Practical Physics

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
PHYS 1104
Practical Physics
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 hours lecture / 3 hours laboratory per week
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Classroom time will be divided between the presentation and discussion of basic concepts on the one hand and the application of these concepts in problem solving (working through examples and problems) on the other. Some of the assignments may be on on-line. The laboratory program will involve weekly, three hour sessions during which students will perform a set number of experiments. This course involves some group work.

Course Description
This course is intended for students who have not taken Physics previously or who have taken some secondary school Physics and want a review.

The areas to be covered are mechanics (one and two dimensional motions; vectors; rotational motion; simple machines; work, energy, and power; momentum; equilibrium; Hooke’s law; collisions; circular motion; hydrostatics), heat (thermometry; heat transfer; thermal properties of matter), and electricity (electrostatics; direct current concepts and basic circuits).
Course Content


  • physical quantities and SI units
  • vectors versus scalars
  • vector addition
  • velocity and acceleration
  • uniformly accelerated motion
  • Newton’s laws of motion
  • gravitation
  • friction
  • first condition for equilibrium
  • torque and lever arm
  • second condition for equilibrium
  • simple machines
  • work, energy and power
  • conservation of energy
  • momentum and impulse
  • centripetal force and acceleration
  • rotational motion
  • density
  • pressure
  • Archimedes’ principle


  • temperature and thermometers
  • thermal energy and heat capacity
  • latent heats and phase changes
  • heat transfer mechanisms


  • electric charge
  • Coulomb’s Law
  • electric field
  • potential difference
  • current
  • resistance and Ohm’s Law
  • electric power
  • simple circuit analysis
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course the student will be able to:

  1. Explain/define terms and quantities encountered: displacement, velocity/speed, acceleration, free-fall, scalar, vector resultant, vector component, equilibrium, mass, weight, force, free body diagram, centre of gravity, torque, lever arm, friction, work, kinetic energy, potential energy, power, momentum, impulse, moment of inertia, angular displacement, angular velocity, angular acceleration, centripetal force, centripetal acceleration, density, pressure, fluid pressure, temperature, thermal energy, specific heat, latent heat, heat conduction, convection, radiation, electric charge, electrical conductor, insulator, electric field, electric potential difference/voltage, resistance, current, electromotive force.
  2. Identify the appropriate SI units for the quantities encountered.
  3. State the major principles/laws encountered: first and second conditions for equilibrium, Newton’s three laws of motion, law of universal gravitation, work-energy theorem, principles of conservation of energy and momentum, Archimedes’ principle, Coulomb’s law, Ohm’s law.
  4. Add vector quantities using the geometric and component (trigonometry) methods.
  5. Apply the laws/principles to the solution of numerical problems encountered in the textbook and in the laboratory.
  6. Perform basic experiments in mechanics, heat and electricity and analyze the data obtained using appropriate graphing techniques, scientific notation, significant figures and experimental uncertainty considerations.
Means of Assessment
  1. final examination – minimum of 30% / maximum of 40%
  2. at least one test administered during the semester – minimum of 20% / maximum of 30%
  3. submitted laboratory reports – 20%
  4. quizzes, assignments – maximum of 20%   Some assignments may be done online. 
Textbook Materials

Exact course materials will be selected by the instructor at the time of the course, but will be similar to

Urone and Hinrichs, Open Stax, College Physics (current edition).

Materials to be Purchased by Students are

Douglas College, Physics 1104 Laboratory Experiments


BC Foundations of Math 11 (C or higher) or BC Pre-calculus 11 (C or higher) 

Which Prerequisite

PHYS1107 and PHYS1108