Physics 220            Fundamentals of Physics               Fall 2004

Policies and Expectations


Reading: You will get the most out of lectures if you've introduced yourself to the subjects and identified any points of confusion by reading the corresponding chapters in advance.   You are expected to have done so. 


Homework: (20% of your grade)  Homework is intended to give you practice working with the material introduced in class and the reading.   Homework is assigned at each lecture, based on the material just covered in lecture and reading.   Assignments are due at the beginning of the following lecture and returned the lecture after that.   Late assignments will not be accepted.   Assignments will be handed out in class as they are developed .   Once homework is collected, the complete solutions will provided in a solutions manual located in the Physics coffee room (immediately to the left upon entering Duke 113).   Each problem will be graded on a 2 point scale (2 = correct, 1 = incorrect, 0 = virtually un‑attempted).   Problems with a score of 1 can be fixed and returned at the next lecture for full credit.  Answers should be  boxed .  I do not require, but recommend that you use the problem solving technique summarized at the end of this syllabus.  A word to the wise regarding calculators: get the simplest one available that is capable of trigonometric (in both degrees and radians), logarithmic, and exponential functions.  If, after consulting the posted solutions, you have questions about a particular problem, I urge you to give me a call or send me an e‑mail.


Classwork:  (5% of your grade)  You learn best by doing, so periodically during lecture I'll ask you to try your hand at doing a bite‑sized bit of the day's material.  Like the homework, each problem will be graded on a 2 point scale (2 = correct, 1 = incorrect, 0 = virtually un-attempted); there will be no opportunities for reworks (or make-up work), but you will have the benefit of checking with your neighbor before turning in your work (this is intended as an exercise, not a quiz).  Answers should be boxed.    Bonus Points: I sometimes make mistakes in lecture, the first person to catch a mistake on a derivation or example gets bonus class‑work points. 



Be prepared. Be here on time.  Be involved.

Group Problems: (5% of your grade)  During the first of the three hours of each lab period, you will work with two other students to solve a physics problem. This will be closed book, closed notes; and you will be responsible for providing an equation sheet.  A 5 step problem-solving technique and cooperative group skills will be stressed. The problems will be graded on a 25 point scale with point break-down according to the problem solving template used. After your group has completed the problem, you will have the opportunity to compare it with the key and grade the problem – you will recoup ˝ the points for errors that you correctly identify.


Laboratory Experiences: (20% of your grade)  Most weeks there will be a laboratory experience (check schedules for details).  You must attend the section in which you are enrolled.  Prior to coming to lab you should have read the lab hand‑out and worked any sections labeled "Pre-Lab".  You will only be allowed to make up a lab if you have a valid reason (such as illness) and contact the lab instructor prior to your absence (as soon as you know). You must make arrangements to make up a missed lab by the end of the following week.  You automatically fail the course if you miss (and don’t make up) more than two labs.

Pre-Labs:  You are required to address the Pre-Lab questions prior to coming to lab; however, you will have the opportunity to correct your Pre-Lab work during the course of the lab.  To facilitate this, Pre-Lab questions appear in duplicate in the lab hand-outs: dispersed throughout the hand-out, and compiled at the end.  At the beginning of lab, these back pages will be collected and checked for completeness and effort, but otherwise will not be graded.  Provided the questions were addressed in the back pages, when you turn in the hand-out at the end of the lab, the pre-lab questions within it will be graded. 


Exams: [50% (12.5% each) of your grade]  There will be four, equally weighed exams (including the final).  Solutions will be included in the course solutions book after the graded exam has been returned.  Exams will have a mix of multiple choice questions (50% ‑75%) and one or two full‑length problems typical of homework problems or those done in class (25% ‑ 50%).  All exams will be closed book and closed notes.  You will be responsible for equations sheets.  Copies of all the information printed inside the front and back covers of the text will be provided with the exams.  The details of what may be included on the equation sheet will be covered in class prior to the exam.  If, upon comparing your graded exam with the solutions, something is unclear to you or you disagree with the grading, please give me a call or send me an e‑mail.  Reschedules and replacements: Tragedies do sometimes happen, and you may not be able to take an exam at its regularly scheduled time.  If notify me well in advance, we can reschedule your exam.  If you do not notify my until the day before the exam, you must provide documentation of your conflict (doctor's note, plane ticket stub, etc.) before your make up exam score will be recorded.  You also have the option of taking a replacement test for any one of the first three tests.  This may be done within two weeks after having taken the third scheduled exam.  The replacement will have all new questions, but will cover the same basic material as the first test.  The best of the two scores (original or replacement) will be kept.


Cheating: Dishonesty seriously undermines academic pursuit; therefore, it is my philosophy that the punishment for cheating should not simply erase its 'beneficial' effects, but be enough of a deterrent that the 'benefit' of cheating not be worth the risk.  For example, if I identify cheating on an exam, the offender is more likely to be failed from the course than invited to take a make‑up test. 


Tutoring Assistance:  As of the writing of this syllabus there may be one or two tutors available to provide you with assistance on course material and homework assignments.  However, the tutors will not provide you with any help unless you have already made an extensive effort to understand the material or solve a particular problem.


Recommended Procedure for Problem Solving:  The following steps are recommended as a method of approaching the solution of homework and class problems’


  1. Do not copy the problem statement from the text.
  2. Briefly state what is to be found and include a clearly labeled sketch or diagram if it is necessary or helpful in defining the problem.
  3. Summarize what facts are given and what appropriate equations apply to solving the problem.
  4. Construct the solution in a logical sequence of steps.
  5. Be sure units and conversion factors are included and clearly stated.
  6. Designate your final answer by inclosing it in a box.


Grade: If at anytime you are interested in reviewing your standing in the course feel free to give me a call or send me an e‑mail.


Final Grade Assignments: Grades will be assigned according to the following:

  Total Percentage Points              Course Grade





A (4.0)




A- (3.7)




B+ (3.3)




B (3.O)




B- (2.7)




C+ (2.3)




C (2.0)




C- (1.7)




D+ (1.3)




D (1.0)




D- (0.7)