University of Mount Union, Department of Biochemistry, Chemistry & Physics
Physics 101N:  General Physics I, Spring 2023
Prof. Bob Ekey      Bracy Science Hall - Room 149, Phone:  330/823-3657, e-mail:

Class: Bracy 06

MWF 10:00 - 10:50 am*
Taught by Bob Ekey


Lab: Bracy 142
Sections 1-2
W, 6:30-9:20 pm
Prof. Cynthia Smotzer
Th, 8:10-11:00 am
Prof. Roy McCullough

*In the event of special circumstances, instructor may elect to hold class for full 65 minute period (rather than 50 min)

Covid-19 Accommodations: Withe pandemic becoming an endemic, we still need to be mindful of students that are sick or in quarantine.  We will follow the rules set forth by Mount Union regarding social distancing, masking, sanitation.... etc.  For written work, we will begin to return to pre-pandemic practices with lab assignments turned in prior to the start of lab.  We will continue to use Desire2Learn (D2L) to submit scanned written work for homework, unless the class as a whole determines it prefers to turn in work in person.  While it is highly unlikely we will go fully remote, it is possible we will need to utilize D2L depending on the conditions.  

Office hours:  See the assignments page for current times.

You set the agenda for office hours. Come with questions about the lecture, laboratory, reading, homework, exams, grading, or anything else of concern or interest. Attend in groups or as an individual. If you would like to discuss something in private, please make a separate appointment.  When multiple people are present, people will alternate asking questions. If I am not in my office during office hours, check my white board for a note of where we are -  typically we will meet in the intro physics labs (Bracy 141 or 142).  

Textbook/MasteringPhysics:  Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics: A Strategic Approach, 4th edition, by Randall D. Knight (2017, Pearson/Addison Wesley, ISBN 9780134110561). With the Raider Ready program, you have already purchased access to the course materials.  Head to course page on Desire2Learn (D2L) and under the content tab look for the Ebook/Etext folder and follow the instructions. For Phy101, the MasteringPhysics course ID is ekey63958.  Please note that you must have access to it by the first day of classes. The site for MasteringPhysics will provide access to a digital text, online content and online problems. MasteringPhysics and the accompanying online text will be used for both Phy101 and Phy102, assuming you take it in the next semester.

Lecture Notes: The lecture notes are a critical tool for your learning experience and are required for class.  They contain a summary of the relevant theories and related problems which will be attempted in class.  They are available for download on the assignments page.  The lecture notes for the current week will be posted no later than 9 PM Sunday of the week in question. 

You are required to bring the lecture notes to class.

Content:  We will study kinematics, force and motion, work and energy, momentum and collisions, gravity, thermodynamics, rotational motion and oscillations.  The course will follow the tentative schedule shown on the assignments page.  The assignments page will be updated regularly; you should check it often for reading and homework assignments as well as for adjustments to the schedule.  Additional assignments and content will be posted on MasteringPhysics and the D2L page for this course.

Please read each assigned section before coming to lecture. 

Phy101N is a Natural Sciences Foundation Course in the Integrated Core.

Goals:  I hope to expand your knowledge of physics and how it relates to the world, further develop your analytical, conceptual and critical thinking skills and enable you to apply physics to real life and qualitative situations.  I also hope you find at least one concept or application that excites or intrigues you. 

Expectations:  I expect you to engage the material, your peers and me both in and out of class and lab in physics related conversations.  I do not expect you to love math in all of its intricacies but do expect you to have an understanding of algebra, trigonometry and geometry.  An understanding of calculus will help, but is not required.  When problems with math arise I expect you to seek assistance.  You may find this course challenging and fast paced, but as long as you work diligently, you will succeed. 

I do expect you to abide by the honesty code as described in the Student Handbook.  Failure to abide by these rules may cause you to receive an “F” in this course.

This course also shares the common syllabus elements posted on

Accessibility: The University of Mount Union values disability as an important aspect of diversity and is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is the campus office that collaborates with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations based upon appropriate documentation, nature of the request, and feasibility. If you have, or think you have, a temporary or permanent disability and/or medical diagnosis in any area such as, physical or mental health, attention, learning, chronic health, or sensory, please contact SAS. The SAS office will confidentially discuss your needs, review your documentation, and determine your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. Accommodations are not retroactive, and the instructor is under no obligation to provide accommodations if a student does not request accommodation or provide documentation. Students should contact SAS to request accommodations and should discuss their accommodations with their instructor as early as possible in the semester. You may contact the SAS office by phone at (330) 823-7372; or via e-mail at

Attendance:  Students will be held responsible for all course materials missed due to class absences.  Laboratory attendance is mandatory and unexcused absences are not acceptable and will result in failure of the course.  If an emergency or catastrophe will prevent you from attending class or lab, or turning in an assignment, please notify me of your situation PRIOR to the event in question when possible.  Reasonable and documented excuses will enable missed work or labs to be completed post deadline.   

When multiple lecture sections of the course exist, you are required to attend the lecture that you are assigned and you must take the exam in the lecture you are assigned.

Exams:  There will be three in-class exams during the semester, with a comprehensive final exam.  All exams will be closed book.  When there are two sections of lecture, you are required to attend the lecture section you are assigned for all exams.  Failure to take an exam at your assigned section will result in earning a "zero" on the exam.  Discussion of exams among those that have taken an exam and those that have not is forbidden. These exam discussions are considered cheating and will be treated appropriately. 

Homework:  Usually there will be one multi-part homework assignment due each week.  A typical assignment will contain questions assigned on MasteringPhysics, from the end of the relevant chapter(s) and/or occasionally related questions of my own design.  Questions will be a combination of multiple choice, short answer conceptual questions and traditional physics problems.  Homework questions and due dates are posted on the Physics 101 assignments webpage.  Your completed online problems and written solutions to the homework questions are due by 4 PM on the due date (usually Tuesday).

You are required to complete each problem correctly on MasteringPhysics.  Each completed problem earns 1 point, regardless of how many attempts you make or hints you explore. Please write out your problems to the best of your ability, but you are not required to turn in this work. It is suggested to complete this portion prior to the written portion of the homework, as it is meant as a preparation for the written problems.

The written portion of the assignment may be turned any time prior to the deadline using the dropbox setup on the Phy101 D2L course page.  The images/scans of your work should be at a reasonable file size/resolution that they can be easily read.  Assignments turned in after the due date will not accepted, but can be turned in for feedback. 

Written Homework Guidelines (these are useful suggestions for your work on the online portion of the homework as well)

- Justify your answer, show your work or provide discussion, don't just write down the answer. 
- Use 1 side of the paper
- Keep problems organized
- Write legibly
- Make sure it is clear what your answer is... box, highlight or bold face your answer, it is up to you.

All Homework will be graded and returned in a timely manner.  To help achieve this goal it is not practical to grade all of the problems for content.  I do expect you to attempt all of the assigned problems, as homework is an important source for learning this material.  Each written assignment will be graded for completeness with 1 point given for each problem that has been attempted.  Four problems from each assignment will be chosen to be graded for content, which will be each be graded on a 0-3 point scale. 

Rough definitions of scores:

0 - You wrote something, but missed the main point and/or didn't show your work. 
        (note that you still receive one point for completeness for this effort)
1 - You sort-of understand what’s going on, but made a major mistake.
        (algebra error, multiple minor mistakes, right thought wrong equation... etc.)
2 - You understand what’s going on, but made a minor mistake.  
        (units, calculation error, significant figures.... etc.)
3 - Perfect, Great, Nice Work.

Once the written homework is graded and feedback returned, solutions will be posted on the assignments webpage. For each assignment, the overall grade will be the sum of the MasteringPhysics and written problems completed and the points for problems graded for content.  Your lowest homework assignment grade will be dropped from your final homework average. 

The laboratory is a required part of this course.  Lab work will be a group effort.  Lab assignments must represent the reporting and analysis skills of each student.   These assignments provide an opportunity to write and speak about the laboratory experience and should increase your understanding of the scientific method, conceptual understanding and problem solving skills.  A scientific calculator that has logarithms, trigonometric and exponential functions should be brought to all labs (and classes).  Students are required to document their laboratory experience and the assignments represent your individual understanding of the concepts, experiments, results and conclusions. The lab assignment is due at the start of your next lab, unless indicated there is no digital submission to D2L.

Further details of the laboratory requirements will be provided in lab.

Written and Oral Communication (WOC): A significant component of a Foundational Knowledge course is written and oral communication, and it is important in physics to not just have the right answer but to be able to explain it.  You will be expected to provide written descriptions of theory, experiments and results within your homework and laboratory assignments and engage in peer discussion in lecture, lab and elsewhere.   To fulfill the Writing and Oral Communication requirements, one written and one oral assignment will be required based on your laboratory experiences.  Details for preparing these assignments will be provided when the content related to the assignments is begun.

You are required to upload samples of writing and oral communication from this Foundational Knowledge course to Desire2Learn.  While completing the oral assignment(s) in class or lab, you will need to provide an SD card to save the recording of your presentation(s).  Your instructor will assist you in the development and assessment of the assignments; however the instructor is not responsible for uploading the files nor providing an SD card to save the recording.  

Grading: Your course grade is based on your homework (20%), exams (60%) and lab (20%).

Your total homework grade will be the average grade (minus the lowest grade) for all assignments.
Your total exam grade will be 10% for test 1, 15% for test 2 and 3 and 20% for the final.
Your total lab grade will be the average grade of your lab assignments (including WOC assignments).

Straight percentages will be given for all work, with the mid-semester and final grade based on overall class performance. Other considerations will influence your final grade including, class participation, class and laboratory attendance, and seeking timely guidance during office hours.  Any student achieving at a level of 'C-' or below will be given an estimated grade on their mid-term deficiency grade report.

Collaboration & Cheating: You are encouraged to collaborate with one another on the homework and lab assignments, but you must write up your answers separately and in your own words.  Copying solutions (fellow classmates, the books, previous versions of the course, those found on the internet or otherwise) is considered cheating and unacceptable, and will result in no credit for the assignment, a trip to the academic dean and possible failure of the course.  These scores cannot be dropped nor replaced in your grade average.  For additional help and discussion on the homework or laboratory assignments please see me or your lab instructor.  Cheating on a test results in immediate failure of the course and a trip to the academic dean.