Syllabus 141 Fall 2014

Physics 141-04, Fall 2014 MTWF (Thursday Office Hour)* 10:10 – 11:00 Room 53-201
Physics 141-05, Fall 2014 MTWR (Friday Office Hour)* 1:10 – 2:00 Room 53-205

Instructor:Pete Schwartz, Cal Poly Physics:, Pete’s Webpage:, x6-1220, 180-608
Office Hours in 180-608: M(11:10), T(12:10), W(11:10), R(10:10), F(1:00), my office is on the 6th floor of the new Baker Science Building. It’s a great place to study. Please visit soon, visit often.
*On the day of the week that you don’t have class, I scheduled an office hour. If you are free this day, please consider scheduling this office hour as part of a “five days a week” physics schedule.
Final Exam: To be determined. I hope to have both classes scheduled at the same time.

Study Sessions: Cal Poly offers special study sessions. Website:,
or contact Katie Ellis:, 756-5784

First Assignment: You are invited to meet me before the first midterm. Please come to my office. Visit any time I’m not teaching – regardless of whether it is an office hour.

Text: We will be using a free online textbook: Other 141 classes are using Randy Knight’s Third Edition Physics, a Strategic Approach. This will likely be a required textbook for future classes.

In class group work 10%
Problem Sets 10%
Quizzes and Video Watching 15%
Project and Video 10%
2 Midterms and test corrections 30%
Final Exam (can also replace lowest midterm) 25%
Total 100%

Quizzes: We will start each class with a short quiz relating to the previous night’s reading.

Class Work: After you are exposed to the material at home, you will work as a group to solve problems in class. I will often help your group, or address the class as a whole. Your group (of 3 or 4 students) will submit all your classwork (or group quizzes) together. We will staple them together and grade only one of them. Everyone in the group will receive this grade. If you miss a class, you will not receive credit for the material you miss.

Problem Sets: Usually due Monday in class. You can hand it in as a group and you will receive 1% extra credit for every member in your group. We will staple the problem sets together and grade only one of them. Everyone in the group will receive this grade. I will not collect late homework as I’ve found this responsibility greatly complicates my life. However, you can turn in late PS for partial credit in the box outside my door.
It would be a very good idea to completely understand the past homework assignments, quizzes, and midterms before each test.

Formula Sheets: You are welcome to build your own formula sheet provided it has no more than 100 ideas = combined formulas and statements. No formulas will be provided to you for an exam. I recommend that you start a formula sheet now and add formulas as they appear in the videos.

Project and Video: You and one other student will do a research project on something related to physics that interests you. It may involve reading and research, or building and calculating, or doing an experiment. You will document it with a ~ 5 minute video that you will post on YouTube for the rest of the class to see during the last week of class. project description

Midterms: Midterms cover all the material up to and including the most recent class. After each midterm, the answers (not the solutions) will be posted. One week after each midterm, you will hand in both your original midterm along with your corrections, where you have correctly done every problem that had a mistake in the original test. This “midterm corrections” will constitute 25% of the midterm grade (the other 75% is the original midterm). Any missed midterm gets a grade of zero. As the final exam can replace one midterm, getting a zero on a midterm is not catastrophic.

Final Exam: Although the final only constitutes 25% or your grade, it replaces one of the midterms (if it’s higher).

Competition: I have taught this class more than 15 times. Your performance will be graded not against each other, but rated according to what I know you should understand. Therefore if you help others in your class, it will not be detrimental to your grade. My experience has shown that a positive collaborative attitude is likely to raise everyone’s grade.