AP Physics 1 and 2
On-Line for the 2020-2021 School Year
Teacher: Dr. Jack Kernion
Text (required): OpenStax, College Physics for AP Courses, (Rice University, 2015) (This is an online text, available for free download)
The three course descriptions on this page are for:
1. The first semester course that prepares the student to take the AP Physics 1 test.
2. The slower paced full-year AP Physics 1 course that accomplishes the same objectives over a longer time-frame.
3. The second semester course that prepares the student for the AP Physics 2 test.
The pacing and scope for each course is different based on the topics required for coverage by the College Board. The backbone of each course is learning based on a wide variety of clearly defined sequential activities, but students will also have the support of the instructor through a discussion forum and through live (optional) video sessions every other Wednesday at 1:30 pm (US Eastern Time). Students are not required to login to the video sessions, which are recorded for later viewing, but can certainly benefit from the live interactions. Attendance is highly recommended.
Who should apply: These courses are open to students in grades 9 to 12 who have successfully completed one year of Physical Science or Chemistry (any level), and have completed or will concurrently take Algebra 2, Geometry, and Trigonometry. Motivated, qualified, and well-organized students who have the discipline to work consistently over the entire year will do well in AP Physics 1 and 2. Students who are not willing to work hard and follow the pacing guides each and every day should not take this course. It is expected that students will spend between 10 and 12 hours per week watching lectures, practicing problems, performing lab activities, and taking assessments. It is required that prospective students take the math-readiness test found at the instructor's website, physics-prep.com, prior to completing the application for the course.
How to apply: The application for this course can be found here. Please do not apply for the course until you have completed the math readiness test and feel that you are properly prepared.
AP Physics 1 (first semester intensive course or full year course): Tuition: Early Bird: $775 (prior to June 30, 2020), Regular: $825 (after June 30, 2020)
AP Physics 2 (second semester intensive course only): Tuition: $500
Students who sign up for the first semester AP Physics 1 course will be working at a pace that allows them to take the AP Physics 2 course in the second semester. If the student finds the pacing of the first semester AP Physics 1 course to be too quick, he or she can switch to the full-year AP Physics 1 course at no cost. The deadline to make any course switch is November 15, 2020.
Textbook: OpenStax, College Physics for AP Courses, (Rice University, 2015). This free online textbook is recommended by the College Board and has resources specifically meant for AP Physics 1 and 2. Click here to download this text.
Lab Materials: Most of the devices/materials needed to conduct the lab activities can be found in a typical household. Any materials that are not available can be inexpensively purchased at a hardware store or online. Detailed hands-on lab information can be found here.
Schedule: The first semester AP Physics 1 course will begin on August 19, 2020 and conclude on December 23, 2020. The full-year AP Physics 1 course will begin on August 26, 2020 and conclude in May, 2021. The second semester AP Physics 2 course will begin on January 6, 2021 and conclude in May, 2021.
Technical requirements: All students must have high-speed internet access, a scientific calculator, a scanner, and an email address (gmail preferred, as google groups are used for the discussion forum).
Course descriptions: The Physics 1 course covers algebra-based introductory physics topics. These topics include the same material found in a first-semester college physics course typically taken by science students with non-engineering majors. Physics 1 emphasizes understanding what the College Board has identified as the "Big Ideas" and the "Science Process Skills and Practices" necessary to move forward in other science courses. To accomplish this goal, we will focus on a method of learning known as "inquiry-based instruction," in which a student’s curiosity leads them to investigate and understand physics concepts and ideas. This course emphasizes long-term retention of course concepts and will thoroughly prepare students for the AP Physics 1 exam. The following topics are covered in Physics 1: Kinematics in 1- and 2-Dimensions, Newton's Laws of Motion, The Conservation Laws, Rotation, Simple Harmonic Motion, Waves, Sound, Electrostatics, and Simple Circuit Analysis. Each unit of the course contains a "workflow" that guides the student through the material found on the unit assessments. The workflow is a combination of video lectures, lab activities, practice problems with complete solutions, quizzes, and a unit test (see below). The courses are highly organized and easy to follow. A thorough review of the course work (with practice tests) occurs over several weeks prior to the AP test.
The Physics 2 course covers the following topics: Electric Field, Complex Circuit Analysis, Magnetism, Fluid Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Light, Geometric Optics, and Atomic and Nuclear Physics. This set of topics are typically found in a second-semester college physics course and are those covered on the AP Physics 2 exam.
How the courses work: These courses have three components: 1. Online learning based on self-study using the course resources. A lab notebook is required so that all lab activities are properly recorded for future use. Pacing guides are provided that will help the student appropriately cover each activity in a timely fashion. The suggested due dates for the assessments are found in the pacing guides. Deadlines for work in each unit will be provided as well. Work completed after the deadline will receive a score of zero. 2. A discussion forum where students can interact with the instructor and others in the same course. 3. Live video sessions are scheduled once every other Wednesday at 1:30 pm (US Eastern Time). The sessions last one hour. Student attendance is optional but highly recommended. During the live sessions the instructor will share information based on the suggested class schedule and be available to answer questions. The live sessions are recorded (and posted on the Physics Prep website) for viewing at a later time. The multiple choice sections of the quizzes and summative test found in each unit will scored by the computer and be used to determine student grades. Each test will also contain free-response questions (self-graded by the student based upon a scoring rubric) that are essential in the preparation for the AP Physics tests. Thus, the free-response work done by the student must be scanned into a computer and submitted to the instructor. If all free-response work for the course is submitted in a complete and acceptable format, the student grade will be increased based on the quality of the work. Failure to submit free-response work will result in loss of course points. Lab reports are handled in the same manner. Specific lab reports, assigned by the instructor, will have to be submitted for evaluation by the instructor. Finally, there will be mandatory assignments that will require the student to submit responses to teacher questions that prove conceptual understanding of the topics covered in each unit. A course schedule (with pacing guides, deadline dates, text readings, and suggested text-based practice problems) will be sent to the student in the summer prior to the start of the course. All registered students will have access to a student dashboard where important course information, an online grade book, an assignment submission upload form, and live session recordings can be found.
Instructor qualifications: Dr. Kernion is a veteran AP Physics teacher who has been guiding talented students for over 30 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Ceramic Science and Engineering at Penn State and began his career as a research engineer for US Steel. After taking science education courses at the University of Pittsburgh to gain secondary education certification in Physics and Chemistry, he began his teaching career in 1986. Dr. Kernion has also earned a Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Duquesne University and Doctor of Education degree in STEM Education at the University of Pittsburgh. His dissertation topic was Scientific Argumentation in an Online AP Physics 1 Course. He has also served as the science department chair for the North Allegheny School District (one of Pennsylvania's most highly rated districts) for much of his teaching career, with a focus on curricular design and teacher training. One of the most important aspects of Dr. Kernion's teaching is his emphasis on methodology and conceptual development over memorization. His students learn the "Big Ideas," which he has been presenting for years, long before it was the latest trend in high school education. His courses emphasize this long-term learning method. Consequently, any student, regardless of his or her learning style, can easily plug into the flow of the course and gain a deep understanding of the material. This will be Dr. Kernion's fifth year with PA Homeschoolers. He is very excited to be a part of the faculty and to broaden his reach to the homeschool community. Interestingly, Dr. Kernion's twin brother, Mark, is an AP Chemistry teacher for PA Homeschoolers. The effectiveness of Mark's AP Chemistry course matches Jack's AP Physics courses due to similarity in style and rigor. Students who want to have a seamless AP science experience should consider both courses during their high school career.
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