The course focuses on classical mechanics and simple electrical circuits using an algebraic approach. It assumes no prior knowledge of physics and emphasizes on building qualitative and quantitative reasoning in physical thinking. Students will learn critical skills in scientific inquiry, investigation, modeling, diagramming, unit analysis, laboratory techniques, and data analysis. Students who complete all four sessions of the course will be prepared to take the AP Physics 1 exam in May.

Mandatory Prerequisites:

  • N210A - AP Physics 1 (Summer Course)


The First Day of Class

Students should arrive at least 5 minutes before starting time to each class with the following materials:

  • Student Binder (this will be distributed to students at their first class)
  • Laboratory Notebook: You can purchase one here.
  • Notebook with Paper
  • Pencils and Erasers
  • Completed Homework Assignments
  • A Scientific Calculator

Lecture notes will be given to students at the beginning of each class.  It is their responsibility to keep them in their binders.  

No food or drink is allowed in the classroom.

Self-Study Multimedia Lessons

Many lessons have self-study multimedia lessons that serve as preview or review of the lesson materials. Use a video as a resource to enhance your understanding of the lecture.


We will be using an Open Source textbook from OpenStat, a unit of Rice University. The electronic version will be provided as reading materials in each chapter. If you would like to have a paper copy, you can purchase one here.

You may also use the following textbook commonly used in high school and first-year college physics classes.

Halliday, D., Resnick, R., and Walker, J. (2010). Fundamentals of Physics Extended. 9th Edition, Wiley. ISBN-13: 978-0470469088

NOTE: This is a college level textbook and will be used in all Physics Olympiad classes at Ardent Academy.  You should purchase the book if you plan to complete the Ardent Academy Physics Olympiad curriculum.  

Another way to save money is to buy a used and older edition of the book or a similar AP Physics C textbook.  These older books are good enough for our class.  You just need to be motivated to find the appropriate chapters to study during the course.


Logger Pro - Video Analysis Software

Here are links to download the software you requested from Vernier Software & Technology. After the file has downloaded to your computer, double-click the file, and enter the password to install the software.

Logger Pro 3.9 with sample movies (Windows)


Password: experiment

Logger Pro 3.9 with sample movies (Mac OS X)


Password: experiment

Detailed Step-by-Step Guide

Do you need more detailed instructions on how to download and install our software? Please read our detailed download instructions online:


Homework assignments are handed out at the end of class each lesson.  The assignments are due at the beginning of the following class.  Homework is graded by the TA and results are posted on the grade book.  After the homework is graded it is returned to the students and answers and solutions are released on the website. Each week, a new discussion will be available in the student forum where students may ask questions or discuss answers for specific homework assignments among themselves.

Here at Ardent Academy for Gifted Youth, we understand the importance of the individual growth of our students.  In the classroom, during lectures and activities, we foster a positive learning environment where students develop communication and cooperation skills.  They are introduced to novel topics and gain some initial experience in critical thinking skills directly related to those topics.  However, learning should not be limited to what occurs in the classroom.

A large portion of the academic success of our students relies on persistence and dedication - when we encounter a problem we do not understand, we do not give up but rather approach it from all possible perspectives.  This is an integral part of problem solving and critical thinking development.  Our homework reflects the expectation that students challenge and motivate themselves.  We also expect students to take personal responsibility for their education.  That is why, we encourage students to attempt homework to the best of their ability without additional help, at least the first time around.  Below is more about our homework policies and expectations.

Our homework is designed based on a 40-40-20 model:

  • 40% of homework questions are directly related to sample questions discussed in Lecture.
  • 40% of homework questions are specifically meant to be tricky when possible.  These questions appear to be simple but can often trick students into making careless mistakes.  This teaches students to read carefully, and answer questions quickly and effectively.
  • 20% of homework questions are at USA Physics Olympiad competition level.  These questions are available to students who want an additional challenge.  It is up to the students' discretion whether or not you complete these questions.

What Should Students Do With Returned Homework?

Homework is typically returned the week after it is turned in.  When students get their homework back we recommend:

  1. The student attempts to correct missed answers individually.  This allows students to reflect upon their mistakes, try alternate strategies and examine in what ways their original way of thinking lead to an incorrect answer.  Learning from mistakes is important to all academics.  It reduces the likelihood of repeated mistakes.
  2. The student reviews the step-by-step solutions available on our website.  Each homework assignment has solutions available (after the assignment is graded).  If after a student attempts the problem again, he still struggles, the solutions available online may help in clarifying the appropriate approach to a particular problem.
  3. The student asks a parent for help on advanced concepts.  Only after the student has done everything he can on his own do we encourage parents to get involved.  As discussed earlier, some of the questions will be above grade level and while solutions are provided, sometimes parents can explain an advanced concept in a way that is personalized to the student.  Parents may also offer alternate approaches.  We respect the use of multiple strategies, so if a parent knows another way to solve the same problem, they may offer help in that way as well.

What Do the Grades Really Mean?

We use grades mostly to evaluate student progress.  Students need only to have a C or above to continue in the course.  Remember that this curriculum is geared specifically for Gifted students.  A grade of B or C does not mean the student is below average; all of our students are above average.  However, missing assignments, lowered quality or inconsistency of work show us that a student may not have the positive work ethic that we expect.  Since homework constitutes 90% of a student's grade, it can have a large impact.  Any concerns will result in a parent-teacher conference.

Grading Scale

  • 75% - 100%    A
  • 60% - 74%      B
  • 40% - 59%      C

For more information about our policies, please visit the Course Syllabus.

Missing Classes

If you will miss a class, you can ask the TA to send you lecture notes and homework electronically. You should self-study the materials using the lecture presentation and lecture note solutions.  Homework will still be assigned in the student's absence and it is their responsibility to make-up that work.  If students have questions on missed assignments they may come to class early, stay late, use the class forum or email the TA.