El Camino College

Physics Department

Physics 1A - Mechanics

Physics 1A
Norm Kadomoto

Class Information
Couse Policies
Course Material
Online Resources
Instructor Home

Class Information:

Physics 1A, Section 1617
Room: Phys 112
MW  12:00 -  1:25 pm
Thur  9:45 - 12:50 pm

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Course Policies:      Course Info as a Word File, Click here


     EXAMS . . . . 500 points                                      900 - 1000   . . A
HOMEWORK  . . 150 points                                      800 -  899.9 . . B
       LAB . . . . . 150 points                                      650 -  799.9 . . C
       FINAL . . . . 200 points                                     550 -  649.9 . . D
      TOTAL       1000 points                                       0  -  549    . . F


Materials Required:
(Lecture)  Physics for Sci. and Eng. 6 th Ed.,  by Serway
(Lab)        Mechanics of Solids,  by  T. N. Wilson.
Ruler and Protractor.


Course Objectives:  Upon completion of this course, you should be able to;

      1. draw a Free-Body-Diagram (FBD) by recognizing each force acting upon a 
               body, and use the FBD to find the effects of these forces on the body.

     2.  analyze physical problems in order to

               a.  isolate and model the physical principle underlying each part of a problem,

               b.  formulate the equation(s) for each part,

               c.  combine and solve the system of equations for the problem, and

               d.  assess the physical reality of the result(s) in terms of the data given.

     3.  demonstrate the ability to

               a.  use different measuring devices, such as the micrometer, ..., and determine

                  the errors that are introduced with each measurement,

               b.  define and use the basic concepts and equations in error theory, and to

                  recognize when to use each equation, and

               c.  analyze data graphically using both linear and logarithmic scales.


Student Learning Outcome: 
1.   Students can recognize the basic physical principles and explain how they are manifested in,
  influenced the behavior of a described physical situation (falling body, colliding bodies...)
2.   Students can identify and apply the applicable laws of mechanics along with the necessary 
  mathematics to successfully solve a mechanics problem.
3.   Students can read and record, with appropriate units and uncertainties, measurements taken
   from a 
vernier caliper and a micrometer caliper.  Students can interpret and analyze that
including error analysis. 

School Policies:   There are a number of school policies about which each

student should be made aware.  I will indicate which page of the current college

catalog (2010-2011) this information can be found.  You can purchase a copy

at the college bookstore or you can read it online at  
        1.  College Mission Statement                       Page  1

            2.  Attendance Policy                                    Page 11

      Standard of Conduct

                Dishonesty                                                 Page 25

                Disciplinary Action                                    Page 26

                Student Grievance                                     Page 29

      Physics Courses and A.S. Degree information         Page 202 - 204        


An important facet for success in any course is attendance.  You should be in class on time and every time.  This means both your body and mind; little can be learned if your mind is a million miles away.  You should listen carefully to the lectures and ASK questions when necessary.  Get the text as soon as possible and try to read the material before it is covered in class.  You will be able to get more out of the lectures and to ask more meaningful questions.

(ATTENDANCE)   Roll is taken at the beginning of the period.  If you are late (bad form), please inform the  instructor at the end of class, or you will be marked absent.  A student may be dropped if s/he misses any day the first two weeks of class.  Also, if you miss more than ten hours of class time up to the end of the semester, you may be dropped.  Being late will be considered as missing  ½  of the class period.  If for any reason you miss 2 or more consecutive meetings please contact the instructor.  It is bad form to drop a class without informing the instructor.  Please leave a phone message or an e-mail.  

(EXAMS)  There will be 4 exams in addition to the final.  For each exams, a student may bring a calculator, pencil(s), eraser, and a 3x5 inch card with anything written on both sides of it by his/her own hand.  There will be  NO  make-up exams!  The lowest exam score may be replaced by the product of 0.81 and the average of the other exams scores.

(LAB)  Lab assignments and their due dates are listed on the calendar.  READ the material suggested in the   lab manual BEFORE coming to class.  Most labs can be finished in the two-hour period, but only if BOTH partners come prepared.  When possible, students will work alone in the lab.  Data taken in the lab may be written in pencil, but lab reports which are handed in should written in ink, or may be written using a sharp, dark pencil.  Points will be deducted for "sloppy" work.

Lab reports will be due within one week, at the beginning of the class, on the dates indicated on the schedule.  Any report turned in after the lecture starts will lose  2 point per school day up to 2 week late.  After the second week, file the report.  It may be useful the next time you take this course.

You should be aware that good work habits and your ability to communicate your thoughts are essential to a successful career in engineering or science.  Most employers are less concerned with hiring an exceptionally bright or talented person than they are with hiring a careful, responsible person who does a job right, gets it done by the deadline, and works well with others.

Complete honesty in the lab is, of course, presupposed.  Students are supposed to know by this time that a scientific experiment is done to obtain information about nature in order to understand her laws.  Any person who measures something in the lab in a way he/she believes valid, and then changes the results to make it agree with some preconceived idea of a "right" result, is not a scientist but a charlatan or quack.   Scientific pursuit of knowledge would be meaningless if people lie about their observations of nature.

(HOMEWORK)    The HW are due at the beginning of class on the due dates indicated on the schedule.  After the lecture starts, HW will be marked late, and  2 points  will be deducted.  After the class  lecture is finished, no HW will be accepted.

Improving your skill in physics is like improving any skill, for example driving a car.  It must be an active, not a passive process. You can listen to many lectures on how to drive a car, but the only way to become proficient is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE !  The best way to practice physics is to struggle with the homework problems.  This makes the HOMEWORK (HW) one of the most important facet of your learning process.  You should go over all relevant examples in the textbook and those done in class before you start working on the homework.  You do not learn physics by listening, you learn by doing.

Start each homework early enough, so that WHEN you get stuck on a problem, or problems, you will  have time to come in and ask for help.

If you have trouble getting assignments done on time, you are either taking too many units, or working  inefficiently, and/or not spending enough time.  You should average 2-3 GOOD hours out of class for each hour in class.

One thing you should never do is copy another student's work and turn it in as your own.  You cannot       learn Physics or any subject by doing this.  Also trying to get credit for someone else's work is called plagiarism.  If  I detect that any part of a solution is copied, both papers will be marked as   0   for the entire set, not just the problem copied.

The FORMAT (included) for the homework MUST be followed.   Points, above and beyond any errors in the problem, will be deducted for errors in the format. 

When I grade each HW problem things that I look for; Neat sketch with labels that define all symbols used,  Equation using symbols on sketch, and  substitution of proper numerical values with units into your equation; (each of these are about 30 %).  Answer worth about 1 to 5 %.  Very little credit will be given for a string of numbers, then the answer if the are no symbolic equations consistent with a sketch.


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WEEK DATE Topic  (Chapter) Lab / Exam
 1  2/14   Vectors  (3, App. A)   
 2  2/21   Kinematics  (2) M-1  Read !!!!
 3  2/28   Projectiles  (4A) M-2  Read !!!!
 4  3/07   1st Condition of Equilibrium  (5A) Exam 1  (to Ch 4A)
 5  3/14   2nd Condition of Equilibrium  (12A) M-4  Read !!!!
 6  3/21   Newton’s 2nd Law  (5B)

 7  3/28   Acceleration w/no rotation,  CM  (9A) 

M-13  Read !!!

 8  4/04   Work - Energy  (7, 8)

Exam 2  (to Ch 5B)



            Spring Break
 9  4/18   Linear Impulse – Momentum  (9B)  
10  4/25   Circular Motion  (10)

M-5   Read !! 

11  5/02   Rotational Dynamics  (10) Exam 3   (to Ch 9)
12  5/09   Angular Impulse – Momentum  (11) M-28 Read !! 
13  5/16   Angular Impulse – Momentum  (11)  
14  5/23   Elasticity,  Simple Harmonic Motion  (12, 15) Exam 4  (to Ch 11)
15  5/30   SHM,  Gravity  (15 13) M - 6  Read !!!!
16  6/06   Gravity  (13)  Final Exam


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Assignment as a Word document, click here.

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Course Material:

(Lecture)  Physics for Sci. and Eng. 6 th Ed.,  by Serway

(Lab)        Mechanics of Solids,  by  T. N. Wilson.
Ruler and Protractor.

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Online Resources: (list related websites as links)

Mechanical Universe - Free Video on Demand 
Graph Paper (Log and Linear)

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El Camino College, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, California 90506
Phone: 310-532-3670 Toll Free: 1-866-ELCAMINO (1-866-352-2646)
 Last Published 7/14/16