Syllabus for General Physics 1 (PHYS113)

Spring 2011

Important! You must be registered for four separate sections: LEC, QZ, REC and LAB. If you are missing any of these sections, get on a wait list immediately!

Course instructors:

Lecturer: Glenn Horton-Smith; Office: CW 32B; Email:

Lab instructor: David van Domelen; Office: CW 402; Email:

Required textbook and materials:

Textbook: Physics: Principles with Applications (6th Edition) by Douglas C. Giancoli, available as separate vols. 1 and 2 in paperback, or in combined vols. 1, 2 in hardcover. We will cover the material in vol. 1 in PHYS113, and the material in vol. 2 in PHYS114. If you plan to take both courses, the hardcover version is considered a better deal. The text is also available in electronic form. (I do not care where you get the text, or in what form, as long as you read it.)

Mastering Physics: This is a web-based tutoring and homework assignment system. It can be purchased separately or bundled with the textbook: there are many options, and the bookstore and the publisher do not seem to agree on which is the best deal. Registration instructions for Mastering Physics will be posted in K-State Online and given in the first day of class.

i>clicker®: This is a remote-control-looking gizmo used in many classes at K-State. If you already have one, you can use it. If not, you can buy one from the bookstore or on-line.

Lab manual: available at the Arts and Sciences copy center in the basement of Eisenhower Hall.

Course Web Site:

Important course resources such as exam grades, announcements, practice exams, lecture notes and so-on will be posted on the course web site, accessed through K-State Online. You can also find information and links to help for physics courses at

Individual Help:

Any student wanting individual help is urged to visit the Physics Help Room in Cardwell 41 whenever it is open, or see their recitation or lecture instructor during office hours, or at other times by appointment. The schedule of the Help Room will be posted on the course web site and on the Physics Department teaching page about a week after courses begin. In addition, some physics graduate students work as paid tutors. A list of contacts will be posted when available.

Authorized vs Unauthorized Aid in Academic Work for this class:

In this course, you are permitted to work with other students on homework problems, but you may not directly copy answers from any source. You must work the problems for yourself. Exams and quizzes must be completed individually using only the materials allowed by the exam/quiz instructions. Policies for laboratory work and write-ups are given in the lab manual. If you have any questions about what constitutes authorized and unauthorized aid, contact the instructor immediately.


Grades are determined on a 1000 point scale as shown below. You cannot get a good grade in the course unless you do all the homework, take all the exams, and do well in the laboratory.

Distribution of points:

Homework: 200 points;
Best 4 of 5 quizzes: 400 points;
i>clicker: 25 points;
Final exam: 175 points;
Laboratory: 200 points *;
Total: 1000 points.

Determination of final grade:

900 points or above: A
800 - 899 points: B
700 - 799 points: C
600 - 699 points: D
Under 600 points: F *

* A passing grade in laboratory is required to pass the course.

Recitations and Homework:

Solving problems systematically on a regular basis is an important part of success in physics. Qualitative understanding of concepts is also important.

Homework counts as 20% of your final grade. There will be one assignment per week. Most of the homework will consist of short-answer questions and tutorials in the Mastering Physics web-based instruction system. One problem each week must be worked out on paper. The “paper homework” will be graded on the work shown.

Assigned homework should be worked out before the Wednesday recitation class each week. Recitation class will be used for discussing concepts and solutions of problems. Your solution to the “paper homework” must be turned in to your recitation instructor at the end of recitation. Final on-line homework answers must be submitted in Mastering Physicsbefore 10 PM Wednesday. No credit is given for late homework.


There are five one-hour exams during the semester. Only the best four of your five scores will count. Makeup exams will be given only in extraordinary circumstances. Exams are given at 5:30 pm on the Thursdays shown in the schedule, in CW101, CW102, and CW103. Assignment of exam rooms will be announced in lecture and posted on the course web site. The final exam is comprehensive, mandatory, and has almost the same weight as two one-hour exams.

Exams contain problems that are similar (but not identical) to homework problems, and also conceptual questions in multiple-choice format. You will record multiple-choice exam responses on Scantron cards for automatic grading. Less than 10% of the exam questions will require written solutions. Your exam grade will usually be available in the Gradebook on the course web site a few days after each exam.

The exams are closed-book, closed-note. A sheet ofuseful equations” will be provided with your exam as a memory aid. But please note that past student experience has shown that having equations available does not guarantee success -- understanding the physics is the key.

Practice Exams:

A file of last year's exams (without solutions) will be available on the course web site. They are a useful study resource. Each practice exam also includes the equation sheet so you can see what equations will be provided.


The laboratory is a required and integrated part of the course, and counts 20% of your final grade. A passing grade in laboratory is required to pass the course. See the lab manual for rules and grading procedures. You must have a lab manual at the first lab. They are available at the Arts and Sciences copy center in the basement of Eisenhower Hall.

Credit for Previous Lab Work:

Students retaking the course who have successfully completed the lab must contact Dave van Domelen in CW402 (532-1605) prior to the first week of lab in order to get credit for previous lab work.

Conditions Requiring Special Accommodations:

If you have any condition such as a physical or learning disability which will require academic accommodations, please notify the instructor and contact the Disability Student Services office (Holton 202) during the first two weeks of the course.

All Course Syllabi Must Include the Following Statements
[but please read them anyway]

Statement Regarding Academic Honesty:

Kansas State University has an Honor System based on personal integrity, which is presumed to be sufficient assurance that, in academic matters, one's work is performed honestly and without unauthorized assistance. Undergraduate and graduate students, by registration, acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Honor System. The policies and procedures of the Honor System apply to all full and part-time students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses on-campus, off-campus, and via distance learning. The honor system website can be reached via the following URL: . A component vital to the Honor System is the inclusion of the Honor Pledge which applies to all assignments, examinations, or other course work undertaken by students. The Honor Pledge is implied, whether or not it is stated: "On my honor, as a student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work." A grade of XF can result from a breach of academic honesty. The F indicates failure in the course; the X indicates the reason is an Honor Pledge violation. For more information refer to the “Academic Dishonesty” policy in the K-State Undergraduate Catalog and the Undergraduate Honor System Policy on the Provost's web page at

Statements for Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Any student with a disability who needs a classroom accommodation, access to technology or other academic assistance in this course should contact Disability Support Services ( and/or the instructor. DSS serves students with a wide range of disabilities including, but not limited to, physical disabilities, sensory impairments, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, depression, and anxiety.

Statement Defining Expectations for Classroom Conduct

All student activities in the University, including this course, are governed by the Student Judicial Conduct Code as outlined in the Student Governing Association By Laws, Article VI, Section 3, number 2. Students who engage in behavior that disrupts the learning environment may be asked to leave the class.


This syllabus, lectures, and other course materials copyright 2011 by Glenn Horton-Smith. Selling notes to or being paid for taking notes by any person or commercial firm is prohibited without the express written permission of the professor teaching this course.