Fundamentals of Physics (PHYS*1300)

Code and section: PHYS*1300*01

Term: Fall 2020

Instructor: Maher Bakri-Kassem, Matt Steffler, Orbax


Course Information


Please note that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may necessitate a revision of the format of course offerings and academic schedules. Any such changes will be announced via Courselink and/or class email. All University-wide decisions will be posted on the COVID-19 website and circulated by email.


The University will not normally require verification of illness (doctor's notes) for fall 2020 or winter 2021 semester courses.  However, requests for Academic Consideration may still require medical documentation as appropriate.

General Information

This course introduces students to fundamental phenomena in physics, with particular emphasis on applications to the biological sciences. Topics include: analyzing one-dimensional and two-dimensional motion; Newton’s laws; momentum, energy and associated conservation laws; interactions between charges, resistive direct-current circuits; the fundamentals of waves, with applications to acoustics; ionizing radiation, radioactivity and medical applications. This course is designed for students who have not completed 4U Physics (or equivalent): students with credit in 4U Physics (or equivalent) may not take this course for credit.

Course Credit Weight: 0.5

Main Course Contact

Quiz Room Supervisor Office Email
Cindy Wells SSC1101A

Please contact the Quiz Room Supervisor with all course related inquiries, to report any illness that prohibits you from meeting the course requirements or to report any errors in your courselink record.


Students in this course will need to use Courselink to check their term marks.  ““As soon as possible, you should check that you can log in to Courselink”“:


Lecturer Office Email
Orbax  Off campus
Matt Steffler Off campus
Maher Bakri-Kassem Off campus

Lecture Sections

Section Day Time Location
01 Monday, Wednesday and Friday 4:30 pm – 5:20 pm Zoom*
02 Monday, Wednesday and Friday 1:30 pm – 2:20 pm Zoom*
03 Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10:30 am – 11:20 am Zoom*

Lectures will be delivered on-line, as outlined in the schedule above.  The lectures will consist of both asynchronous (pre-recorded) and synchronous (live) components.  Pre-recorded lectures will be made available on Courselink the week prior to the lecture schedule.  Students can view these lectures at their own pace.  Live lectures will be conducted at the scheduled lecture times, using “Zoom” video conferencing.  Live lecture schedule may be condensed as the semester goes on and attendance dictates.  

*Links to Zoom lectures can be found in the Content section of Courselink.

Text & Other Required Materials


  1. Textbook: Physics: An Algebra-based Approach bundled with an access kit to the online homework system called (TopHat). 
  2. Students can also order the ebook with TopHat from (or from the bookstore) as a more economical option or for those who have second hand books access only can be obtained from
  3. Study Guide (2020 printing) 
  4. This Course Outline: includes important dates and deadlines, lecture schedule, evaluation information, etc.

Tentative Lecture Schedule

Week Topics (Study Guide) Textbook Chapters


  • Unit conversion and sig digits (Study Guide 1.1)
  • Describing motion: speed, velocity, uniform motion (Study Guide 1.2)
  • Acceleration, non-uniform motion (Study Guide 1.3)
  • Acceleration due to gravity (Study Guide 1.4)
  • Vectors (Study Guide 1.5)
  • Displacement and velocity 2-d (Study Guide 2.1)
  • Acceleration in 2-d (Study Guide 2.2)  

What controls motion? Forces and Newton’s laws

  • Projectile Motion (Study Guide 2.3)
  • Uniform circular motion (Study Guide 2.4)
  • Forces and FBD (Study Guide 3.1)
  • Newton’s 1st and 2nd law (Study Guide 3.2)
  • Inclined planes (Study Guide 3.3)
  • Newton’s 3rd law (Study Guide 3.4)    

Energy & Momentum
Another way of understanding motion

  • work (Study Guide 4.1)
  • kinetic energy and work-energy theorem (Study Guide 4.2)
  • gravitational PE and cons of energy (Study Guide 4.3)
  • Work done by friction (Study Guide 4.4)
  • Power (Study Guide 4.6) 
  • momentum (Study Guide 5.1)
  • cons of momentum 1-d (Study Guide 5.2)
  • elastic and inelastic collisions (Study Guide 5.3)
  • cons of momentum 2-d (Study Guide 5.4)    


  • Electric charge and charge transfer (Study Guide 6.1)
  • coulomb’s law and electric force (Study Guide 6.2)
  • electric fields (Study Guide 6.3)
  • Field lines and motion of charged particles (Study Guide 6.4)
  • electric potential energy (Study Guide 6.5)
  • electric potential (Study Guides 6.6, 6.7)
  • current (Study Guide 7.3)
  • resistance and ohm’s law (7.2)
  • batteries and electric circuits (Study Guide 7.3)
  • series and parallel wiring (Study Guide 7.4)  

Waves & acoustics
What are waves and how do they behave?

  • introduction to waves, oscillations and SHM (Study Guides 8.1, 8.2)
  • traveling waves (Study Guide 8.3)
  • superposition and standing waves (Study Guides 8.3, 9.1)
  • acoustic resonance (pipes) (Study Guide 9.1)
  • beats (Study Guide 9.2)
  • logarithms (Study Guide 9.3)
  • Loudness/intensity level, decibels (Study Guide 9.4)
  • Energy, Power, Intensity (Study Guide 9.5)
  • ultrasound, infrasound and applications (Study Guide 9.6)     
11, 12

Nuclear Physics

  • Structure of the nucleus (Study Guide 10.1)
  • Radioactivity (Study Guide 10.1)
  • Nuclear equations and balancing, types of decay (Study Guide 10.1)
  • Radioactive decay and half lives (Study Guide 10.2)
  • Attenuation (Study Guide 10.3)
  • Medical applications (Study Guide 10.3)  

 Note: The information in the “Lecture Topic” column is provided as a rough guide for the term. Future announcements about changes to the table or of any kind will be made in class and posted on Courselink; these announcements take precedence over the original course outline!



These two evaluation options are available to students as illustrated below. The course grade will be calculated based on the scheme that produces the highest grade:

Assessment Scheme #1 Scheme #2
Quizzes 10 (best 8 x 6%) 48% 48%
Online Homework (TopHat)   8%  0%
Experiments (3 x 3%) 9% 9%
Final Exam 35% 43%
Total 100% 100%


There are 10 quizzes to be completed and they are designed to test your mastery of the material.  Quizzes will be administered via Courselink and take place during your scheduled weekly seminar time Thursdays at 1:30 pm or 2:30 pm, according to the section you registered in).

Each quiz will last 25 minutes and will be out of ten marks. It will consist of 3 multiple choice questions, 3 calculation-based questions (in which only the final answer is submitted) and 1 worked problem worth 4 marks.  For the worked problem, students will write a complete solution, on paper, then upload a picture of their work in the answer-space for this question**. This question will be hand marked by the graduate teaching assistants, with part marks awarded – so be sure to write a detailed solution!

You will receive the mark earned out of 10 which will be evaluated at 6% for each of your highest 8 earned grades resulting in the quiz portion being evaluated at 48% of your final course grade.  There is no quiz on Study Guide 10, although there will be at least 2 questions on Study Guide 10 on the final examination.

**Additional details/instructions will be provided on Courselink 

Quizzes begin in week 3 – Thursdays 1:30-2:20 pm and 2:30-3:20pm

  • Wk 3 Thursday October 1 - Quiz #1: 1D Motion (in Study Guide 1)
  • Wk 4 Thursday October 8 - Quiz #2: Study Guide 2
  • Wk 5 Thursday October 15 - Quiz #3: Study Guide 3 (forces, FBDs, Newton’s 1st & 2nd laws)
  • Wk 6 Thursday October 22 – Quiz #4: Study Guide 3 (centripetal force, friction, Newton’s 3rd)
  • Wk 7 Thursday October 29 – Quiz #5 – Study Guide 4
  • Wk 8 Thursday November 5 – Quiz #6 – Study Guide 5
  • Wk 9 Thursday November 12 – Quiz #7 – Study Guide 6
  • Wk 10 Thursday November 19 – Quiz #8 – Study Guide 7
  • Wk 11 Thursday November 26 – Quiz #9 – Study Guide 8
  • Wk 12 Thursday December 3 – Quiz #10 – Study Guide 9


There are 3 online labs to be completed, associated with Study Guides 1&2, 5 and 9.  The labs can be completed independently; however, students may sign up for 50-minute online lab sessions, in which guidance will be provided by teaching assistants who will cover lab tasks and facilitate small group discussions.  As the semester progresses, an online scheduling tool will be made available in Courselink, in which students can sign up for lab sessions.

Labs will be due the Monday following.

  • Lab # 1 Week 3 – Kinematics
  • Lab #2 Week 7 – Energy
  • Lab #3 Week 11 - Acoustics

Online Homework

There is an optional online homework system (TopHat) that students may choose to use. It will be graded. If students choose not to use the homework system, they are responsible for selecting their own homework problems, and the homework component of their grade will be automatically added onto the final exam.

If you choose to sign up for TopHat, you will receive an access code (this is unique to you, and is not the same as the join code, below). You will then sign up in the TopHat system according to your section number, which was determined by which lecture slot you signed up for.

  • If you are in section 01 (4:30 p.m. lectures), your TopHat join code is 032015 and your link to sign up is:
  • If you are in section 02 (1:30 p.m. lectures), your TopHat join code is 904896 and your link to sign up is:
  • And, if you are in section 03 (10:30 a.m. lectures), your TopHat join code is 011097 and your link to sign up is:

Please ensure that you sign up using the correct link for your section – this is necessary for Courselink to correctly upload your homework grades from the TopHat system!

Final Examination

Final Exam Date: December 11, 2020 7:00-9:00pm

The final examination will consist of multiple-choice questions.  

Obtaining Help in the Course

  1. Scheduled on-line help session will be posted on courselink.
  2. Lectures will be available during on-line office hours schedule will be posted on courselink.
  3. Step-by-step problem solving exercises developed specifically for this course, covering each major unit under Tutorials.

Course and University Policies

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph takes a serious view of academic misconduct and will severely penalize students, faculty and staff who are found guilty of offences associated with misappropriation of others' work, misrepresentation of personal performance and fraud, improper access to scholarly resources, and obstructing others in pursuit of their academic endeavors.  Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection.

Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor. Each student is assumed to be familiar with the regulations surrounding academic misconducts, as spelled out in the Undergraduate Calendar academic misconduct section.

"In this course, your instructor will be using Turnitin, integrated with the CourseLink Dropbox tool, to detect possible plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration or copying as part of the ongoing efforts to maintain academic integrity at the University of Guelph. 

All submitted assignments will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the service is subject to the Usage Policy posted on the site."

Accuracy of Records

It is your responsibility to use Courselink to check that your marks are recorded correctly.  Please check your record often and report any discrepancies immediately to the Quiz Room Supervisor Cindy Wells ( As an aid, a ‘Personal Record Form’ is provided on Courselink. You should use this form to record your quiz attempts, etc., and from time to time check the computer record against your personal record.


If you are away for brief periods of time due to medical, psychological or compassionate reasons, email the Quiz Room Supervisor Cindy Wells ( immediately.  If you miss the final examination because of illness or for other reasons, consult regulations in the current Undergraduate Calendar.

Course Notices

Notices pertaining to the course will be posted on Courselink or given in lectures.  It is your responsibility to keep yourself informed regarding these special announcements.

E-mail Communication

As per university regulations, all students are required to check their <> e-mail account regularly: e-mail is the official route of communication between the University and its students.

Drop Date

The last date to drop one-semester courses, without academic penalty, is Friday, December 4. For regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses, see the Undergraduate Calendar “Dropping Courses” section.


The University of Guelph is committed to creating a barrier-free environment. Providing services for students is a shared responsibility among students, faculty and administrators. This relationship is based on respect of individual rights, the dignity of the individual and the University community's shared commitment to an open and supportive learning environment. Students requiring service or accommodation, whether due to an identified, ongoing disability or a short-term disability should contact Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible.  SAS councillors will email me (Cindy Wells) stating your approved accommodations which will be documented in the quiz room.

For more information, contact SAS at 519-824-4120 ext. 56208 or email or refer to the SAS website.

Recording of Materials

Presentations which are made in relation to course work—including lectures—cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a classmate or guest lecturer. 

Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted.
Live (Zoom) lectures may be recorded by the instructor and posted in Courselink; you will be notified of this at the beginning of the lectures.

The University of Guelph’s primary mode of course delivery has shifted from face-to-face instruction to remote and online learning due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, some learning activities (e.g., synchronous lectures or student presentations) may be recorded by faculty, instructors and TAs and posted to CourseLink for grading and dissemination; students may be recorded during these sessions. 
The following statements may be added to the course outline and it is recommended these are discussed in any synchronous courses during the first week of classes.  

By enrolling in a course, unless explicitly stated and brought forward to their instructor, it is assumed that students agree to the possibility of being recorded during lecture, seminar or other “live” course activities, whether delivery is in-class or online/remote.
If a student prefers not to be distinguishable during a recording, they may:

  1. turn off their camera
  2. mute their microphone 
  3. edit their name (e.g., initials only) upon entry to each session
  4. use the chat function to pose questions.  

Students who express to their instructor that they, or a reference to their name or person, do not wish to be recorded may discuss possible alternatives or accommodations with their instructor. 

Use of Personal Information 

Personal information is used by University officials in order to carry out their authorized academic and administrative responsibilities and also to establish a relationship for alumni and development purposes. The University of Guelph’s policy on the Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar

Final Examination Conflicts

The University’s policy regarding examination conflicts, as stated in the Undergraduate Calendar, is as follows: “Students who drop and add courses are required to consult the examination timetable to avoid conflicts in examination times.  Written approval must be obtained from the dean or director and the instructor-in-charge of the course to register in courses that have conflicting examination times.”

Course Evaluation

The Department of Physics requires student assessment of all courses taught by the Department. These assessments provide essential feedback to faculty on their teaching by identifying both strengths and possible areas of improvement. In addition, annual student assessment of teaching provides part of the information used by the Department Tenure and Promotion Committee in evaluating the faculty member's contribution in the area of teaching. 

The Department's teaching evaluation questionnaire invites student response both through numerically quantifiable data, and written student comments. In conformity with University of Guelph Faculty Policy, the Department Tenure and Promotions Committee only considers comments signed by students. Your instructor will see all signed and unsigned comments after final grades are submitted. Written student comments may also be used in support of a nomination for internal and external teaching awards.

NOTE: No information will be passed on to the instructor until after the final grades have been submitted.