PHYS 204 is an introductory calculus-based physics course recommended for science, engineering, and pre-med students. The course covers material on classical mechanics as outlined below. It also includes a laboratory component that involves completing hands-on experiments. In addition to the eText, the course material includes a carefully written Study Guide, enriched with animation and dynamic diagrams, designed for independent learning. PHYS 204 combined with PHYS 205 is the equivalent of one year of introductory calculus-based physics.

Outline

PHYS 204 comprises the following thirteen units:

Unit 1: Physics and Measurement

Unit 2: Motion in One Dimension

Unit 3: Vectors

Unit 4: Motion in Two Dimensions

Unit 5: The Laws of Motion

Unit 6: Circular Motion

Unit 7: Energy of a System

Unit 8: Conservation of Energy

Unit 9: Linear Momentum and Collisions

Unit 10: Rotation of a Rigid Body About a Fixed Axis

Unit 11: Angular Momentum

Unit 12: Static Equilibrium and Elasticity

Unit 13: Universal Gravitation

Lab Component

PHYS 204 includes a compulsory lab component that comprises six hands-on experiments performed in a place of the student’s choice. Procedures involve video capture and analysis of moving objects and require common household items such as the video camera in a smartphone. Assessment is based on written lab reports. The following lab experiments are explained in the PHYS 204 course materials:

Lab 1: Graphical Analysis

Lab 2: Kinematics in One Dimension

Lab 3: Projectile Motion

Lab 4: Hooke’s Law

Lab 5: Collision in Two Dimensions

Lab 6: Rolling Motion

Students may qualify for partial or full transfer of lab credit obtained for equivalent lab work at another institution.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, a student should be able to

convert between different units and express a physical quantity in scientific notation using the appropriate number of significant digits.

explain the relationships between time, displacement, velocity, and constant acceleration and use calculus to solve kinematic problems in one or two dimensions.

analyze and solve dynamic problems using vector calculus, Newton’s three laws of motion, and frictional forces.

state the work–kinetic energy theorem and the conservation of energy principle and use calculus to analyze systems that involve conservative and nonconservative forces.

state the conservation of linear momentum principle and apply it to solve problems that involve one- and two-dimensional (elastic and inelastic) collisions.

define center of mass and torque vector and solve problems that involve static equilibrium of extended bodies.

analyze and solve problems that involve the kinematics and dynamics of rotational motion and the conservation of angular momentum principle.

state Hooke’s law and describe elastic properties of solids and apply formulas for calculating Young’s modulus, bulk modulus, and shear modulus.

state Newton’s law of universal gravitation and define gravitational potential and apply them to solve problems involving the force of gravity and satellite motion.

demonstrate skills related to performing simple experiments in classical mechanics, including experimental setup, data acquisition, data analysis, and communication of scientific results.

Evaluation

The final grade is based on the marks achieved in two assignments, six lab reports, and two examinations. To receive credit, the student must achieve a minimum of fifty percent (50%) on the final examination and on the lab component, and an overall course grade of at least D (fifty percent). The following table describes the credit weight associated with each course requirement:

Activity

Weight

Assignments

20%

Lab Reports

20%

Midterm Online Exam

20%

Final Online Exam

40%

Total

100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Materials

Serway, Raymond A. and Jewett, John W., Jr. (2014). Physics for Scientists and Engineers (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. (eText)

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, July 9, 2019

Updated March 25, 2022, by Student & Academic Services