AP Physics 1 and 2 Combination

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

Dr. Christe Ann McMenomy

Course Materials Under Revision for 2017-2018

How to Help Your Student Succeed in Physics

Parents Guide


Scholars Online courses are a cooperative effort between the teachers, the students, and their parents. Like the proverbial three-legged stool, if one leg is broken or missing, the stool will topple over. Most students who attempt physics are already fairly mature, but you are still a necessary and important part of your student's education process.

Physics Website Organizatoin

There are three websites for this course; however, most pages in all three sites will be organized by links in the Moodle to course homework pages, and links from the homework assignment pages to all other website pages required for a given assignment.

Grading Practices

Please do not equate exam percentages with the standard 70% = C, 80% = B, 90% = A performance ratings used by many high schools. I use a different scale to help you predict your student's likely performance on the SATs and APs as well as his or her "high school level" performance. The scale below is a rough guide of performance mapped to traditional grades for a sophomore level student; juniors and seniors would need to secure higher levels of performance for the same grade.

Evaluations sent to students contain the raw scores for you to interpret using the scale above. Scores sent as part of official transcripts from Scholars Online are scaled to provide a more accurate comparison for students taking physics at the high school level.

AP expectations: AP Course expectations are set by the College Board, which reviews and certifies each syllabus before allowing teachers to describe classes as "AP". In order to list this course as AP Physics B, students must complete not only all the work for the base Physics course, but additional work as part of the AP option, including specific labs. Please consult the formal course syllabus for a summary of how this course meets or exceeds the College Board requirements.

Helping your Student Meet Expectations

Assignments: To get to the assignment for a given day,

Chats: To get to the chat for the day, use the Scholars Online chat login (available from any page at www.scholarsonline.org).

The Procedures page and the Student Guide have guidelines suggesting how students might schedule completing all the tasks for each week's work. You should go over these suggestions and modify them to suit your student's learning style and outside commitments. Most physics students are at least juniors, and have achieved considerable self-discipline, but they still need help setting their goals and disciplining themselves to get work done in a timely fashion. You will have to decide how much help your student needs, but at the very least, you should meet with him once a week to go over the checklist and make sure that he is completing preparation reading and homework on time.

The Moodle gives the text assignments (which may assume online exercises), homework problems, web lectures, and lab topics for each chat session. Weblectures may refer students to other websites with interactive demonstrations. These take time but allow the student to experience and experiment with different concepts in a way no text medium can provide. Encourage the student to spend the extra time at these exercises, especially during the beginning of the course.

Students often run into problems with individual homework problems, and since I do not collect homework for these (copying them into email is more an exercise in typing than fruitful study of physics), they may lack motivation to actually do the work involved. However, you should encourage your student to complete as many of the exercises as possible, especially during the early units, which establish basic applications of mathematics to physical situations. Students who are attempting AP credit should write out all solutions and save these in a notebook as demonstration of completed work, if this becomes an issue.

All assigned exercises either have answers listed in the back of the book or will have the answers posted on the Moodle forums, so the student will know when he has succeeded. Check periodically to make sure that the work is being done in time for class and verify that the "post" problem is posted prior to the start of each class session. After class, these postings (and any annotations mycroft makes, in case the student gets the problem wrong) will provide completely-worked answers for all assigned problems, so you can go over the work with your student.

My experience has been that students must regularly complete all the homework assigned, not just "their own problem", in order to master the material and perform well on standardized tests..

Web readings

I often post optional website readings; I may request students to view other web resources as well. While I check the sites to determine their suitability for Scholars Online students prior to posting my web pages, I do not follow all the links from every outside site, nor can I guarantee that such a site will remain unchanged between the time I select it and the time that you view it. If you have questions about the suitability of these sites, I encourage you to check them before letting your student view them, and to let me know if you have concerns about specific sites.

Chat Sessions

Our class sessions are discussion and solution sessions. I try to present all lecture material ahead of time on my web pages, so that we can use the chat periods for student input and homework review. As a result, chats can seem somewhat chaotic, and "start and stop" as students try to type in their questions, answers, and comments. To make chats as useful as possible, follow these guidelines:

Weekly Work Checklist

In order for you to keep track of whether your student is completing the work, you might want to set up your own checklist. Each chat session requires the student to complete items 1-3 and possibly #4. Each chapter requires the student to complete the quiz. Only students taking the AP option are required to complete a minimum number of labs.

  1. read my physics web lecture
  2. read a section of Physics
  3. complete assigned homework problems
  4. complete associated web or interactive exercises
  5. take the online quizzes (will be on the Moodle Physics Page)
  6. perform and report on lab exercise (must be done if student is taking the AP option).

Students are assinged a set of homework problems for each chat sessions. They are expected to complete all assigned problems. Each chat session has an accompanying Moodle forum or bulletin board link on the Moodle Physics homepage. Students are assigned one or two problems from the set and are expected to "post" complete solutions for the problem that show not only all of the mathematical calculations, but also explain the assumptions and solution method. [This exercise is especially important for students taking the AP option.] When all students meet their posting responsibilities, the Moodle pages contain a complete solution set for student review.

Moodle quizzes are open during the week following completion of the unit they cover, then closed except for a brief "makeup-and-review" period prior to the semester exam. During the open period, students may take the quiz more than once; high score counts. Be sure that your students take the quiz early enough in the open period to study and retake the quiz if there are significant problems. Students are able to review answers for each Moodle online quiz once they submit it. If either you or they are still confused about the answers, please e-mail me.

OnLine Parent Help

You should refer to this guide, to the FAQs page, and to the Procedures page frequently. These pages contain material that was developed in answer to questions other parents have asked me, so many of your questions may be answered already in one of these pages.

The Moodle course page will have the homework solutions that students have posted; if a student is unable to complete a problem, mycroft will post an answer. You can use this site to help your student review solutions to homework problems if he or she is having trouble completing them.

Contacting the Teacher

E-mail: Be aware that specialized functionality may not translate to other email programs. In particular, certain kinds of formating in Microsoft Outlook and Exchange will not appear except on other Word-equipped platforms. To avoid problems:

You should also feel free to e-mail me with specific questions at any time, and especially with corrections to the web materials (misspellings, missing links, possible quiz key or homework key errors).

I will also schedule at least one evening session per month when I will be "in my office", that is, online in my chat classroom, and available to parents for questions and help. Please watch your mail for announcements of these times.