum
  • Conservation of Energy
  • Nuclear Physics
  • MCAS
  • Final Experience - Relativity? (TBA)

Student Engagement Expectations:

Student engagement this year is going to be more important than ever as we navigate the changing schedule and landscape.  Communication and patience are the most important elements!  Students should reach out whenever they need additional support.  Please also be patient with yourselves and with me!  We will learn how to manage this together.  


Required Course Materials:

Laptop and something to write with

  • While most work this year will be completed through the computer or online, we will need to write or draw some items in class and remotely.  Please have access to paper and pencil (or pen) at all times.   

Headphones or Earbuds:

  • Some course content involves watching or making videos. It is great to have the ability to watch a video without imposing sound on others.


  • Students might be provided with the Conceptual Physics textbook by Hewitt. Much of the information we use is available online in multiple formats that can be explored here.  Students might be given the option to take a hard copy of the textbook or access to an online version (or both!).  Students might be asked to complete readings, online assignments, and activities using this resource.  Students should NEVER bring a hardcopy textbook to class daily.  If a student receives a textbook, they must return their textbook in June at the completion of the course or pay for a replacement.  The cost of this book is $100.  

Scientific Calculator

  • The subject of Physics is often very math-based. You should bring a calculator daily. Graphing Calculators, cell phones, or other electronic devices may not always be permitted.  

Grading Policy:

            The final grade for Honors Physics will probably be calculated according to the following breakdown.  

Item Weight
Quarter 1 22 %
Quarter 2 22 %
Quarter 3 22 %
Quarter 4 22 %
Final Experience 12 %
Overall Grade 100%


Semester Grade Details:

Quizzes and Summative Assessments - 65% 

  • There will be a formative check in at the end of each section to monitor student mastery.  Currently these are on Canvas and retaking them is possible. These count minimally in student grades. There will be 2-3 tests per quarter.  

Homework, Lab Activities and Projects - 35%

  • Activities will generally be worth 1-10 points. A larger, long term project might be worth more. Each lab partner must turn in an individual lab activity.
  • Homework will be assigned most nights and is due the following class to receive full credit. Homework will be checked in class or collected via Canvas. Assignments turned in later will not receive a reduction in credit. Activities can be turned in again for more credit. 
Quarter Activity Resubmits Assessment Retakes
Quarter 1 Any activity can be resubmitted a 2nd time for up to full credit. Most Canvas quizzes can be done infinitely  Students who earn <73% can come in at a prearranged time (once) to take a new version of the test and make the grade up to a 73%
Quarter 2 Activities that were turned in more than 3 days late cannot be resubmitted. Your grade stands.  No changes
Quarter 3 Points lost for missing units cannot be recovered, even if work is resubmitted Students who show lack of mastery in a specific area (graphs) may retake a new version of the test at a prearranged time for up to full credit. (Graphs take some people much longer to master than others.)
Quarter 4 No changes No changes

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Graded assignments are posted on the Canvas homework calendar and in PowerSchool.  Students are expected to check assignments and grades once a week. Parents are encouraged to check Powerschool once a month. Currently all details are on Canvas (comments, rubrics) and Powerschool just has numbers.