Laurence A. Marschall, Masters Hall, 207, x 6026


Required Course Materials:

Six Ideas that Shaped Physics, Unit N,  2nd edition, by Thomas A. Moore

Six Ideas That Shaped Physics, Unit R, 2nd edition, by Thomas A. Moore

A pocket calculator with trigonometric functions, scientific notation, and exponential functions

A green or purple pen

            A quadrille-lined, non spiral notebook (Roaring Spring Marble Cover in the college bookstore--get it right away!)
            A Responsive Innovations Response card, RF, (A "clicker"). You will be responsible for bringing this to every class and making sure the battery works.


Optional Course Materials:  A three-ring binder, ruler, and stapler


Office Hours:  Office hours can also be made by appointment if necessary. If my door is open (which is most of the time), you can often stop in with questions, and if my office door is closed, then you had best stay away.

Tuesdays, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Fridays, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.


Office hours can also be made by appointment, if necessary.  If my door is open, you can often stop in with questions; if my office door is closed, come back another time.


Course Overview:  Physics 112 is the second of a two semester calculus-based introduction to physics.  The course is divided into two units.  The first unit shows how Newtonian Mechanics can predict an object’s motion in response to an interaction with another object.  Newtonian Mechanics is able to correctly foretell not only terrestrial motions, but celestial motions, as well, as long as those objects are not traveling too fast.  To predict the motion of objects traveling near the speed of light, our second unit on Relativity is required.


Special Considerations: Any student with physical or learning disabilities that require special attention in class, lab, or on exams is more than welcome to discuss their needs with us.  Any laboratory issues should be discussed with the instructor teaching the lab (lab instructors are:  Monday afternoons: Randy Aldinger; Monday evenings: Don Walz; Tuesday evenings: Sharon Stephenson).


Assigned Readings:  The readings due for each class meeting are listed in the Physics 112 Course Outline beside their respective due dates.  The assigned readings give the necessary background for class meetings and are an integral part of the course.  Class meetings will be devoted to various tasks to help you practice using the concepts from the readings and for this reason, reading the assigned material before class is essential.



Weekly Homework:  Homework assignments are due at the beginning of class on the dates listed in the Physics 112 Course Outline.  They will be graded based on a ten-point scale (see next page) and handed back to you with solutions.  You will then have the option to make corrections with a green or purple pen and hand your corrected homework back at the beginning of the next class meeting.  You may obtain correction points only in the Clear and Correct categories.  For example, a complete but incorrect initial effort could obtain a 9 out of 10 after thorough corrections.  Since solutions are distributed, late homework will not be accepted as initial efforts; they will instead by considered correction efforts, with a maximum obtainable grade of 5 out of 10 points per problem.  Correction points will be docked 1 point for each day late (and you will need to get them to the grader on your own time).  The scale below shows that the majority of the grade is based on effort, not initial correctness.




3 = all parts present, fully developed


2 = some parts incomplete

2= model was clear to grader

1 = major sections missing

1 = some aspects were unclear

0 = little meaningful work done

0 = model was completely opaque


Initially OK




3 = no modeling/algebraic errors



2 = some modest errors

1 = result plausible

1 = OK on first pass

1 = fundamental errors



0 = almost nothing was correct



Bonus Points:  Points will be given for attending each of the semester’s physics colloquia.  These bonus points provide a welcome flexibility for those who miss a class due to a foreseen occurrence (field trip, job interview) and choose not to hand in homework early, or for those who miss class due to an unforeseen occurrence (illness, family emergency, oversleeping).


Honor Code Issues:  Correcting a colleague’s homework assignment for them for any reason is not permitted; however, you may turn in work for a colleague. 


Rich-Content Problems:  In addition to the more traditional homework problems, a number of rich-content problems are listed in boldface on the Physics 112 Course Outline.  These problems are more difficult than the typical homework problem and for this reason, group work is strongly encouraged (and should be documented on your solution, as will be shown by example in class).  A rich-content problem is worth twenty points (all grading categories as given above will be doubled).  During the collaborative learning session, you will have the opportunity to work with your group on the weekly rich-content problem (as well as other homework problems, if time permits).



Grading:  All grades in this course are on a fixed scale, as shown below.


Break Points


























Grading Options:  The lab component of the course represents 25% of your grade.  Most students find they learn best when they practice by coming to class and doing homework, but a rare few find this unnecessary; therefore, you can choose one of the following two options for determining your final grade:

Grading Option




Practice Emphasis




Test Intensive









You choose an option by signing the contract handed out on the first day of class.  You may change your contract by submitting a new contract no later than April 7.  There are four in-class exams and a cumulative final exam.  With the practice emphasis option, all five exams are weighted equally at 10%; with the test intensive option, all five exams are weighted equally at 15%.


Student Associate and Peer Tutoring:  Help with physics homework is available – free of charge – in the Masters Hall student lounge a few nights per week from Student Associate Kyle Wendler.  I am available during office hours and whenever my door is open.  Peer tutors are also useful resources – the Peer Tutoring Center in the CUB posts a list of current peer tutors each semester.


Lab Report:  The ability to write about experimental physics is one goal of our physics program at Gettysburg College.  As the Physics 112 Course Outline shows, your work in lab on analyzing the physics of the pendulum will be spread out over the semester, and will culminate with a formal lab report.  The grades on the two editions of your report combine to count for 25% of your overall lab grade.  The first edition will count 20 points, the final draft 60 points.  During the week of January 21, you will take your length-dependence data.  During the week of March 17, you will take your amplitude-dependence data and begin your analysis.  During the week of April 7, you will test the mass-dependence of the simple pendulum.  The first edition of your lab report is due at the beginning of class on April 18.  That edition will be read and grades, and you will meet with the instructor to go over ways to improve your report during labs on April 21 and 22.  The final edition of your lab report is due on April 29 (Tuesday) at the beginning of class.  More on writing first and final editions of the lab report will be discussed both in lab and in lecture.


Lab Policy:  Physics 112 labs meet once a week for almost every full academic week of the semester, as shown in the Physics 112 Course Outline.  Any student needing to change lab sections (for any reason) should inform both lab instructors (the instructor whose lab you regularly attend, as well as the instructor whose lab you wish to join for that particular week).


If you absolutely cannot join the other section during a particular week and you have a written valid excuse for why you cannot attend your regularly scheduled lab, you must contact your lab instructor as soon as possible, to determine if your excuse is worthy of a makeup.  Labs missed for legitimate reasons can be made up during the week of April 21, which is the same week as the individual meetings to discuss first editions of the pendulum lab report.  There is a practical limit of two labs that can be made up in that week.  Makeups must be initialed by a lab instructor upon completion.  The Departmental policy for labs that are not made up (for any reason) is as follows:


Number of Labs Missed



Zero for one lab exercise


Failure in the lab


Failure in the course


Click here for Course Outline