# Physics Learning Outcomes

## Learning Outcomes

Students should understand the general relationships among position, velocity, and
acceleration for the motion of a particle along a straight line.

Students should understand the special case of motion with constant acceleration.

Students should be able to add, subtract, and resolve displacement and velocity
vectors.

Students should understand the motion of projectiles in a uniform gravitational
field.

Students should be able to analyze situations in which a particle remains at rest, or
moves with constant velocity, under the influence of several forces.

Students should understand the relation between the force that acts on an object and
the resulting change in the object’s velocity, so they can calculate, for an object moving in one dimension, the velocity change that results when a constant force F acts over a specified time interval and determine, for an object moving in a plane whose velocity vector undergoes a specified change over a specified time interval, the average force that acted on the object.

Students should understand how Newton’s Second Law applies to an object subject to forces such as gravity, the pull of strings, or contact forces.

Students should be able to analyze situations in which an object moves with
specified acceleration under the influence of one or more forces.

Students should understand the significance of the coefficient of friction.

Students should understand the effect of drag forces on the motion of an object.

Students should understand Newton’s Third Law so that, for a given system, they
can identify the force pairs and the objects on which they act, and state the
magnitude and direction of each force.

Students should be able to apply Newton’s Third Law in analyzing the force of
contact between two objects that accelerate together along a horizontal or vertical
line, or between two surfaces that slide across one another.

Students should know that the tension is constant in a light string that passes over a
massless pulley and should be able to use this fact in analyzing the motion of a
system of two objects joined by a string.

Students should be able to solve problems in which application of Newton’s laws
leads to two or three simultaneous linear equations involving unknown forces or
accelerations.

Students should understand the definition of work, including when it is positive,
negative, or zero.

Students should understand and be able to apply the work-energy theorem.

Students should be able to calculate the potential energy of one or more objects in a uniform gravitational field and write an expression for the force exerted by an ideal spring and for the potential energy of a stretched or compressed spring.

Students should understand the concepts of mechanical energy and of total energy.

Students should understand the definition of power and be able to calculate work done by a force and power needed to maintain motion.

Students should understand impulse and linear momentum.

Students should understand linear momentum conservation.

Students should understand the uniform circular motion of a particle.

Students should understand the concept of torque.

Students should be able to analyze problems in statics.

Students should understand simple harmonic motion and apply their knowledge of simple harmonic motion to the case of a mass on a spring and of a pendulum.

Students should know Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation.

Students should recognize that the motion does not depend on the object’s mass; describe
qualitatively how the velocity, period of revolution, and centripetal acceleration
depend upon the radius of the orbit; and derive expressions for the velocity and
period of revolution in such an orbit.

Students should understand the concept of pressure as it applies to fluids.

Students should understand the concept of buoyancy.

Students should understand the equation of continuity so that they can apply it to
fluids in motion.

Students should understand Bernoulli’s equation so that they can apply it to fluids in
motion.

Students should understand the “mechanical equivalent of heat” so they can
determine how much heat can be produced by the performance of a specified
quantity of mechanical work.

Students should understand heat transfer and thermal expansion.

Students should understand the kinetic theory model of an ideal gas.

Students should know how to apply the first law of thermodynamics.

Students should understand the second law of thermodynamics, the concept of
entropy, and heat engines and the Carnot cycle.

Students should understand the concept of electric charge.

Students should understand Coulomb’s Law and the principle of superposition.

Students should understand the concept of electric field.

Students should understand the concept of electric potential.

Students should understand the nature of electric fields in and around conductors.

Students should be able to describe and sketch a graph of the electric field and
potential inside and outside a charged conducting sphere.

Students should understand induced charge and electrostatic shielding.

Students should understand the definition and function of capacitance.

Students should understand the physics of the parallel-plate capacitor.

Students should understand the definition of electric current, so they can relate the
magnitude and direction of the current to the rate of flow of positive and negative
charge.

Students should understand conductivity and resistance.

Students should understand the behavior of series and parallel combinations of
resistors.

Students should understand the properties of ideal and real batteries.

Students should understand the properties of voltmeters and ammeters.

Students should understand the t – 0 and steady-state behavior of capacitors
connected in series or in parallel.

Students should understand the force experienced by a charged particle in a magnetic
field.

Students should understand the force exerted on a current-carrying wire in a magnetic
field.

Students should understand the magnetic field produced by a long straight current-carrying wire.

Students should understand the concept of magnetic flux.

Students should understand Faraday’s law and Lenz’s law.

Students should understand the description of traveling waves.

Students should understand the difference between transverse and longitudinal
waves, and be able to explain qualitatively why transverse waves can exhibit
polarization.

Students should understand the inverse-square law, so they can calculate the
intensity of waves at a given distance from a source of specified power and
compare the intensities at different distances from the source.

Students should understand the physics of standing waves.

Students should understand the interference and diffraction of waves.

Students should understand dispersion and the electromagnetic spectrum.

Students should understand the principles of reflection and refraction.

Students should understand image formation by plane or spherical mirrors.

Students should understand image formation by converging or diverging lenses.

Students should know the properties of photons.

Students should understand Compton scattering.

Students should understand the concept of energy levels for atoms.

Students should understand the significance of the mass number and charge of
nuclei.

Students should know the nature of the nuclear force, so they can compare its
strength and range with those of the electromagnetic force.

Students should understand nuclear fission, so they can describe a typical neutron-induced fission and explain why a chain reaction is possible.

Students should understand the relationship between mass and energy.

Students should understand the process of designing experiments.

Students should understand how to analyze data.

Students should understand measurement and experimental error.

Students should understand how to summarize and communicate results.