Vitruvian Man

PHYC 130: Fundamentals of Physics I, Section 3434 Spring 2018

Grossmont College, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Instructor: Dr. Philip Blanco

Phone: (619) 644-7312.

Class meetings: Lectures Mondays/Wednesdays 11:00-12:15pm in 34-106.
Laboratory Thursdays (section 3434) or Fridays (section 2000) 11:00am-1:50pm in 34-130.

Course webpage:

Office hours: Mon 2:00-4:30pm, or by appointment. Note: To avoid time conflicts with other students in other classes, please let me know in person or via email when you intend to arrive. Other meeting times can also be arranged in advance. Also see below for other ways to get help.


Exam 3 equation sheet.

Wedneday May 9 class CANCELLED - no need to show up. Do some MasteringPhysics instead. Thursday/Friday lab section will consist of workbook + lecture + video on energy.

2018 Apr 20: Wednesday quiz: Buoyancy and Newton's 3rd law. Lab - momentum demonstrations and video.

2018 Apr 14: Reminder - centripetal acceleration lab reports due at start of lecture on Monday! No quiz this week.

2018 Apr 7: Exam 2 equation sheet.

2018 Mar 30: Wednesday quiz: Free body diagrams. Lab: Circular motion.

2018 Mar 17: Wednesday quiz Newton's 2nd law in 2D.

2018 Feb 23: Gravity lab reports due at start of exam on Thurs/Fri. As promised, here is the EquationSheet for our first exam. Bring a Datalink 26760, pencil, pen, scientific calculator.

2018 Feb 15: Lab cancelled today - work on MasteringPhysics and lab reports due next Wednesday at start of lecture.

Wednesday quiz: Vector addition/subtraction.
Lab reports for the force vectors experiment are due at the start of lecture on Wed Feb 21. Please read the information on lab report formats at the link below.

Feb 3: Remaining Measurement/Trigonometry labs to be handed in at start of Monday's lecture. Wednesday Quiz: Significant figures, unit conversions, density, motion graphs. Thursday/Friday lab: Force Vectors (see the link below), requires report.

Jan 31: Quiz 1 on Wednesday Jan 31 will be on Trigonometry, Algebra, Precalculus: Right triangles, radians, simultaneous equations, limits of functions.

Used copies of the 4th edition Student Workbook can be found affordably online. You only need volume 1 for this class, and it's OK if the workbook has writing in it. See Course Materials below for ISBN information.

If you are rusty on trigonometry and vectors, a good resource is the book Get Ready for Physics by Edward Adelson, designed to accompany our text book. Used copies are available online for under $10.

Quick Links:


Feb 16-19 Fri-Mon: Presidents' Day holiday (campus closed)
Mar 1 Thu: EXAM #1
Mar 2 Fri: Last day to apply for Pass / No Pass (CR/NCR) grading option
Mar 26-30: No class (Spring Break)
Apr 12 Thu: EXAM #2
Apr 27 Fri: Last day to withdraw from course (a letter grade must be recorded after this date)
May 17 Thu: EXAM #3
May 30 Wed: FINAL EXAM 11:35am-1-35pm.

Note: Mid-term exam dates (always on a Thursday, replacing a lab period) may "slip" by 1 week depending on our pace; you will be informed of any changes in advance. If there is no mid-term exam on a given date, there will still be a quiz and a lab, so please don't miss Thursdays!

Conflicts? Please let the instructor know as soon as possible. However, please note that no make-ups are offered for any reason for mid-term exams, quizzes, or labs (see below). Instead, the lowest scoring assignment in each category is dropped from the grade calculation.


Physics 130 is the first of a 2-semester calculus-based sequence in physics, designed for life-science majors. This course covers kinematics, mechanics, work and energy, properties of matter, heat and thermal effects, and vibrations and waves. The laboratory component emphasizes the general methods of physics and physical measurement in these topics.

Prerequisite: A "C" or "CR" or higher, or concurrent enrollment in Math 180 or equivalent.

Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

Required Course Materials:

Course Assignments and Grading Policy

The approximate grading scale for this class is:

A: > 85%.   B: 70-85%.   C: 60-70%.   D: 55-60% or F: < 55%.

Grades near the upper and lower bounds of these ranges will be modified by "+ and "-", as described in the Grossmont College Catalog (note that there is no C-, D+, or D- grade).

Actual grade boundaries may change slightly, and depend on the difficulty of exams and homework assignments - NOT on class performance (i.e. there is no "curve" or set quota for each grade). This means that:

  1. Everyone in the class can get an "A".
  2. You are not in competition with your fellow students. In fact, working together is actively encouraged, as long as tasks submitted for grading are your own, original work.
Your grade will be calculated from a combination of quizzes, homework assignments, mid-term exams, final exam, and laboratory reports, as described below. Please note that this section of PHYC130 has a no make-ups policy. Instead, your lowest scoring mid-term exam, laboratory report, and quiz will be dropped from the grade calculation.

Weekly Quizzes (15% of total grade)

Scheduled at the beginning of most lab periods, these will consist of conceptual questions and short-answer questions. There are no make-ups allowed; instead your lowest-scoring quiz will be dropped from your grade calculation. Quiz topics will be announced the previous Wednesday in class and posted on the course web page.

Homework (25% of total grade)

Weekly homework will be assigned on the MasteringPhysics website, usually due the following week. After registering with MasteringPhysics, you will need to join the online course BLANCOSP18 to receive credit for all your hard work.

Notification of assignments will be on the course web page. You may be asked to show your "journal" of written work in answering online problems. Homework may also be assigned using the Student Workbook accompanying the textbook - you will be asked to complete sections and tear them out to be handed in.

Learning physics means doing physics - discussing concepts, working in the laboratory, and solving lots of physics problems! To analyze the homework problems, you may work together in study groups, and you may ask us for help. However, you must complete the assigned homework on your own, and not copy information from another student or another source.

Mid-term Exams (20% of total grade)

Held during lab periods on Tuesdays (see calendar), there will be at least 3 mid-term exams during the semester. These exams are "closed book", i.e. no outside information may be used. A list of equations and constant values will be provided, but you are expected to learn the definitions and units of physical quantities. There are no make-ups allowed; instead, your lowest-scoring mid-term exam will be dropped from your grade calculation.

Laboratory Reports (25% of total grade)

A few "fill-in-the-blanks" labs are due at the end of the lab period. The rest will be due at the following lab period. A separate document describes the requirements for lab notebooks and reports. There are no make-ups allowed; instead, your lowest-scoring lab will be dropped from your grade calculation. Although you will work with at least one lab partner to obtain data, there is no "group credit- all analysis and other work submitted for grading must be your own.

Each laboratory report is graded out of 20 points. For late write-ups, 2 points may be deducted for each day late, up to 10 points overall.

Final Exam: May 30 Wed, 11:35am-1-35pm. (15% of total grade)

The comprehensive final exam will cover all material, but with an emphasis on the later, more advanced topics covered. It is your responsibility to inform the instructor of conflicts with other exams so that arrangements can be made.

Academic Integrity

Unless otherwise noted, all exams are ``closed book'', which means absolutely no recorded information may be brought in from the outside. You will be provided with relevant formulae and numerical values for all tests.

For tests (quizzes and mid-terms), programmable calculators are not permitted, and cellphones and other electronic devices must be off. Electronic dictionaries are not permitted, but with prior approval you may use a published foreign language to English dictionary. The instructor may use video recording equipment to monitor exams, and software designed to detect plagiarism on homework assignments or multiple-choice tests.

Quizzes, Mid-terms, Laboratory Reports, Homeworks, and the Final exam will be designed to test understanding, not memory, so cheating by plagiarism or smuggling outside material will not help you. Academic dishonesty is a serious action and will not be tolerated, since it compromises the integrity of scholarship and the value of hard-earned grades for all students at Grossmont. It includes, but is not limited to, copying another's work, allowing someone to copy your work, talking during an exam or quiz, giving information to another student during an exam or quiz, using notes on an exam or quiz, or having another person take a test for you.

Grossmont's policy will be strictly enforced. Cheating and plagiarism (using as one's own ideas writings, materials, or images of someone else without acknowledgement or permission) can result in any one of a variety of sanctions. Such penalties may range from an adjusted grade on the particular exam, paper, project, or assignment (all of which may lead to a failing grade in the course) to, under certain conditions, suspension or expulsion from a class, program or the college. For further clarification and information on these issues, please consult with your instructor or contact the office of the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.

Classroom Conduct

Laws control the lesser person. Right conduct controls the greater one. ~ Chinese Proverb
"Be excellent to each other!" ~ Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

All students should be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct, which will be strictly enforced. The Code of Conduct may be found in the course catalog. In addition, please observe these guidelines out of consideration for your fellow students and your instructor, so that we may all enjoy a pleasant and productive learning environment.

Arriving at class:

Attendance is usually optional, but may be taken at any class meeting. Please arrive "ready to learn", i.e. with your belongings in order, no food or drink, and no need to use the restroom during lecture (see below).

After 3 consecutive absences (usually judged by missed labs and/or quizzes), Grossmont's policy allows the instructor to drop a student from class, but do not assume this will happen automatically if you simply fail to show up!

Leaving class:

Students leaving the classroom during lecture time will not be allowed to return! Otherwise this behavior becomes an annoying distraction to your fellow students and the instructor. If you think you may need to use the restroom, it is better to do so beforehand and be a few minutes late for lecture than to leave and return in the middle of the lecture.

If you have a good reason to leave early, please notify the instructor at the start of lecture, then find a seat where you can leave without disturbing others unnecessarily.

In the Classroom:

Productive and respectful interaction with classmates and instructor is encouraged, while any behavior which disrupts the learning environment will not be tolerated.

This includes chatting, chewing, gesturing, passing notes, sleeping, reading non-classroom material, use of headphones, cellphones or portable electronics. (Either silence your cellphone, or place it where you can cancel the ring-tone within 2 seconds).

Note that no recordings of audio, images, or video are permitted in the classroom or lab. This is to preserve the privacy rights of your fellow students, and the integrity and academic freedom of the learning environment. Use of such devices will be treated as disruptive even if done in a clandestine manner.

Possible sanctions for disruptive behavior include: ejection from the lecture, a 2-lecture suspension, and disciplinary action by the college.

In the Laboratory:

In addition to the rules for classroom behavior above, there is a separate lab safety policy which you will be asked to read and sign.

Help is available!

In addition to office hours, please feel free to contact me via email if you are "stuck". The Physics Study Center is open Monday-Thursday 8am-4pm. You are welcome to study here and use the books and computers, which have a link to Vector exercises from Physics Academic Software, and can be used to access the textbook or MasteringPhysics websites.

Also, Grossmont offers some great resources to help you do well:

Philip Blanco, Physics 130, Grossmont College