High School Physics Course

Time4Learning offers an online, interactive high school physics curriculum that correlates to state standards. It can be used as a primary homeschool curriculum, a supplement to your current curriculum and as an afterschool or summer skill building program. At the high school level, Time4Learning is organized by courses rather than grade levels, so parents have the option of choosing any four as part of membership.

The Physics curriculum is one of five science courses offered at the high school level. Physics is taught using a combination of multimedia lessons, instructional videos, worksheets, quizzes, tests and both online and offline projects. The Physics course is designed to prepare students for college level science.

This page includes information about the material covered in the High School Physics course.

Chapter 1 – Linear Motion

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover linear motion. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of vectors and scalars, position and displacement, speed, velocity, acceleration, using the kinematic equations, graphs of motion, and reference frames and relative motions.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Vectors and scalars – Students will learn how to compare and contrast the properties of vectors and scalar quantities.
  • Position and displacement – Students are taught how to define, describe, and calculate the position and displacement of an object.
  • Speed – Students must calculate the average and instantaneous speeds of an object when given the change in position and time.
  • Velocity – Students are taught how to identify an object’s velocity by analyzing its motion. Students will also be required to calculate the average and instantaneous velocity of an object.
  • Acceleration – Students will learn how to determine an object’s acceleration by analyzing its motion. Students will also be required to calculate average acceleration.
  • Using the kinematic equations – Students must calculate position, velocity, and acceleration using the kinematic equations.
  • Graphs of motion – Students are taught how to create and interpret graphs of motion over time.
  • eference frames and relative motions – Students conclude the lesson by describing and comparing the motion of a single object in multiple reference frames.

Chapter 2 – Projectile (2-D) Motion

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover projectile (2-D) motion. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of components of vectors and projectile motion.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Components of vectors – Students are taught how to resolve a two-dimensional vector into its components.
  • Projectile motion – Students must solve two-dimensional motion problems with and without constant acceleration, or projectile motion.

Chapter 3 – Newton’s Laws

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover Newton’s laws. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of mass, forces, vector analysis of forces, equilibrium of forces, free-body diagrams, Newton’s first law, Newton’s second law and Newton’s third law.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Mass – Students are taught how to tell the difference between inertial and gravitational mass and weight.
  • Forces – Students study force in this lesson by listing examples of forces, such as friction, and describing how forces on everyday objects can be measured.
  • Vector analysis of forces – Students will learn how to calculate the resultant force given component forces.
  • Equilibrium of forces – Students must be able to determine and describe the conditions that are necessary for an object to stay at rest or at a constant velocity.
  • Free-body diagrams – Students are taught how to create a free-body diagram for an object, and then use it to calculate the net force on the object.
  • Newton’s first law – Students are introduced to Newton’s first law, which teaches students how to apply the concept of inertia to explain relevant physical phenomena.
  • Newton’s second law – Students move on to Newton’s second law, which teaches them how to apply Newton’s second law to qualitatively explain the effect of force on motion and how to solve one-dimensional motion problems.
  • Newton’s third law – Students conclude the lesson with Newton’s third law, which requires students to compare action and reaction forces. Students must then explain the affects of action and reaction forces on a pair of objects.

Chapter 4 – Momentum

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover momentum. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of calculating momentum, calculating momentum in two dimensions, impulse and momentum, conservation of momentum and collisions.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Calculating momentum – Students are given an object’s mass and velocity and required to calculate its momentum.
  • Calculating momentum in two dimensions – Students must put their trigonometry and vector analysis to work in order to solve momentum problems.
  • Impulse and momentum – Students are taught how to apply the relationship between impulse and momentum in order to perform an analysis of changes in momentum.
  • Conservation of momentum – Students will learn how to apply conservation of momentum to qualitative analysis of systems of objects.
  • Collisions – Students finish the lesson by applying conservation of momentum in analyzing and calculating the momentum of objects in a system.

Chapter 5 – Energy

The materials in this chapter introduce and covers energy. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of work, power, potential energy, kinetic energy, energy transfers, conservation of energy, machines and efficiency.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Work – Students are required to describe and identify examples of energy, relate work to energy, and solve problems using the formula “work equals force times distance.”
  • Power – Students must measure power and then solve power problems with the formula P=W/t.
  • Potential energy – Students are taught how to identify potential energy, as well as how to calculate the gravitational potential energy of an object near earth’s surface using the formula PE=mgh.
  • Kinetic energy – Students are taught how to identify kinetic energy, as well as how to calculate translational kinetic energy using the formula “kinetic energy equals one half the mass times velocity squared.”
  • Energy transfers – Students will learn how to analyze a physical system in order to identify energy transfers from one form to another.
  • Conservation of energy – Students are required to demonstrate conservation of energy in an isolated system, and then compare isolated systems with systems that are not isolated.
  • Machines – Students study machines in this lesson so that they can understand the amount of work, power, and total energy that is required by the machine in order for it to work.
  • Efficiency – Students are taught how to calculate the efficiency of simple machines and engines..

Chapter 6 – Rotational Mechanics

The materials in this chapter introduce and covers rotational mechanics. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of rotation and revolution and centripetal force.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Rotation and revolution – Students are taught how to tell the difference between rotation, revolution, and uniform circular motion.
  • Centripetal force – Students are required to measure and calculate the force necessary to create the uniform circular motion of an object.

Chapter 7 – Universal Gravitation

The materials in this chapter introduce and covers universal gravitation. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of gravitational force, Newton’s law of universal gravitation, gravitational fields, weight and weightlessness and Kepler’s laws and orbital motion.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Gravitational force – Students are taught how to describe the effects of changing mass or distance on gravitational force. Students must also spend time investigating gravitational forces.
  • Newton’s law of universal gravitation – Students learn how to calculate the magnitude of a gravitational force when the masses and distance are given.
  • Gravitational fields – By the time students complete this lesson, they will be able to describe and draw the gravitational field around a mass.
  • Weight and weightlessness – Students learn how to explain the relationship between gravity and weight, and how to predict weight based on gravity.
  • Kepler’s laws and orbital motion – Students are introduced to Kepler’s laws and orbital motion.

Chapter 8 – Special Relativity

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover special relativity. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of speed of light and Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Speed of light – Students are taught that nothing travels faster than the speed of light, and that this concept is true no matter who the observer is or how the light source moves.
  • Einstein’s special theory of relativity – Students discover how Newton’s laws are a limiting case of Einstein’s special theory of relativity at speeds that are much smaller than the speed of light.

Chapter 9 – Temperature and Heat

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover temperature and heat. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of temperature, heat, forms of heat transfer, calculating heat changes and changes of state.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Temperature – Students study temperature as it relates to the particles that make up an object.
  • Heat – Students study heat as it relates to the internal energy of an object. Students must then compare and contrast what they have learned about temperature and heat.
  • Forms of heat transfer – Students are introduced to heat transfer and its forms: conduction, convection, and radiation.
  • Calculating heat changes – Students are required to the changes in temperature due to a given amount of heat.
  • Changes of state – Students are taught how to apply kinetic-molecular theory when comparing phase changes, and how to describe the change in heat energy associated with a phase change.

Chapter 10 – Thermodynamics

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover thermodynamics. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of first law of thermodynamics, entrophy and the second law of thermodynamics.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • First law of thermodynamics – Students will learn how to relate the first law of thermodynamics to the conservation of energy, and how to apply it in analyzing the relationships between heat, internal energy, and the work done in a physical system.
  • Entrophy – Students must be able to compare the amounts of entrophy in thermal systems.
  • Second law of thermodynamics – Students must use the second law of thermodynamics to predict the behavior of a thermal system.

Chapter 11 – Vibrations and Waves

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover vibrations and waves. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of simple harmonic motion, wave properties, types of waves, energy transfer by waves and the doppler effect.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Simple harmonic motion – Students are introduced to simple harmonic motion, and then required to explain it based on observations of springs and on Hooke’s law.
  • Wave properties – Students are taught about the properties of waves, which includes wavelength, frequency, period, speed, and amplitude. Students must then use this information to solve a variety of problems.
  • Types of waves – Students are required to discuss the difference between transverse and longitudinal waves.
  • Energy transfer by waves – Students are taught to show their understanding of the transfer of energy by waves.
  • Doppler effect – Students must be able to describe the Doppler effect.

Chapter 12 – Sound and Light

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover sound and light. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of properties of sound, the electromagnetic spectrum, color phenomena, transparent and opaque materials and polarization and coherence.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Properties of sound – Students learn how to apply the properties of waves to explain the pitch and loudness of sound. Students will also learn how sound waves propagate.
  • The electromagnetic spectrum – Students are taught how to categorize electromagnetic waves as radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet light, xrays, or gamma rays, based on their properties.
  • Color phenomena – Students are required to explain color phenomena using the concepts of reflection, transmission, and scattering.
  • Transparent and opaque materials – Students must be able to recognize objects that absorb light, transmit light, or reflect light. Students will then need to continue by explaining how transmission and absorption affect light waves.
  • Polarization and coherence – Students are taught to understand wave behavior by applying the concepts of polarization and coherence.

Chapter 13 – Reflection and Refraction

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover reflection and refraction. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of ray diagrams, reflection, mirrors, refraction, law of refraction (Snell’s Law), converging and diverging lenses and image formation by lenses.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Ray diagrams – Students are required to use the ray theory of light in representing the motion of light.
  • Reflection – Students are taught how to predict the path of a light ray when it is reflected from a surface.
  • Mirrors – Students are taught how to predict the path of a light ray when it is reflected from a concave, convex, or a plane mirror.
  • Refraction – Students are taught how to predict the path of a light ray when it travels from one medium into another.
  • Law of refraction (Snell’s Law) – Students are taught how to calculate the path of a light ray when it travels from one medium to another.
  • Converging and diverging lenses – Students must use Snell’s law to explain the behavior of concave and convex lenses.
  • Image formation by lenses – Students will learn how to determine the location of images formed by lenses, and whether a given lens will produce a real image or a virtual image.

Chapter 14 – Diffraction and Interference

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover diffraction and interference. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of diffraction and interference.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Diffraction – Students are taught how to determine and describe the behavior of diffracted light through a series of experiments.
  • Interference – Students must describe and give examples of the interference of sound and light waves.

Chapter 15 – Electrostatics

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover electrostatics. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of electric charges and forces, Coulomb’s Law, conductors, insulators, and charged objects, electric fields, and electric potential and potential energy.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Electric charges and forces – Students will study a given group of charges to determine if they are either repulsive or attractive.
  • Coulomb’s Law – Students will use Coulomb’s law to calculate the electrostatic force between two charges.
  • Conductors, insulators, and charged objects – Students will learn to tell the difference between conductors, semiconductors, and insulators. Then students will explain how an object can acquire a net charge.
  • Electric fields – Students will learn how to draw the electric field surrounding a charged object, and how to calculate the force on a charged object due to an electric field.
  • Electric potential and potential energy – Students are taught how to calculate the work done when a given charge moves through a potential difference.

Chapter 16 – Electric Current

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover electric current. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of current, voltage, and resistance, Ohm’s Law and electric power.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Current, voltage, and resistance – Students will learn about current, voltage, and resistance and the relationship that exists between them.
  • Ohm’s Law – Students will use Ohm’s law to calculate current, voltage, and resistance.
  • Electric power – Students are given an electric circuit and taught how to calculate how much power it uses.

Chapter 17 – Electric Circuits

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover electric circuits. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of circuit components, series and parallel circuits and complex circuits.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Circuit components – Students are introduced to an electric circuit, where they will be required to study its individual components.
  • Series and parallel circuits – Students will examine series and parallel circuits, and determine the currents, voltage, power, and resistance of each.
  • Complex circuits – Students will examine a combined parallel and series circuit, and determine its currents, voltage, power and resistance.

Chapter 18 – Magnetism

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover magnetism. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of magnetic fields, electric currents and magnetic fields and magnetic forces on charged particles.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Magnetic fields – Students learn to tell the difference between the properties of electric and magnetic fields.
  • Electric currents and magnetic fields – Students are taught about the relationship that exists between electricity and magnetism. They are also shown the principles needed to create an electromagnet.
  • Magnetic forces on charged particles – Students will learn how to calculate the magnetic force on a charged particle moving through a magnetic field.

Chapter 19 – Electromagnetic Induction

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover electromagnetic induction.; It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of electromagnetic induction and motors, generators and AC.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Electromagnetic induction – Students are introduced to the induction of a current or an electric field by a changing magnetic field. This lesson also requires students to describe the creation of electromagnetic waves.
  • Motors, generators and AC – Students will explain the operation of motors, generators, and alternating currents by applying electromagnetic induction.

Chapter 20 – Quantum Physics

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover quantum physics. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of light and energy quanta, the photoelectric effect, waves and particles and quantum physics.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Light and energy quanta – Students learn to tell the difference between continuous and quantized measurements. They also learn how to describe the quantization of energy at the atomic level.
  • The photoelectric effect – Students are introduced to the photoelectric effect.
  • Waves and particles – Students must describe and give evidence for the particle-and-wave nature of matter and light.
  • Quantum physics – Students are taught how to identify the differences between Newtonian physics and the physics of very small objects.

Chapter 21 – Nuclear Fission and Fusion

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover nuclear fission and fusion. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of mass-energy equivalence and comparing nuclear fission and fusion.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Mass-energy equivalence – Students are taught the difference between matter and energy.
  • Comparing nuclear fission and fusion – Students learn how to compare and contrast nuclear fission and fusion.

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