Physics Course Online: Intro to Physics (Part 1)

"Physics for middle schoolers is EXACTLY what a traditional science education is missing" -- Dan T, parent and science teacher

Course Overview

It’s an introductory level physics class for middle schoolers or older.

This physics class will examine forces creating motion. If you can draw arrows, you can understand this course! Unlike a normal physics class, you won’t need an advanced understanding of algebra to master the physics concepts. We’ll do physics the fun way to cover Newton’s Laws of Motion, a truly classic topic in “classical physics.”

We will start at the beginning, and learners will develop the skill to make scientific drawings. We will analyze the forces and energies for everyday objects including balls, bicycles, cars, planes, skydivers, space ships, satellites, the moon, and, obviously, a catapult of admittedly medieval design.

 

 

How to Join This Live Class?

Step 1. Check the Schedule

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Or see complete instructions to join a live class.

Course Data

Videos Included: The video textbook has 87 videos (6.5 hours total) including complete physics lessons and detailed worksheet solutions.

Materials Included:  The course has 9 printable pdf files including worksheets and class notes.

Time commitment: Learners typically spend 1-2 hours per week, which includes combined live in-class time and out-of-class time.

Course durationSemester length (half school year) or summer session.

Instructor Support Included: Dr. Scott teaches the live class personally. He is available for questions and evaluates worksheets by email. There are grades and a certificate of completion at the end. 

Who It's For

– middle school aged learners
– high school students without previous physics experience
– younger learners with an advanced interest in science
– adults looking for a science education
– teachers seeking a fresh perspective on physics

Learning Outcomes

Learners completing Introduction to Physics (Part 1) will be able to:

  1. Analyze forces on solid objects
  2. Analyze energy for solid objects and fluids
  3. Understand energy conservation and losses
  4. Understand mass, gravity, and the solar system
  5. Make technical diagrams
  6. Show curved paths for flying objects
  7. Get introduced to modern space science
  8. Access satellite data feeds
  9. Confidently approach physics

Course Topics

Lesson 1: Force Vectors

We will discuss, analyze, and draw forces using arrows to represent the strength and direction of many common types of forces. We’ll talk about the practical significance of Isaac Newton’s law that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” We will understand how balancing forces result in resting objects while unbalanced forces result in motion.

Lesson 2: Acceleration

We will discuss the scientific concept of motion by introducing the terms speed, velocity, and acceleration. We will learn that gravity is a force that produces acceleration, that is falling objects increase their speed the further they fall.

Lesson 3: Kinetic and Potential Energy

There are many, many forms of energy, that stuff that makes things happen. We will discuss two common forms called kinetic energy, the energy of motion, and potential energy, the energy of something at rest. We will discuss how energy is transformed between these forms, but never destroyed. We will introduce the concept of inefficiencies and energetic “losses” that happen in the real world.

Lesson 4: Flight Paths

The path of a flying object can be plotted precisely. The theory involves analyzing the transformation of potential energy into kinetic energy. We’ll use graph paper to plot some flight paths for common objects.

Lesson 5: Gravity and Orbits

We will learn how gravity holds the solar system together. Planets stay in fixed orbits around the sun, and humans have created satellites to stay in orbit around our planet. We will conclude the course by accessing realtime satellite data feeds showing beautiful imagery of our Earth.

Course Sequence

Physics Part 1 is the first, beginner-level course in our multi-year sequence of online physics courses. You’ll want to get started here.

Physics Part 1 is followed by Physics Part 2: Waves. Advanced physics courses include Physics Part 3: Electricity and Circuits and Physics Part 4: Gasses.

Meet Your Instructor

Hi, I’m Dr. Scott, the course instructor and author of the digital textbook that you get with the course.

As a former college professor, engineer, and scientist, I think it’s really strange that most learners don’t get much physics until about their last year of high school, if at all. Physics is all around us. And it really doesn’t take tons of annoying math to appreciate it.

The focus of my courses is a practical physics education, and we’ll strategically avoid most of the complicated equations, weird math, and long calculations that plague the typical physics classroom.