Physics I Course Description


Instructor:  Deb Jensen

Office:  A101 free periods A, B; Academic Support period G


Phone:  650-330-2001 ext 2272




What is physics?  Physics is perhaps the most basic of the living and nonliving sciences.  It’s about the nature of basic things such as motion, forces, energy, matter, heat, sound, light, and the insides of atoms. 


All other sciences are built on knowledge of physics.  We can understand science in general much better if we understand physics first; for that reason, at Menlo physics is the first science class offered, taken by freshmen.


You will learn about the world of physics - the world around you - by studying from your lecture notes, text, and handouts; by performing hands-on laboratory investigations that enable you to learn by your own curiosity and sometimes by your own design; and by conducting research and projects to help further your knowledge.


Class Conduct

 You are expected to conduct yourself in class and in other Physics I work in a manner which shows your respect for the right of each of your classmates to learn without interference.  In addition, I do not allow food, drink (except water) , gum, or hats inside the classroom.






You are expected to be in your seat and ready for the day’s lesson at the time designated for the class to start.  You are also expected to arrange with the teacher to make up all work missed during an absence, in advance if the absence is planned.  Any work missed due to an unexcused absence will receive zero credit. Please note that an absence on a “review day” before a test does not excuse one from taking the test at the scheduled time.  Tests may be postponed only due to emergencies or extreme illness and must be arranged prior to test day.



Your class grade will be based approximately on the following:  Tests 50%, Homework/homework quizzes 20%, Labs 20%, Projects 10%.  Semester grades are approximately 40-45% each quarter and 10-20% final exam.



Text:  Kinetic Books Conceptual Physics (CD-rom or online version) and Dann and Dann, People’s Physics Book.   Calculator:  trig functions and scientific notation capability.  NO PHONES.   Binder:  please use a three-ring binder to file labs, quizzes, handouts and tests to keep at home.


Homework:  Homework will be given most nights, and is to be completed in your People’s Physics Book.  You are expected to complete your homework before coming to class.  This book will be collected and graded periodically, usually on test days.  You can also expect frequent open-book “homework quizzes” to check your progress.


Labs:  You will be doing two types of lab activities.  “Mini-labs” are completed on handouts and turned in either at the end of class or at the next class meeting.  These should be filed in your binder after they’re graded.  Major labs will require your keeping data in your class notebook and then turning in a formal lab report; you can expect one of these every few weeks. 


Tests:  Tests will generally occur every two weeks; calculators may be used but not shared.