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IUPUI Jaguars logo Physics 25100 logo National Science Foundation Logo
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Lab Prep

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Course Information

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Click the buttons above to get the course syllabus, etc.

General information for Physics 25100, Spring 2012

Class schedule:
Lecture meetings are in LD010 MWF from 12:00 - 12:50
Recitation meetings are in LD010 and LD004 TR from 12:00 AM - 12:50 PM
Lab meetings are in LD011 M, W 1:00 - 2:50 PM and R 2:00 - 3:50 PM. Please make sure you know which section you have been assigned to.

Web site:
This web site is an important method for communication among faculty and students in 25100. The URL for the home page is The site can also be reached conveniently through In addition to basic information, the web site includes access to all assignments and schedules, the course objectives page, a course bulletin board, and instructor contact information.

Dr. Andy Gavrin,, 274-6909, Office Hours: Any time I am in, please drop by!

Recitation Instructors:
Dr. Yogesh Joglekar,, 274-6911, Office Hours: Any time I am in, please drop by!
Dr. Fangqiang Zhu, 274-6900, Office Hours: any time I am in, please drop by!
Dr. Jeff Ou, 274-2125, Office Hours: any time I am in, please drop by!

Lab Instructor:
Mr. Yu Ding

Rather than a traditional (heavy, expensive and boring) textbook, we are using SmartPhysics. The SmartPhysics system includes prelecture videos (which replace traditional reading assignments), Checkpoints (which help you get started thinking about the material before class), and online homework. You earn points for each of these activities, as detailed below. Smartphysics is written by Gladding, Selen, and Stelzer of the University of Illinois, and published by WH Freeman (2012).

Please visit the SmartPhysics site as soon as possible and get registered for our course. The access key for our course is 251sp12. There are detailed instructions in the resources folder for this class in OnCourse.

PHYS 152, MATH 166. Co-registration in Math 261 is strongly encouraged. Expertise in algebra, trigonometry, and calculus is essential.

There are three lectures, two recitations, and one laboratory per week. Most of the submissions for this course are done electronically. Our web site can be reached from Click on the link to "Phys251" for the course home page. The Course Information link takes you to this page. Check out all the buttons to see what they do.

You will have to do a moderate amount of writing in this course. You will write two full lab reports and write text responses to questions in lab each week. The checkpoint exercises require written answers, and the puzzles (extra credit) require written answers as well. In all written assignments, you should write as if you were writing a technical memo in a business situation. Please see the writing page for more information.

25100 tests will be closed book. No notes or materials of any kind will be permitted. However a formula sheet will br provided for use on the test.

Only basic scientific calculators may be used. Graphing calculators, calculators that are capable of storing significant quantities of text, calculators that can manipulate symbolic expressions, and calculators with infrared communications capability are not permitted. If you are unsure about a calculator you plan to use, please check with the instructor. PDA's, smartphones, tablets, and computers are all prohibited, and cell phones must be turned off (not just set to vibrate) during exams.

No makeup tests will be given. If you must miss a test, please contact the lecturer or the physics department office (275-6900) before the test, or as soon after as is possible. If you have a valid, documented reason for missing the test, you will receive credit for that test equal to your average score on the other two tests. If you miss a second test, you will be given no credit except under extraordinary circumstances.

We will use "clickers" during both the lectures and the recitations. On average, there will be points awarded during each class meeting. Clickers are available from the bookstore. Also note that the clickers used in 152 and in Chem 105 are fine for use in 251. Please be sure to register your clickers for this class in Oncourse. You must register for both the lecture and the recitation.

Homework assignments:
Homework is due through the smartphysics website on most Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The access key for our course is 251sp12. Occasionally, a "special assignment" will be given when the Smartphysics system does not completely meet our needs. These assignments can be found on the assignments page.

The Checkpoint assignments are also due through SmartPhysics. Please take seriously the portion in which you write an answer to the question "Explain your reasoning." We will make use of these answers in class, and you may lose credit if your answer is not serious. You do not have to be correct, but you do have to explain in physics terms why you chose the answer you did. The Checkpoints have have a few objectives:

  • They introduce you to the new material, and get you started thinking about important topics
  • They help you get motivated to stay caught up in the reading
  • Your answers give me a sense of what topics requirre the most stress during class
  • They give us a few common "talking points" to refer to in class
  • They encourage you to put your ideas about the material into words, a process that often helps you clarify your thoughts
  • They give you a little practice with your writing skills

There are a few basic policies for this courses. Please be sure to ask the instructor if any of these policies are not clear to you.

  • At the end of the semester, there is a single grade for the course including the laboratory.
  • To pass you must have a combined total of 50% (250 points) on the three hour tests and the final.
  • Attendance in the lab is mandatory. Unexcused absence will result in an F for the course. Please contact your instructor if you must miss a lab
  • Extra credit points will become part of your total credit.
  • A total of 1000 points are available:
300 points Three one-hour tests (100 points each)
200 points Comprehensive Final Exam (two hours)
150 points Homework
100 points Checkpoints
100 points Clicker questions (recitation and lecture)
150 points Laboratory
1000 points TOTAL

We will drop your three lowest clicker scores in each category, and your two lowest homework scores. At the end of the semester, the total points in each category will be multiplied by a scale factor to reach the totals above, so please do not worry about how many assignments there will be, and the total number of points in each assignment.

In addition, approximately 60 points of extra credit will be available, primarily from Puzzles (due Fridays, through this web site).

At the end of the semester, the following grade cutoffs are guaranteed. These cutoffs may be lowered at the discretion of the faculty, but we promise that they will not be raised.

900 or above: A-
800 or above: B-
700 or above: C-
600 or above: D-

Withdrawal policy is the same as for most other IUPUI courses. Students may withdraw from the course up to the halfway point in the semester with just their advisor's signature. For the third quarter of the semester, the signatures of he advisor and the instructor are required. During this third quarter, students wishing to withdraw from 25100 will be given a W (rather than an F) regardless of their performance to that point. Students should check with the registrar or the School of Science to determine the exact dates affecting withdrawal.

There is no administrative withdrawal policy in 25100. If you wish to withdraw, you must complete a withddrawal form.

University College Freshman (those with 25 hours or below completed) are subject to an additional limitation regarding withdrawals: Such students may not drop more than one course per semester. This policy will be enforced through advisor sign-off on drop requests. The policy does not include course adjustments made during the first week of class nor does it apply to classes in which a student has been "administratively withdrawn". If you have any additional questions, please check with your advisor.

This site is made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation (DUE-9981111).

©2012 A. Gavrin, all rights reserved.