AP Physics 1 and 2 Combination

Chat times for 2017-2018
12:30pm-2pm ET/9:30am-11am PT

Dr. Christe Ann McMenomy

Laboratory Requirements and Equipment


Completion of twelve specific labs is required for students taking only the Core Course. A set of eighteen labs will be required for students taking the Core + AP Option combination course.

All labs for credit must be completed by the close of the school year in June, unless you make special arrangements with the instructor.

Most lab assignments will be available from the web site at the start of the session; several will be added through the course of the year. Most labs will be associated with specific topics, and you are encouraged to complete the lab and send in the report during during the assignment period. You make make arrangements to complete the other labs out of sequence if you have trouble obtaining equipment.

IMPORTANT! For safety reasons, both you and your parents must read the safety procedures before starting the lab sequence. Your parents must sign and send a copy of the lab permission letter to me before I can accept any lab reports from you for credit.

Lab Equipment

Note: this list is currently under review for the 2017-2018 academic year.

I will put together a kit that will include the following items. Cost is about $100, including postage. If you are interested, please let me know so that I can order the equipment in time for class to start.

  • Springs, both a selection and a standard spring for comparing k values
  • Lenses, both a selection and standard lenses for comparing focal length determinations
  • -10C to 110C Centigrade thermometer
  • An acrylic prism
  • A tuning fork
  • A small laser pen or laser/LED combination flashlight
  • A selection of pulleys for determining mechanical advantage
  • Flat mirrors, concave mirros, and convex mirrors
  • Ground glass
  • Diffraction grating
  • A spectroscope
  • A selection of magnets including a strong ceramic magnet
  • Iron filings
  • 4-6 Compasses for mapping a magnetic field
  • Red enamel magnet wire for building an electric motor
  • A selection of resistors and capacitors for circuit work
  • A circuit switch
  • Alligator clips and wire for building circuits
  • Small light bulbs for circuits
  • An ammeter and/or voltmeter for measuring current in circuits
  • Spring scales with 100g/1N and 500g/5N accuracy
  • Plastic tubing

In addition, you will need to supply some materials for various experiments for fall quarter.

  • Various pieces of wood and doweling or other clever ways to support or suspend equipment
  • Straight pins (like sewing pins)
  • Nails
  • Calibrated weights (Possibilities: a nickel weighs 5 grams; most medications come in 500 milligram divisions.)
  • String (use nylon fishing wire, it is strong and relatively frictionless).
  • Stopwatch accurate to 1/10 of a second
  • 2 liter soda pop bottle
  • Small plastic bottle (test tube or flower tube, perfume sample bottle) that will fit through the mouth of a soda pop bottle.
  • Meter sticks and foot ruler divided on one side into centimeters and millimeters
  • Balloons
  • Buckets
  • Markers
  • Styrofoam cups
  • Straws
  • Stove and pots for heating water
  • Batteries
  • Flash light bulbs
  • Rubber bands
  • Colored cellophane
  • Protractors (the small, transparent plastic kind)


Lab equipment may be borrowed from schools or purchased. Most physics principles can be demonstrated using household equipment; measuring these phenomena accurately gets trickier, and that's where we have to be the most inventive. However, if you are willing to make do with "home" accuracy instead of "lab grade" equipment, you can still learn the priniciples of physics...and remember: most of our household equipment such as voltmeters are better than the ones used by the original scientists who discovered these principles. If you want more accurate equipment, you should check my growing list of mail order suppliers.