Physics Prep quiz results F 2004

Final 140 Math/physics prep quiz

Physic Final outline of answers


Physics 140 Information Sheet

Instructor: Robert (Bob) N. Rogers

Office: TH 305; email:; 338 2944

Office hours: Tuesday 2:15 - 3:30 (and Thursday, 11:30 -12 by appointment)


First class: Tuesday August 26, 2004, 1535-1700, Room TH424.
Last day to add a class to a program via touch-tone with first permit numbers: Sept 10.
Last day to drop without a W: Sept 22.
Last day to register for CR/NC option: Oct 24. The student does this by going directly to I won't be involved
Last day to withdraw via petition from class or university, but only with permission based on "serious and compelling reasons" (Documentation, written approval of instructor, Physics Chair and college dean required): Nov 15.
Thanksgiving Holiday - Nov 25 - 26
Last class day: Thursday Dec 9
Final Exam: Tuesday Dec 14, 1330- 1600, TH 424. *

*. The two part final is scheduled for Tuesday 14th, 1:30 to 4 PM. However, I have another final scheduled from 10:45 to 1:15, so I'll be trying to see if we can move our exam later by half an hour or so.

Pre-requisites: Passage of ELM and/or Intermediate algebra and trigonometry (Math 109 or Math. 70 and 107, or equivalent high school courses.). High School physics or Physics 101/102 strongly recommended. Some knowledge of using a scientific calculator.
Access to web is required

Text- Required: Physics, by J.S. Walker (Prentice Hall, 2002) This is the same text as used by Physics 111. I understand there is a new edition, so be sure to get the one being used for the Phys 111 course if that is where you are headed. If you are heading for 220, you still need to get access to a cop of Walker. Look for a used copy of the old edition. Since the problems you do will be at WebAssign (see below), you really don't need the current text. There isn't that much difference between the two.
AND you have to register for Webassign. - it costs $10 to register. Go to You should be recognized, although I don't have all the latest adds there yet. It costs $10; pay by credit or debit card. This is an on-line homework site. It has the problems from Walker that I will assign. You should find you have 3 attempts on a problem before you need to submit you work for grading. It tells you whether you got the question right or wrong on each try, and after the due time it gives you the solution. It also shows me how many tries you made and so enables me to be able to review your work. I really don't have the time to grade individual homework and to give feedback, so WebAssign should be of great benefit to both of us! To sign on, your user name is your first initial and last name (for instance, mine is rrogers), the institution is sfsu, and your (temp) password are the 5th through 8th digits of your 9 digit SS# or Student ID. That is, if your ss# was 123 45 6789, your password would be 5678.

In addition, I'll be referring you to an excellent on-line math tutorial site

Optional: Schaum's Outline of Precalculus by Fred Safier

Optional: I've tried a number of different specialized books to directly address the needs of these classes, but I've not had good luck. Two that I've used and which I will list as optional are
Cole, So You Want To Take Physics (Algebra and Trig) Saunders, 1993
J Celesia, Preparation for Physics Brooks-Cole (an alternative approach to Cole, rather idiosyncratic. Especially good for study techniques. It really works for some, not for others (I love it, but it doesn't have enough problems or exercises to practice on.))
(A BIG problem with both of these is that they are relatively expensive!)

As indicated, I am not requiring the Schaum's Outline book listed above. It's useful, but I think the site gives as much, if not more. Some of you may want another book that goes over elementary math concepts in more detail (the web site and Schaum's are reviews, not instructional texts). One I've used in the past is Prindle and Prindle: Math The Easy Way (Barron). However, the trouble with most of the books other than the Schaum's is that they don't have any trigonometry review, a big part of what we will be doing. The does have the trigonometry, however, another big plus for it.


  1. Be able to use basic pre-calculus mathematics to solve exercises involving exponents, scientific notation, trigonometric functions, and solution of simple equations
  2. Be able to work with 2 dimensional vectors and to apply them to simple physical situations
  3. Be able to discuss the major concepts of mechanics covered in the first 6 chapters of the texts used in Physics 111 or Physics 220.
  4. Be able to solve elementary mechanics questions related to the work covered in C.

Homework and Course binder: The primary homework source will be WebAssign: the problems from Walker. Doing work at home is a basic part of this course, as it is of any physics course! You will be expected to do work regularly, and to do so, I will ask you to turn in a schedule showing the at least 6 hours per week outside of class you intend to devote to the course. Work will be discussed in class and you should keep your solution in a notebook. Doing work at home is a basic part of this course, as it is of any physics course! Physics is a subject that requires active participation to learn, meaning unitl you can do the problems, you aren't learning physics. (There will always be lot's to practice on at WebAssign!) Work will be discussed in class and should be kept in a notebook. Doing the homework is the basis of the course!! Physics is a subject that requires active participation to learn!

I will also ask for a weekly personal journal email report from you in which you detail what you have done and accomplished during the past week, the problems you have finished and where you may have had particular problems or sticking points. While I have a minimum objective for coverage, I base much of the schedule on your feedback. Please send me these weekly emails by Tuesday whether I remember o ask you to or not.

There also will be occasional in-class quizzes, to check on requireed progress. After the first few weeks, however, it becomes impossible to give quizzes for the whole class due to diffeent rates of progress.

You should keep a homework binder with all your work including class notes, worked out problems, along with reading notes, questions, etc. This binder will be your one reference for the final (I promise most of the final will be taken from material you should have in your notebook), and the binder ought to be of great help to you in the intro physics course you will take next. Remember, the way you learn to solve complicated problems is by solving simpler related problems. That's where the notebook is important. By reviewing and becoming familiar with problems you have solved, you become able to solve more complicated problems. And if you are taking Phsics 111 next, you will find a number of the problems you do here will also be assigned in that class.

This is a 3-unit class, which means that you should be spending at least 6 hours a week outside of class on it. If you do less, you are shortchanging yourself in term of what can be a positive learning experience

On your written work - Walker presents a nice orderly presentation of the working out of problems . You should emulate the way he does things in your notes, though of course briefer, since you won't parrot his words. Read page 12 and 13 concerning solving physics problems. I will amend his comments a little, as when we start to use vectors in solving physics problems, I'll ask for a particular way of drawing the vector diagrams. On this point, once we reach vectors, you should expect to have 2 drawings per problem, a physical picture and a vector diagram. This will become clear in time.

Grading and Final Exam: This semester grading is for a letter grade. (In the past it has been for CR/NC only) For me to give a grade of B or better I have to be convinced that you are ready to move on to either Phys 111 or Phys 220 (depending on your calculus background). The grade will depend on two parts: math skills, and physics problem solving ability. The greater part of the grade will be based on your physics solving ability. However, in order for that to show up as part of your grade you will have to master the math skills which will be tested in the math prelim part of the final. Given that, the grades for which you become eligible, - C, B, or A - depends on your diligence on working through the problems that are posted on WebAssign and your performance on the physics problem solving part of the final.

Setting personal objectives and feedback: : Initially Iíll ask you to commit to a schedule which indicates the time you intend to spend on this course, and your specific learning goals. Iíll also ask for a weekly email feedback as to how you are adhering to your schedule and what material is giving you particular difficulty. This is in lieu of my conducting regular individual meetings, but I also strongly encourage you to come in to talk to me about how and what you are doing as the semester progresses.

Outline and indication of work that will be covered. The outline below is a suggested course of study. However, since I'll only be seeing most of your work via WebAssign, you can certainly deviate from this.

Math review:

Past semesters I have tried a variety of review texts, such as the Schaum's Outline series. This semester I am going to try an excellent on-line, free math tutor, found at This will be largely a self-tutor. You should work out problems and keep them inn your binder to show me. The tutor really only needs to be worked through if you need the review and drill, but Iím guessing, based on past experience, that all of you would gain by going through it.

1. Start with Fractions. This is so basic and so important to master in detail; I suggest you work your way all the way through, but Iíll ask you to be sure to do problems from each section until you understand. SoSmath gives you 29 rules; make sure that you know each one perfectly!

Units of conversion" is the next section in SOSmath. It is well done and very important in physics. It is treated in Chapter 1 of Walker, so this site gives you addional practice, should you need it. Be sure to review all three divisions of this section (linear measure, square measure, and cubic measure).
Skip complex numbers
Quadratic Equations is the next section. You should read at least the first section on basic definitions and the third section on the "quadratic equation." Apparently there are no problems in this section for your practice, so write out an example from each of the sections that you read.
Factorization and Roots of Polynomials is next and may be skipped.
Solving Equations is next. You need to go through the first five sections only, stopping before "Exponential Equations." There are practice problems in this section, so you should do all the odd problems.
Systems of Equations is next. You should go through the "two unknown" section AND the "three unknown" section up through the problems, and you should again write up every other problem, but just using one method, either substitution or elimination, but not the same method on every problem.
Finally (and one of the real troublemakers for most) will be the review of exponential rules and shortcuts. In this case do all the problems for the three rules presented. (This area is almost always the one where students lose the most points on the Prep Quiz.)

And that's it for the Algebra review section.


This is the one other math review section we consider. We are only interested in learning how the definition of the trigonometric functions and how to use them to calculate lengths of the sides of a right triangle, given one side and one angle (for any angle through 360 degrees or 2 pi radians). You also need to learn to be able to quickly calculate an angle of any vertex of a right triangle, given the lengths of any two sides. Also, we want to recognize the "special triangles" - the 45 -45-90, the 30-60-90, and the "3-4-5" and we want to know how to use radian measure. This means going through the Angle Measure section and the first part of the Trigonometric Functions section. We need to get through these trig section prior to (or coincident with) Chapter 3 of Walker. We may need to skip around to be able to do this. In addition, this is where one must learn to use your calculator, both in degree and radian measure of angles. Come to see me during office hours for additional help on this.



Outline and indication of work that will be covered.


  1. Walker, Chapter 1
    1. Use of units as algebraic quantities, conversion of units, significant figures;
  2. Walker, Chapter 2: one dimensional kinematics
    1. Distance vs. displacement, Speed vs. velocity, graphical interpretation, acceleration
  3. Chapter 3: Vectors (and trigonometry)
    1. Components
    2. Addition of vectors
    3. Unit vectors and displacement, velocity, and acceleration vectors
    4. Relative motion
  4. Chapter 4 Two-Dimensional Kinematics
    1. Motion in two dimensions
    2. Projectile motion
  5. Chapter 5 Newton's Laws
    1. Force and Mass, First Law, Newton's Second Law
    2. Third Law
    3. Forces as vectors
    4. Weight
    5. Normal Forces
  6. Applications of Newton's Laws
    1. Friction
    2. Strings and tension
    3. Circular Motion
  7. Work and Energy

a.   Constant forceKinetic Energy and the Work-Energy Theorem