Course Name:  AP Physics C: Mechanics

Teacher: Alison Bulson



State Core Standards



Pre-calculus mathematics review

  • Scientific notation
  • Factoring algebraic equations
  • Trigonometric functions

SI units, dimensional analysis, estimation

Limits and derivatives

1-Dimensional kinematics

  • Constant acceleration
  • Time-varying acceleration
  • Free-fall

Standard 1, objectives 1-3:

Students will understand how to measure, calculate, and describe the motion of an object in terms of position, time, velocity, and acceleration

Motion graphing lab

Acceleration on an incline lab

Free fall lab

Test 1: 1-Dimensional Kinematics



  • Coordinate systems
  • Components
  • Unit vectors, unit vector notation

2-Dimensional kinematics

  • General 2-d motion (both components vary with time)
  • Projectile motion
  • Circular motion


Standard 1, objectives 1-3

Projectile motion lab

Test 2: Projectile motion


Newton’s laws

  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd laws
  • free-body diagrams
  • weight, normal, friction forces
  • simple machines
  • uniform and non-uniform circular motion
  • non-constant friction force (fluid resistance)

Standard 1, objective 4: use Newton’s first law to explain the motion of an object

Standard II, objectives 1-3: students will understand the relation between force, mass, and acceleration

Newton’s second law lab

Atwood Machine lab

Coefficient of static and kinetic friction lab

Test 3: Newton’s laws


Vector functions

  • dot product

Work and Energy

  • work by constant force
  • work by position-varying force
  • work-energy theorem
  • power

Standard IV, objectives 1-3: students will understand transfer and conservation of energy

Work-energy theorem lab

Test 4: Work and Energy


Conservation of energy

  • energy conservation
  • work by non-conservative forces
  • potential energy functions
  • PE vs. position graphs

Standard IV, objectives 1-3

Conservation of mechanical energy lab

Test 5: Conservation of energy


Impulse, linear momentum, collisions

  • Impulse-momentum relationship
  • Conservation of linear momentum
  • Elastic and inelastic collisions
  • Position and velocity of center of mass

Rotational kinematics

  • Equations of motion for rotation with constant angular acceleration
  • Moment of inertia
  • Rotational kinetic energy

These topics are required AP physics core, but are not included in the Utah state core for physics

Impulse and momentum lab

Cart collision lab

Test 6: Impulse, linear momentum, collisions, rotational kinematics


Vector functions

  • Cross product

Rotational dynamics

  • Torque and angular acceleration, Newton’s laws for rotation
  • Angular momentum
  • Conservation of angular momentum

These topics are require AP physics core, but are not included in the Utah state core for physics

Conical pendulum, simple pendulum lab

Centripetal force on a pendulum lab

Bicycle and spinning disk lab

Test 7: Rotational dynamics


Translational and rotational equilibrium


  • Kepler’s laws
  • Newton’s law of universal gravitation
  • Energy and angular momentum in gravitational systems
  • Orbital motion

Standard III, objective 1: students will understand the factors determining the strength of gravitational and electric forces – relate the strength of the gravitational force to the distance between two objects and the mass of the objects

Standard IV, objectives 1-3

Test 8: Equilibrium and gravitation


Simple Harmonic Motion

(after the AP test)

Electric Force

Waves – (mechanical and EM) extension of simple harmonic motion

Standard V, objectives 1: students will understand the properties and applications of waves – demonstrate an understanding of mechanical waves in terms of general wave properties

Standard III, objective 2: students will understand the factors determining the strength of gravitational and electric forces – describe the factors that affect the electric force

Standard V, objectives 1-2: describe the nature of electromagnetic radiation and visible light

Simple harmonic motion lab

Quiz: Simple harmonic motion

AP practice test(s)