Course Syllabus

Spring 2021 Welcome to Applied Physics 1!

Course Description

PHY2004 - Applied Physics 1 emphasizes the practical applications of basic physics to a range of professions, including architecture, agricultural sciences, building construction and forest resources. It covers the mechanics of motion, forces, energy, momentum, wave motion, and heat. 3 credits.

Instructor: Dr. Kathryn McGill

Email (preferred): via Canvas mail (see "Inbox" in far left blue navigation pane)
Phone: (352) 846-2548
Office: NPB 2112

Class (live via Zoom): MWF Per. 6 (12:50-1:40 pm)

Office Hours (live via Zoom): Monday, Tuesday Per. 7 (1:55-2:45 pm)

Final Exam (online): April 28, 2021, 12:30-2:30 pm

Course Website:

Course Objectives

My goal for you is that by the end of this course, you will have improved your existing intuition about how the world works. This includes being able to:

  1. Analyze particular physical situations in order to make successful predictions about their future behavior. Identifying the fundamental principles pertinent to those situations will be key to your success in meeting this objective;
  2. Apply fundamental principles to formulate mathematical equations describing the relation between physical quantities in these particular situations;
  3. Solve mathematical equations to find the values of physical quantities;
  4. Communicate unambiguously both the principles that apply to a situation and the results of specific calculations resulting from the steps above.

My Expectations of You

In order to achieve the learning outcomes stated above, I expect you to:

  • Attend lecture. This is very important! We will talk extensively about the physics problem-solving process, which is what you're aiming to master by the end of this course.
  • Complete the homework assignments to self–assess your understanding of the concepts and problem solving strategies presented every week.
  • Complete four in-class Group Work assignments over the course of the semester, as posted in the Course Schedule (which you will also find below).
  • Complete the Group Project with your groupmates.
  • Take two mid-term exams and the final.
  • Seek help from me, the Learning Assitants (LAs) and your peers when specific content does not make sense, including seeking help for the problem-solving process itself.
    • Check out the How to Study for PHY2004 page for tips.
    • In addition to the in-class lectures, there are also lecture videos (by a different professor) and, of course, your textbook, available for additional explanations and examples. It is up to you to determine the most effective use of these resources to meet your own needs with regard to learning course content. These videos are presented only as an additional resource of information and examples, and they do not otherwise reflect the policies and goals of this course.
  • Seek out additional practice when you need it to gain mastery over current material before moving on to future topics. This additional practice should include problems at the end of the chapter that are not assigned as part of your homework.
    • Don't forget to work through the examples presented in the text and in the practice problem videos in order to learn the physics concepts, principles, and problem-solving techniques essential for success in this course.

This course is worth 3 credits, so you should expect to spend about 9 hours per week learning physics.

Required Materials

The required text is Physics: Principles with Applications by Douglas Giancoli, 7thed, published by Pearson, and it's set up for an All-Access opt-in for you to purchase the online text and homework system access. A few helpful documents:

The required online homework system is Mastering Physics, access to which is included in the purchase of the online textbook described above. Access Mastering Physics using the link provided in the Canvas website menu item "MyLab and Mastering".

Required Software & Technology: You will need a computer; Zoom; a reliable high speed internet connection (wireless internet is NOT recommended); a working and good webcam, microphone, and speakers; Google Chrome; the Honorlock Chrome extension (see below); and an approved calculator.

    • Lectures, discussion sections, and office hours will be held live-time through Zoom. 
    • You must have your notifications in Canvas set such that you get notification of all course Announcements at a minimum of daily notification of emails.
    • Exams will be taken electronically using the course website and proctored by Honorlock. Google Chrome is the only supported browser for taking exams in Canvas.
    • Calculator: You may use any scientific or graphing calculator on the exams, as long as it does not have the ability to communicate with other devices electronically. Cell phones as calculators are not permitted, and use of them does constitute academic fraud.

Optional, but strongly encouraged: iClicker software for extra credit in-class participation. This software is free to UF students and can be used on either a computer or mobile device. Further details about this extra credit opportunity can be found below in the Grade Calculation section.

Software & Technology

All course content, grades, and communication will be conducted in Canvas. Mastering Physics is integrated into Canvas and is the source of your textbook and homework problems, and your iClicker Reef account will sync to the Canvas gradebook.

  • Canvas:
  • Mastering Physics: access through Canvas, "MyLab and Mastering" menu item
  • iClicker: log in through Reef
  • Honorlock: You can download the Google Chrome extension at (Links to an external site.) (links to an external site). To use Honorlock, you do NOT need to create an account or schedule an appointment in advance. You will need a computer, working webcam, speakers, microphone and reliable Internet connection to be able to take your exams. Wireless internet is not recommended. You may also need a mirror or other reflective surface.
  • For Canvas, passwords, or any other computer-related technical support, contact the UF Help Desk:

Course Policies

ATTENDANCE POLICY: You are expected to attend lecture MWF from 12:50-1:40 pm (Per. 6). You are also encouraged to attend office hours with Dr. McGill on Mondays and Tuesdays from 1:55-2:45 pm. All lectures, office hours, and meetings will be conducted via Zoom. (See the Zoom Conferences menu item in the navigation bar.)

LECTURE SLIDES POLICY: I will be posting my slides and lecture notes after each class as they will include the clicker questions and answers. So: how should you take notes during lecture? You should not feel pressured to write down every word since everything will be posted shortly after class. Focus on writing down the explanations of what the variables mean in each equation, as well as the practice problems we work through together during lecture.

HOMEWORK POLICY: Homework sets are completed online through the Assignments tab in the left-hand navigation, or directly in Mastering Physics via the MyLab and Mastering tab. Your homework will auto-submit on the due date and time. Your homework is not timed or proctored, but it is subject to the UF Policy on Academic Misconduct. (See the University Policies section.)

It is permissible to seek assistance on homework from me, the LAs, or your classmates. This assistance may include help with interpreting the problem, identifying relevant information in the textbook or course videos, or identifying one’s errors.

A 20% forgiveness factor will be applied to your homework grade at the end of the semester to account for unexpected barriers preventing you from finishing your homework in a given week.

MECHANICS SURVEYS: You will be asked to complete two mechanics surveys. You will take the mechanics surveys in-class as posted on the course schedule. You do not need to prepare for these surveys in any way, and you do not need a calculator. All surveys are credit/no credit for completion. Note that this is not extra credit; it is part of the required assignments for the class.

GROUP WORK POLICY: Physics is learned by doing. Hence you will have required in-class problem solving sessions with harder problems than one is expected to solve individually on exams. There will be Learning Assistants (LAs) on hand to help with this. Learning Assistants are undergraduate students who have successfully completed Applied Physics 1 (or the equivalent). There will be 4 group work sessions in class. Your group will be assigned after the add/drop deadline, and will be visible in eLearning - People - Groups. Unexcused absences will be graded as a zero.

GROUP PROJECT: You will complete a group project as one of the requirements for this course. You will be grouped by major into groups of about 4 students, and you will meet the various deadlines laid out in the Course Schedule above to keep you on track. All details about the Group Project can be found on the Group Project page.

EXAM POLICY: Two mid-term exams and a cumulative final exam will be administered during the course. All midterms will be administered in class. Please see below for all exam dates. Exams are not collaborative and will be completed alone.

You may use any scientific or graphing calculator on the exams, as long as it does not have the ability to communicate with other devices electronically. Cell phones as calculators are not permitted, and use of them constitutes academic fraud.

You will take the exams using the Honorlock proctoring service, which is described above.

The Final Exam is on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 from 12:30 - 2:30 pm.

MAKE-UP POLICY: Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work are consistent with university policies that can be found here. For a foreseeable absence, it is your responsibility to identify yourself as requiring an accommodation at least one week prior to the absence.

Grade Calculation

Grades in the course are awarded based on an overall course score calculated as follows:


Grade Percentage


due Tuesdays at 11:59 pm


In-Class Group Work


Group Project


Exam 1 (Ch. 1-5):

Monday, March 1st,



Exam 2 (Ch. 6-9, 11):

Monday, April 5th,



Final Exam (cumulative):

Wednesday, April 28th,

12:30 - 2:30 pm


In-Class Participation

(extra credit)

up to 3%

Homework: Homework will be due weekly on Tuesdays at 11:59 pm. It will consist of problems based on the material covered in lecture the week before. I will apply a 20% forgiveness factor to your homework score to account for unexpected absences, malfunctioning software, etc. As homework answers are released immediately after the due date, there are no homework makeups or late submissions in this class. (This is another reason for the 20% forgiveness factor.)

In-Class Group Work: Four times throughout the semester, we will have mandatory group work sessions during the lecture period. These will be facilitated by myself and several undergraduate Learning Assistants (LAs) who are very familiar with the physics taught in this course.

Group Project: You will be grouped by major in groups of about 4 students to work on a group project for this class due at the end of the semester. The details for this project are laid out on the Group Project page.

In-Class Participation: I will pose various questions during class for you to answer with the iClicker system for extra credit points. You will receive 2 points for a correct answer, 1 point for an incorrect answer, and 0 points for no answer. At the end of the semester, I will apply a 20% forgiveness factor to your clicker scores to account for unexpected absences, malfunctioning software, etc., after which I will convert your overall clicker score to give you up to 3% extra credit in your final grade.

Grade Scheme

There is no curve in this class; if you earn at least 85% of the available points in this class, you will get an A, and so on down the list:

Grade Range
A 100% to 85%
A- < 85% to 80%
B+ < 80% to 75%
B < 75% to 70%
B- <70% to 65%
C+ < 65% to 60%
C < 60% to 55%
C- < 55% to 50%
D+ < 50% to 45%
D < 45% to 40%
D- < 40% to 35%

Note that I round at 0.50. For example, 79.50% would round up to 80%, an A-, while 79.49% does not round and earns a B+.

University Policies

POLICY ON STUDENT PRIVACY: Our class sessions may be audio visually recorded for students in the class to refer back and for enrolled students who are unable to attend live. Students who participate with their camera engaged or utilize a profile image are agreeing to have their video or image recorded.  If you are unwilling to consent to have your profile or video image recorded, be sure to keep your camera off and do not use a profile image. Likewise, students who un-mute during class and participate orally are agreeing to have their voices recorded.  If you are not willing to consent to have your voice recorded during class, you will need to keep your mute button activated and communicate exclusively using the "chat" feature, which allows students to type questions and comments live. The chat will not be recorded or shared. As in all courses, unauthorized recording and unauthorized sharing of recorded materials is prohibited.

POLICY ON ACCOMMODATING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Students with disabilities who experience learning barriers and would like to request academic accommodations should connect with the disability Resource Center by visiting It is important for students to share their accommodation letter with their instructor and discuss their access needs, as early as possible in the semester. Accommodations are not retroactive, therefore, students should contact the office as soon as possible in the term for which they are seeking accommodations.

ATTENDANCE AND MAKE-UP POLICY: Excused absences and allowances for make-up work are consistent with university policies in the undergraduate catalog ( and require appropriate documentation.

GRADES AND GRADING POLICY: All university-level grade policies may be found here:

CONTACT HOURS AND WORKLOAD: "Contact Hours" refers to the hours per week in which students are in contact with the instructor, excluding office hours or other voluntary contact. The number of contact hours in this course equals the number of credits the course offers. As a Carnegie I, research-intensive university, UF is required by federal law to assign at least 2 hours of work outside of class for every contact hour. Work done in these hours may include reading/viewing assigned material and doing explicitly assigned individual or group work, as well as reviewing notes from class, synthesizing information in advance of exams or papers, and other self-determined study tasks.

  • For tips and suggestions on how to approach this class and the appropriate amount of work required to master the topics we'll be covering see the page: How to Study for PHY2004 

POLICY ON ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT: UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.” The Honor Code specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions. Click here to read the Honor Code. Furthermore, you are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor or TAs in this class.

NETIQUETTE COMMUNICATION COURTESY:  All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all email messages, threaded discussions and chats:

COURSE EVALUATION: Students are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available at (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive fromGatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu underGatorEvals, or via  (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at . 

Health and Wellness Resources

U Matter, We Care: If you or someone you know is in distress, please contact, 352-392-1575, or visit U Matter, We Care website to refer or report a concern and a team member will reach out to the student in distress.

Counseling and Wellness Center: Visit the Counseling and Wellness Center website or call 352-392-1575 for information on crisis services as well as non-crisis services.

Student Health Care Center: Call 352-392-1161 for 24/7 information to help you find the care you need, or visit the Student Health Care Center website.

University Police Department: Visit UF Police Department website or call 352-392-1111 (or 9-1-1 for emergencies).

UF Health Shands Emergency Room / Trauma Center: For immediate medical care call 352-733-0111 or go to the emergency room at 1515 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, FL 32608; Visit the UF Health Emergency Room and Trauma Center website.

Academic Resources

E-learning technical support: Contact the UF Computing Help Desk at 352-392-4357 or via e-mail at

Career Connections Center: Reitz Union Suite 1300, 352-392-1601. Career assistance and counseling services.

Library Support: Various ways to receive assistance with respect to using the libraries or finding resources.

Teaching Center: Broward Hall, 352-392-2010 or to make an appointment 352- 392-6420. General study skills and tutoring.

Writing Studio: 2215 Turlington Hall, 352-846-1138. Help brainstorming, formatting, and writing papers.

Student Complaints On-Campus: Visit the Student Honor Code and Student Conduct Code webpage for more information.

On-Line Students Complaints: View the Distance Learning Student Complaint Process.

Disclaimer: This syllabus represents my current plans and objectives. As we go through the semester, those plans may need to change to enhance the learning opportunities in the class. Such changes, communicated clearly, are not unusual and should be expected, and this syllabus will be updated accordingly.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due