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Honors Physics Course Information Handout

John challenged us to share our course syllabi. Here is my latest (possibly final?) draft for this year. I would call this more of a course reference sheet than a syllabus since it doesn’t talk about what we’re going to learn. It’s more about how we’re going to learn it. My document’s genealogy goes back through a line that has common roots with the first version on John’s post. The course itself has evolved a lot since then, so the content has, too.

View this document on Scribd

So, on the surface, it’s not as sleek or sexy as the second version on John’s post. Still, I think the content itself is pretty compelling. Much of it is very different from what students often see/hear (or at least from what they expect to see/hear). Check out the homework section, for one. It might not be exciting at first glance, but I think it could start to sell (or at least intrigue) a reader. And experience tells me that at least a few of the students read it (students mentioning at late dates in the year that finally solving a difficult problem makes them think of the “YES, YOU CAN LEARN PHYSICS!” note, etc).

I include this document in the front of the binders that I distribute on the first day of class (more about the binders in a future post).

Questions? Suggestions? And as always, feel free to steal/modify/etc anything that you like.

About Kelly O'Shea

I teach high school kids physics at an independent day school in NYC. Less homework, more thinking. Follow @kellyoshea


7 thoughts on “Honors Physics Course Information Handout

  1. Handing this out would cause an incredible amount of confusion among my honors students. I’m tempted for just that reason…

    How does your regular physics handout differ from this one?

    Posted by jsb16 | July 29, 2011, 10:33 AM
    • Why so much confusion? (Assuming you edited the parts that were obviously not for your class, like being at breakfast every morning.) The one for the regular class is usually very similar. Success comes from the same sort of approach in either class. :)

      Posted by Kelly O'Shea | July 29, 2011, 12:16 PM
  2. I love this, especially the point about choosing to sleep always being the right choice.

    Posted by John Burk | July 30, 2011, 10:58 AM
    • A lot of students don’t believe me when I tell them that during class. Of course, if the same emphasis on in-class work over out-of-class work is not true in their other courses, then it doesn’t much matter; they will still stay up late to write the paper/study for the test/finish the assignment and be a zombie in all of their classes the next day.

      Posted by Kelly O'Shea | July 31, 2011, 11:16 AM
  3. Thanks Kelly for this! I’ve taking very liberally from it to create my first syllabus! (it can be found here: http://t.co/6CQzmuf)

    Posted by Nathan Chow (@nathanchow) | September 5, 2011, 9:46 PM
  4. Hi Kelly,

    I’m new to physics and modeling. Your materials are amazing. Thanks so much for being willing to share with other teachers. Would you be willing to send me the model packets that aren’t posted on your website? I donwloaded Units 1-4 for general physics ad=nd 1-8 for honors. My email is jennifer.west@puhsd.org.

    Thank you,
    Jennfier West
    PVHS – Menifee, CA

    Posted by Jennifer West | October 27, 2011, 12:28 PM

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