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Intro to Physics
Part 1:
What is physics and how does it
relate to me?
What do I already know about
What is Physics?
Physics is the science of matter, energy,
space, and time.
MATTER: It explains ordinary matter as
combinations of particles (quarks and
leptons), interacting through forces.
ENERGY: It describes the many forms of
energy—such as kinetic energy and electrical
energy—and the way energy can change
from one form to another.
SPACE AND TIME: It describes the way
objects move through space and time.
How Does Physics
Relate to Real Life?
Physics is all around us.
It is in the electric light you turn on in the
morning; the bus you take to school; your
wristwatch, cell phone, CD player, radio, and
that big plasma TV set you got for Christmas.
It makes the stars shine every night and the
sun shine every day, and it makes a baseball
soar into the stands for a home run.
What Can You Do With Physics?
There are many fields of physics: mechanics,
electricity, heat, sound, light, atomic physics,
nuclear physics, astronomy, etc.
Work for research laboratories, universities, private
companies, and government agencies.
Teach, do research, and develop new technologies.
Do experiments on mountaintops, in mines, and in
Earth’s orbit.
Are good at solving problems: How does a mirror
reflect light? What holds an atom together? How fast
does a rocket have to go to escape from earth? How
can a worldwide team share data in real time?
(Solving this last problem led physicists to invent the
World Wide Web.)
Unit Layout:
The Physics of Motion
Physics Unit
Uniform Motion
Position-Time Graphs
Non-Uniform Motion
Velocity-Time Graphs
So What Do We Already Know
About Motion?
What are some forces that help or hinder
On the ground? In the air?
Is it easier to make a turn your car on the road
when it is dry, or when it is icy?
Is it easier to move a heavy box across a tile
floor or carpet?
What falls faster: heavy objects or light ones?
What happens to a ball when you throw it into
the air? What forces act on it?
So What Do We Already Know
About Motion?
Problem: Using the materials assigned, design a
rotocopter that will fall the slowest to the floor.
Gravity is the force of attraction that causes objects to
fall toward the center of the earth.
Air resistance, or air friction, can slow down the
acceleration of a falling object.
The area “fronting the wind” affects the amount of air
resistance a falling object encounters.
So What Do We Already Know
About Motion?
In small groups, come up with a definition (on
your own!) and examples for each of the
following terms. You do not have to write: just
Physics: Important Unit Terms
Position = describes an object’s location.
Time = describes when an event occurs.
Distance = the total length of a journey along every twist
and turn of the path.
Displacement = describes how much an object’s
position has changed.
Speed = how fast something is moving.
Velocity = the speed and direction of motion.
Acceleration = how much an object’s velocity changes
in a certain time (speeding up, slowing down, changing
Scalar = a measurement that gives only magnitude (how
Vector = a measurement that gives magnitude and