Physics 124 - General Physics I - Fall 2018   Syllabus

Instructor: Dr. Brian M. Davies
Instructor's office: Currens 532 (top floor, NW corner)
Phone: 309-298-1307     Physics Dept. Fax: 309-298-2850
Office Hours: MWF 11:00 – 11:50 a.m. and Tues 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Instructor's e-mail: BM-Davies (at)
Instructor’s website:
Required textbook: College Physics, Wilson, Buffa, and Lou, 7th edition. (CD not needed)
Laboratory book: Physics 124 Lab Manual, available at the Union bookstore
Class Schedule:
Lecture: M W F 10:00 – 10:50 a.m. and Tues 12:00 – 12:50 p.m. in Currens 205
Exam dates: Sept. 19, Oct. 17, Nov. 9, and Dec. 10 (final)
Laboratory sections: section 021 – Thurs. 11:00 a.m. – 12:50 p.m. in Currens 314 (Mrs. Andreev)
                                    section 022 – Thurs. 1:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. in Currens 314 (Mrs. Andreev)

Course Objective: To introduce the student to basic concepts in mechanics: motion, equilibrium, work and energy, rotational motion, fluid motion, thermodynamics, vibrations, waves, and sound. Principles and problem solving techniques will be emphasized, and reinforced in the laboratory sessions.

ADA policy: “Students with disabilities: In accordance with University values and disability law, students with disabilities may request academic accommodations where there are aspects of a course that result in barriers to inclusion or accurate assessment of achievement. To file an official request for disability-related accommodations, please contact the Disability Resource Center at 309-298-2512, or in 143 Memorial Hall. Please notify the instructor as soon as possible to ensure that this course is accessible to you in a timely manner.” Information about DRC is available at

The material on the following web pages should be considered part of this syllabus:

Student rights and responsibilities:

Academic Integrity Policy:

Title IX policy: "University values, Title IX, and other federal and state laws prohibit sex discrimination, including sexual assault/misconduct, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. If you, or someone you know, has been the victim of any of these offenses, we encourage you to report this to the Title IX Coordinator at 309-298-1977 or anonymously online at:  If you disclose an incident to a faculty member, the faculty member must notify the Title IX Coordinator. The complete Title IX policy is available at:

Grading Scheme:
4 exams: 15 % each, for a subtotal of 60%
Homework sets, quizzes, in-class activities: 20 %
10 Laboratory exercises: 2 % each, for a subtotal of 20%

Assignment of Grades:
A     100% - 85%
B     85% - 75%
C     75% - 65%
D     65% - 55%
(Plus and minus will be given for the top and bottom 3% or so of these ranges, but there is no A+.)
These numbers may be lowered slightly depending on the difficulty of the exams. The exact cutoff for letter grades will be determined so that small differences in points will not change letter grades. You must pass the lab part of the course to pass the entire course. Homework is due at the beginning of the class on the due date. Late homework will lose 20% of the possible points for each day it is late. Late homework can only be turned in during class, during lab, or to the folder by my office door, Currens 532. Please do not give homework sets or late lab reports to the secretary in the Physics office (they may receive zero credit if you do this).

Additional policy for teacher education students, from the
Teacher and Professional Education Program (TPEP) at WIU.

TPEP vision statement: “Our graduates will be empowered educational professionals deeply committed to continuous learning and the empowerment of all learners.”

TPEP mission statement: “The WIU Teacher and Professional Education Program empowers candidates to become educational practitioners who engage in informed action that is grounded in knowledge and reflection; who are deeply committed to the highest standards of professional practice; who are able to adapt to emerging social, economic, and cultural landscapes; who are skilled in the use of technological tools that promote teaching and learning; and who are committed to empowering all learners.”

“In accordance with Illinois State Board of Education certification rules, all candidates seeking teacher certification are required by Western Illinois University to obtain a grade of “C” or better in all directed general education courses, all core courses, and all courses in the option.

Physics 124 General Physics I
Fall Semester 2018
Class Schedule


Chapter 1 Measurement and Problem Solving
Chapter 2 Kinematics: Description of Motion
Chapter 3 Motion in Two Dimensions
Chapter 4 Force and Motion
  Exam 1 September 19 (Ch. 1-4)
Chapter 5 Work and Energy
Chapter 6 Linear Momentum and Collisions
Chapter 7 Circular Motion and Gravitation
Chapter 8 Rotational Motion and Equilibrium
  Exam 2 October 17 (Ch. 5-8)
Chapter 9 Solids and Fluids
Chapter 10 Temperature and Kinetic Theory
Chapter 11 Heat
  Exam 3 November 9 (Ch. 9-11)
Chapter 12 Thermodynamics
Chapter 13 Vibrations and Waves
Chapter 14 Sound
  Final Exam December 10, 10 a.m. (Ch. 12-14)

Physics 124 General Physics I
Fall Semester 2018
Laboratory Schedule

Date             Lab number   Title of Laboratory Exercise

Aug. 23        Lab 1            Introduction to Linear Motion
Aug. 30        Lab 2            Freely Falling Bodies and Graphical Analysis
Sept. 6         Lab 3            Force Table and the Addition of Vectors
Sept. 13       Lab 4            Force Transducer and Newton’s Second Law
Sept. 20                            No Lab
Sept. 27       Lab 5            Motion Detector, Force Sensor, Work, and Energy
Oct. 4          Lab 6             Impulse-Momentum and Conservation of Momentum
Oct. 11        Lab 7             Torque, Equilibrium, and Center of Gravity
Oct. 18                              No Lab
Oct. 25                              No Lab
Nov. 1         Lab 8             Archimedes' Principle and Buoyancy
Nov. 8         Lab 9             Thermal Coefficient of Linear Expansion
Nov. 15                             No Lab
Nov. 22                             No Lab (Thanksgiving Break)
Nov. 29       Lab 10           Spring Force and Simple Harmonic Motion
Dec. 6                                Makeup lab period (maximum of one makeup lab)