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AP Physics 1 Course Outline

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Having finished up the rough draft of AP Physics 1 Essentials, I thought perhaps the table of contents with the covered topics might provide a better starting point than the preliminary outline I showed from last spring.  Note that any topics not specifically covered by AP-1 I highlighted by placing an asterisk by them (but I included them in the book feeling they were important to maintaining continuity assuming your students may want to AP-2 the following year).


Chapter 1: Introduction

What Is Physics?

Matter, Systems, and Mass


Mass – Energy Equivalence

Scope of AP Physics 1


Chapter 2: Math Review

Significant Figures

Scientific Notation

Metric System

Accuracy and Precision

Algebra and Trigonometry

Vectors and Scalars

Components of Vectors

The Equilibrant Vector


Chapter 3: Kinematics

Position, Distance and Displacement

Speed and Velocity


Particle Diagrams

Position-Time (x-t) Graphs

Velocity-Time (v-t) Graphs

Graph Transformations

Acceleration-Time (a-t) Graphs

Kinematic Equations

Free Fall

Projectile Motion

Angled Projectiles

Relative Velocity

Center of Mass



Chapter 4: Dynamics

Newton’s 1st Law of Motion

Free Body Diagrams

Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion

Newton’s 3rd Law


Air Resistance


Ramps and Inclines

Atwood Machines


Chapter 5: Work, Power & Energy




Gravitational Potential Energy

Springs and Hooke’s Law

Work-Energy Theorem

Conservation of Energy

Sources of Energy on Earth


Chapter 6: Linear Momentum

Defining Momentum


Impulse-Momentum Theorem

Non-Constant Forces

Conservation of Linear Momentum

Types of Collisions

Collisions in 2 Dimensions


Chapter 7: Circular Motion & Rotation

Uniform Circular Motion

Circular Speed

Centripetal Force

Frequency and Period

Vertical Circular Motion

Rotational Kinematics


Moment of Inertia

Newton’s 2nd Law for Rotation

Angular Momentum

Rotational Kinetic Energy


Chapter 8: Gravity

Universal Gravitation

Gravitational Fields

Gravitational Potential Energy


Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion*


Chapter 9: Oscillations

Simple Harmonic Motion

Horizontal Spring-Block Oscillators

Spring Combinations*

Vertical Spring-Block Oscillators

Ideal Pendulums


Chapter 10: Mechanical Waves

Wave Characteristics

The Wave Equation

Sound Waves



Standing Waves

Standing Waves in Instruments

Doppler Effect


Chapter 11: Electrostatics

Electric Charges

The Standard Model

Conductors and Insulators

Charging by Conduction*

Charging by Induction*

Coulomb’s Law

Electric Fields*

Electric Potential Difference*

Parallel Plates*


Equipotential Lines*



Chapter 12: Current Electricity

Electric Current


Ohm’s Law

Electrical Circuits

Energy & Power



Series Circuits

Parallel Circuits

Combination Series-Parallel Circuits


* - Not specifically required for AP Physics 1

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