Physics 101-L03, Introductory Physics Lab

Spring 2014

Fri 12:00-3:00

Room 108 RHSC

Dr. Chris Fragile

Office: 127 RHSC

Office hours: MW 1:00-2:00, Th 3:00-4:00

Or by appointment

Phone: 953-3181





10 Jan Measurement
17 Jan Velocity & Acceleration
24 Jan Vectors
31 Jan Projectile Motion
7 Feb Friction
14 Feb Newton's 2nd Law: Catapult
21 Feb Ballistic Pendulum
14 Mar Circular Motion
21 Mar Torque
28 Mar Simple Harmonic Motion
4 Apr Waves on a String
11 Apr Sound
18 Apr Fluids


Syllabus Fine Print

Required materials:

Class Policies:

If there are any students in this class who have documented disabilities and have been approved to receive accommodations through SNAP Services, please see me to discuss this.

Cellular technology: All cellular devices must be turned off during class unless you have a job that requires them to be on for safety (e.g. EMT or firefighter).

Cheating: Violations of the College of Charleston Honor Code (including cheating or attempted cheating) will be referred to the Office of Student Affairs for adjudication. Examples of cheating relevant to this course include copying quiz answers, using cellular technology to communicate information during a quiz, or copying a lab report verbatim from an external source.

Collaboration: You will normally be working in small lab groups. Be sure everyone in your group is contributing. Don’t let someone else “carry” you through the course; I'll be watching for this. Collaboration is not allowed on quizzes.


Attendance is mandatory. One lab grade will be dropped at the end of the semester. This is intended to cover all possible reasons you might miss a lab, or can simply serve to improve your grade. If you miss more than one lab, then your grade will almost inevitably suffer. Only in the most extreme circumstances will I even consider excusing an absence and even then it is entirely at my discretion. Note that making up a lab by sitting in on another lab section is generally not permissible. This option will only be considered under extraordinary circumstances and requires prior approval of both instructors.

Tardiness is rude, especially to your lab partners. Furthermore, it disrupts the flow of the class. Please be polite by being on time. If a student is tardy to class three times, their third tardy will be counted as an absence (i.e. they will get a 0 for that lab).

General Education Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students apply physical/natural principles to analyze and solve problems.
  2. Students demonstrate an understanding of the impact that science has on society.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn experimental and data analysis methods to test and verify certain fundamental laws of physics involving vectors, equations of motion, Newton's laws of motion, energy, simple harmonic motion, waves, and heat through hands-on activities.
  2. Enhance observational and analytical skills.
  3. Learn about measurement errors and error estimation methods.
  4. Improve ability to articulate thoughts and ideas.
  5. Broaden appreciation for logical qualitative and quantitative reasoning.
  6. Enhance scientific writing skills.
  7. Enhance teamwork and communication skills.
  8. Learn lab safety.

Learning Outcomes:

After the successful completion of this class, the students will be able to:

  1. Use basic instruments (meter sticks, stopwatches, triple-beam balances, force table, calorimeters, etc.) to make measurements
  2. Describe the terms "accuracy" and "precision" in measurements
  3. Design and carry out measurements based on the directions given by the lab instructor and in the experimental manual
  4. Collect data (manually and/or using computers) and tabulate it with appropriate units and significant figures
  5. Draw sketches, graphs, etc. and use them to analyze the data
  6. Estimate uncertainties associated with the measurements
  7. Discuss the results and compare it with available accepted values
  8. Draw conclusions from the observations and measurements from an experiment and prepare a lab report following the guidelines given
  9. Use computer software (Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, DataStudio, etc.) to collect data and create graphs, report observations, and tabulate results.
  10. Apply appropriate methods of safely handling equipment and performing laboratory procedures
  11. Apply the graphical and component methods to add vectors
  12. Measure the displacement, time, velocity and acceleration of an object in constant velocity and when accelerating. Express the data graphically and make the appropriate analysis.
  13. Determine the range of a projectile fired at an angle with respect to the horizontal.
  14. Investigate the relationship between frictional force and the contact area of the surfaces as well as the normal force between the surfaces.
  15. Investigate the laws of conservation of momentum and energy in one-dimensional collision and/or investigate the transfer of energy in an elastic collision.
  16. Calculate the centripetal force, angular velocity, and centripetal acceleration on a mass undergoing uniform circular motion.
  17. Solve for torque in a rigid body and discuss the concept of the center of mass of an object.
  18. Calculate the buoyant forces exerted on objects using Archimedes principle and/or Investigate Bernoulli's principle and the conservation of energy in fluid mechanics.
  19. Investigate the conservation of energy in simple harmonic motion
  20. Discuss and measure the angular speed and centripetal force of an object in circular motion.
  21. Establish a qualitative relationship between the period of oscillation of a simple pendulum and its length, the mass of the bob and the effective acceleration of gravity.
  22. Observe the existence of standing waves and determine the wavelength of sound in resonant tubes.
  23. Determine the specific heat of substances.


The grading scale for the course will be:


A -




























Your final grade will be based upon the following weightings:


% of final grade



Graded portion of lab