Paul Mikulski
CH255 (near Bancroft/Chapel corner)
Learning Outcomes:
  1. Recognize basic physical quantities in language, connect them with their mathematical definition, and demonstrate a direct algebraically driven calculation from the definition.
  2. Conceptualize fundamental key quantities and refine / modify your intuitions about your physical world with the help of dynamic visualizations.
  3. In problems driven by a single key concept or idea, construct basic connections between quantities to breakdown / illustrate the main idea.
  4. Reliably employ advanced mathematics as a means to explore and produce calculations in the context of a rich, multi-faceted problem.
  5. Develop and implement techniques for tracking work and keeping calculations reliable.
  6. Apply skills from previous core courses with particular emphasis on problems involving differential and integral calculus.

Marking period grades:

Each quiz / exam problem scores (out of 5 points) is recorded individually. For every 10 problems accumulated, you earn a drop problem for being a positive contributor to the classroom / lab. If you are struggling to bring your problem performances to the level you seek, it is possible to increase your number of drop problems through a notebook review (discussed below).

Course grade:

Your notebook, notebook reviews: Your notebook is an organized record of work you wish to share with me during a notebook review (these reviews are optional). There are three required components:

  1. High quality solutions to your online homework problems (the main point of focus).
  2. Documentation for each lab (we'll discuss this when we get to the first lab).
  3. Corrections to quiz / exam problems (worked directly on the quiz / exam in contrasting ink).
You may request a notebook review at any time during the semester. During a review you will take me on a tour through your notebook and we'll discuss how you've been using your time when studying physics. We will also discuss possible strategies and possible changes in approach that may help you improve. After we complete this review, I'll let you know how much I will add to your drop number. After our meeting, I will log some electronic notes of how things went and what to look for in future meetings. The idea behind this process is that I want to limit to some degree how much your past efforts will hold you back when you seek to improve on future quizzes and exams; after all, I am mostly concerned with how you develop through the course and ultimately how you leave the course. The way to optimize this on your end is to engage authentically and consistently through the course and make sure your notebook reflects this.

While notebook reviews are optional and you may not choose to take advantage of this early on, it is important that you take a long view: at some point, most students start to struggle in this course. It is hard to understate the importance of consistently maintaining a high quality notebook through the entire duration of this course. I make this a point of focus because I have found that it is one of the few things that I can see has a very positive impact on student development. While there are required components, there is still a lot of flexibility and openness for you to explore and develop an approach that works best for you (hopefully an approach that will serve you well in other courses too).

Wileyplus online homework: There is a set for the suggested problems for each topic in the course reference syllabus. Each set is due at 0700 one week after its topic is listed in the reference syllabus. Any points earned after a due date take a 30% deduction. For example: if you complete 3 out of 4 points before the due date and then finish the set later, your final score for the set would then be 3.7/4. A week is long enough and deductions are mild enough that keeping on top of this will not be problematic even if on occasion some parts of sets are completed a bit late.

Calculator, Equation Sheet: On quizzes, exams, and the final you may only use the TI-36X Pro. For quizzes and exams you may use your own copy of the course equation sheet (it is OK have personal annotations on it). For the final exam, the equation sheet is provided with the exam (you will not be able to use your personal copy).