Introductory Physics (PHYS*1020)

Code and section: PHYS*1020*01

Term: Fall 2007

Instructor: Joanne O'Meara


Course Information


Joanne O’Meara
MacN 323

Lab/Tutorial Instructors

Name Email
Taylor Binnington
Jesse Clair
Greg Demand
Daniel Glickman
Geoff Grinyer
Rafal Janik
Tim Leisti
Shun Lu
Ian MacKay
Kevin Miller
Xiaohu Peng
Chris Schultz-Nielson

The Purpose of this Course

This course is equivalent to a senior high school physics course. It provides a solid foundation in mechanics, electricity and waves for students intending to take first-year university physics courses such as PHYS*1000, PHYS*1010, PHYS*1070, PHYS*1080, and PHYS*1130. Students who have received a credit in OAC Physics or 4U Physics may not take PHYS*1020 for credit.

Required Materials

  • Textbook: “Physics for Tomorrow’s World (Second Edition 2007)” by McFarland and Hirsch – available for purchase in the new Science Complex, Room 1101A, for $30, CASH ONLY PLEASE. Times at which you may purchase this book in SCIE 1101A:
    Friday Sept 7, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    Mon Sept 10 to Fri Sept 14, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    After Sept 14th – books will be available in the Physics office, MacN 207, during regular office hours.
  • Calculator – you only need an inexpensive calculator that has trig functions.

Approximate Lecture Schedule

Week(s) Topic(s) Textbook Chapter(s)
1, 2, and part of week 3 Describing motion – velocity, acceleration, etc. 1, 2, 3 and 4
3 and 4 What controls motion? – forces and Newton’s Laws 5 and 6
Week 5 Term test #1 will take place in class on Wednesday Oct 10th  
5, 6 and part of 7 Energy and momentum – another way of understanding motion 7 and 8
7 and part of 8 Gravity – what is weightlessness and why don’t satellites fall to earth? 9
8 What holds us together? 
Electric forces
9 and 10 What are volts and amps, and how do electric circuits work? 11 and 12
Week 10 Term test #2 will take place in class on Wednesday Nov 14th  
11 and 12 What are waves, and how do they behave?
e.g. light
13 and 14

Weekly Guide

A weekly guide will be handed out each week to inform you of the lecture topics for that week. The Weekly Guides will also contain information about upcoming quizzes, labs, etc., and will list a set of assigned textbook problems.

Lab/Tutorial Periods

In addition to the lectures, there is a 2-hour laboratory/tutorial period each week. There are two types of activities in these periods:

  • tutorials – will take place in MacN 401
  • experiments – will take place in MacN 301

Make sure you know which room you are supposed to be in on any given week!


  • periods for obtaining help with the course material, assigned problems, etc.
  • in four of these periods, there will be a 40-minute quiz based on the previous two-to-three weeks’ work: details concerning the quizzes will be provided in the Weekly Guides


  • there will be five experiments completed during the semester
  • instructions for the experiments are provided online at the course webpage (
  • the laboratory activity will be assigned a pass or fail distinction by the TA at the end of the laboratory period: no mark will be assigned
  • you must show your TA your results by the end of 90 minutes in the laboratory session. The remaining 30 minutes of your assigned time will be available for students to correct mistakes (when necessary) in order to allow for reassessment by the TA. It is crucial that you read the instructions available on the webpage before you arrive for the experiment. Failure to adequately prepare for the session may result in the assignment of a failing grade for that experiment.

A detailed lab-tutorial schedule follows:

Week Dates Activity Room
1 Sept 10 – 14 Tutorial – NOTE THE ROOM DESIGNATION MacN 301
2 Sept 17 – 21 Tutorial MacN 401
3 Sept 24 – 28 Tutorial: help period & Quiz #1 MacN 401
4 Oct 1 – 5 Expt. 1: Introduction to the use of Motion Sensors MacN 301
5 Oct 8 – 12 No regularly scheduled lab/tutorial.
Instead, help sessions will be available on Tuesday Oct 9th in preparation for term test #1 (times: TBA).
MacN 401
6 Oct 15 – 19 Expt. 2: Newton’s 3rd Law MacN 301
7 Oct 22 – 26 Tutorial: Help period & Quiz #2 MacN 401
8 Oct 29 – Nov 2 Expt. 3: Conservation of Energy MacN 301
9 Nov 5 – 9 Tutorial: Help period & Quiz #3 MacN 401
10 Nov 12 – 16 Expt. 4: Conservation of Momentum MacN 301
11 Nov 19 – 23 Tutorial: Help period & Quiz #4 MacN 401
12 Nov 26 – 30 Expt. 5: Circuits MacN 301


Assessment Number of Evaluations Weight
Quizzes during tutorial periods (best 3 out of 4): 3 x 7% = 21%
Laboratory activities (Pass = 1.8%, Fail = 0%): 5 x 1.8% = 9%
Term tests: 2 x 15% = 30%
Final examination:   = 40%
TOTAL   = 100%


Attendance at the laboratory/tutorial periods is, of course, very important. If you miss a laboratory experiment or quiz because of illness, or for compassionate reasons, please see your laboratory/tutorial instructor for possible academic consideration. If you miss either of the term tests, please see your course professor. If you miss the final examination, please see your Program Counsellor. Refer to “General Information for
Academic Consideration and Appeals” in the 2007/08 Undergraduate Calendar.

Examination Timetable

Test Type Date
Term Tests 1. Wednesday Oct 10th, in class
2. Wednesday Nov 14th, in class
Final exam Monday December 10th, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
location: TBA

Course Policies

Conflicts with Midterm Exams in Other Courses

Sometimes students will have a conflict between a midterm exam in another course and either a lecture or a lab in this course. The University has a very clear and well-defined policy to cover this situation: the regularly-scheduled lecture or lab holds priority. In other words, it is the responsibility of the faculty member who has scheduled the midterm exam to make special arrangements with students who have conflicts. This policy is stated explicitly in the 2007/08 Undergraduate Calendar under the heading “Midterm Examinations”.


There are many resources available for you:

  1. Tutorial classes – the tutorial periods give you the opportunity for individual attention. Please feel free to discuss any questions regarding the course material with your tutorial instructor. This is one of the main purposes of the tutorial sessions, so take advantage of it!
  2. Supported Learning Groups (SLG’s) Organized through the Learning Commons at the library, SLG’s provide an opportunity for you to meet regularly with your classmates to discuss course concepts, to practice using new vocabulary and skills, and to test yourself before quizzes, tests and exams. SLG sessions are led by trained Peer Helpers who have recently taken the course and done very well. They attend lectures with you and they come to sessions with lots of great study material, advice, and insight. There will be in-class announcements soon to inform you of the meeting times.
  3. Drop In Centre – one of the laboratory instructors will be available for additional help between 9 am and 10 am, Monday to Friday, in MacN 318. NOTE: the drop-in centre will begin operation on Monday September 24th.
  4. Your lecturer will be available to provide help in her office at times that will be announced early in the semester. If you wish to obtain help from your lecturer at another time, please see her before or after lectures to arrange a mutually convenient time. Short questions can often be handled in the lecture room just before or after class.
  5. Step-by-step problem solving exercises developed specifically for this course, covering each major unit at:
  6. Computer-assisted instruction – there are a number of physics tutorials available for you at Of particular usefulness in this course are the tutorials on:
    - algebra & trigonometry (review)
    - unit conversions (review)
    - significant digits (review)
    - vectors (review for some, new for others)
    - free-body diagrams (new material for most students)
    - DC circuits (new material for most students)