After many, many long hours and tons of great feedback from physics teachers across the globe, I’m thrilled to announce the AP Physics 1 Essentials, a guidebook / review book for the upcoming AP Physics 1 course, is due for release in late August. I began work on this project in the summer of 2010 when conversations at the AP Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., led to a number of different teachers talking about the need for a detailed course breakdown to support the change, followed by discussion of what the true cost of the change would be in terms of instructor hours, curriculum rewrites, resource revisions, etc. It was obvious there was going to be a need for a guidebook for the course, and my goal was to provide a short “everything you need to know” book that was easy-to-read, fun, engaging, and inexpensive so that students could pick this up as a guidebook/review book without having to purchase entirely new textbooks to support the changing course.
I quickly picked up a following of fans eager to see the project succeed and more than willing to contribute what they could, from early draft versions of the Division of Content plans (which only vaguely resemble the final curriculum guides), to proposed and/or recommended formula sheets, to technical reviews, editing, “wish lists,” etc. I’ve been amazed at the positive response and helpfulness of so many, that has allowed this project to progress through multiple obstacles, from revised content and organizational issues through technical hurdles such as a corrupt book file caught nearly 80% into the rough draft. I guess this qualifies as checking the “nothing worthwhile is easy” box on the project.
I’m grateful to my family for allowing me the many hours early in the morning, late in the evening, and during the summer to work on this effort. As I write this, for example, I’m on vacation with my family. It’s almost 6 am, I’m watching the Allegheny River flow past, and just saw a bald eagle fly up the river, not 30 feet from where I sit typing. I also must thank the many physics instructors across the globe who have contributed in so many ways, from editing to hints to encouragement… but I need to say a special thank you to the APlusPhysics community. The website began as a tool to use in my own classroom, and quickly grew so popular that I felt compelled to continue to expand it at the request of its users. With more than 30,000 students using it EACH MONTH, I’ve been absolutely floored by the number of thank-you messages, letters of encouragement, and success stories contributed voluntarily by community members. You guys set me on this path, made the site and the books successful, and it’s your encouragement and support that have kept me at this project through the wee hours of the night and long hours of frustration.
Moving on to the final product… I’m proud to say the book is finished. Sure, it has a few more edits to make, a few more tweaks here and there, but everything is on track for a late August 2013 release. My long-term goal was to have the book released one year before teachers began teaching the revised AP course, and it appears we’ll hit that deadline on the nose (with special thanks to the AP for delaying the change a year from the date I was originally told back in the summer of 2010). I’m hoping you find it valuable to your courses and studies. This book was written as the guidebook I would want my students to have for the course. Not a full standard physics textbook, because my students don’t learn and fully read their physics textbook (except in snippets), but rather a book designed to be used as written, read AND understood, with tons of example problems and solutions.
Thank you so much for your tremendous support. I hope you enjoy AP Physics 1 Essentials as much as I enjoyed the opportunity to work with you and so many other amazing people on this project.
Make it a great day!