AP Physics C (Mech and/or E&M) Full Year or Single Semester


Online for the 2024-2025 School Year

Teacher: John Kernion

Email: jack@physics-prep.com

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2023 AP Scores: Average grade for my students: E&M: 4.88  Mechanics 4.38

Text (required)
Physics C Mechanics: University Physics Volume 1, OpenStax Collection, Rice University. This is an excellent free online text book. You can download this text and the student solutions manual here.
Physics C Electricity & Magnetism: University Physics Volume 2, OpenStax Collection, Rice University. You can download this free online text and the student solutions manual here.

The four course descriptions on this page are for:
1. The first semester course that prepares the student to take the AP Physics C Mechanics test.
2. The slower paced full-year AP Physics Mechanics course that accomplishes the same objectives over a longer time frame.
3. The second semester course that prepares the student for the AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism test.
4. The slower paced full-year AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism course that accomplishes the same objectives over a longer time frame. 
The pacing and scope for each course is different based on the topics required for coverage by the College Board. The backbone of each course is self-study based on a wide variety of clearly defined sequential activities, but students will also have the support of the instructor through a discussion forum and through live (optional) video sessions held every other Wednesday at 12:00 noon (US Eastern Time). Students are not required to login to the live video sessions, but attendance is highly recommended. The sessions are recorded for later viewing. IMPORTANT NOTE: Although the full-year AP Physics C E&M course begins in August, the live sessions don't begin until January. This option is primarily meant for students who took the full-year AP Physics C Mechanics course during the previous school year and want to have the same general pace as found in that course by getting an early start on the material.

Who should apply: These courses are open to students in grades 9 to 12 (or highly accelerated younger students) who have successfully completed one year of Physical Science or Chemistry (any level) and Algebra 2, and have either completed or will concurrently take a first-year calculus course. Motivated, qualified, and well-organized students who have the discipline to work hard consistently over the entire course will do well in AP Physics C. Students who are not "math-ready" or cannot consistently spend the necessary time on the material should not sign up for AP Physics C. It is expected that students will spend between 10 and 12 hours per week watching lectures, practicing problems, performing lab activities, and taking assessments. It is required that prospective students take the math-readiness test found at the instructor's website, physics-prep.com, prior to applying for the course.

How to apply:  The application for this course can be found here. Please do not apply until you have taken the math-readiness test and feel that you are prepared for the course.

Course fees:
AP Physics C Mechanics (full year course or first semester accelerated course): Tuition: Early Bird: $850 (prior to July 1, 2024), Regular: $875 (after July 1, 2024)
AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism (full year course or second semester accelerated course): Tuition: $700
NOTE: The second semester E&M course doesn't open for registration until November.

Students who sign up for the first semester Mechanics course will be working at a pace that allows them to take the Electricity and Magnetism course in the second semester. If the student finds the pacing of the first semester Mechanics course to be too difficult, he or she can switch to the full-year Mechanics course at no cost. The deadline to make any course switch is November 15, 2024.

Lab Materials: Most of the devices/materials needed to conduct the lab activities can be found in a typical household. Any materials that are not available can be inexpensively purchased at a hardware store or online.

Schedule: The first semester Mechanics course will begin on August 21, 2024 and conclude on December 20, 2024. The full-year Mechanics course will begin on August 30, 2024 and conclude in May, 2025. These same dates apply to the full-year E&M course. The second semester E&M course will begin on January 2, 2025 and conclude in May, 2025.

Technical requirements: All students must have high-speed internet access, a scientific calculator, a device used to scan documents in .pdf format, and an email address.

Course descriptions: AP Physics C Mechanics is a calculus-based course designed to expose the student to all the foundational topics needed to understand such concepts as motion, force, energy, momentum, rotation, harmonic motion, and gravitation. AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism does the same for such phenomena as electric force, electric field, electric potential, electric circuits, magnetic effects, electromagnetic induction, and electrical energy. The program of study for each course is equivalent to a single semester college physics course for engineering students. These courses will fully prepare the student for the AP Physics C exams administered by the College Board every May. Students must have prerequisite knowledge in mathematics up to and including the level of calculus. Virtual and actual laboratory activities will prepare the student for lab-based questions on the AP Physics tests. Each unit of the courses contains a "workflow" that guides the student through the material found on the unit assessments. The workflow is a combination of video lectures, lab activities, practice problems with complete solutions, quizzes, and a unit test (see below). The courses are highly organized and easy to follow. A thorough review of the course work (with practice tests) occurs over several weeks prior to the AP test.

How the courses work: These courses have three components: 1. Online learning based on self-study using the course resources. A lab notebook is required so that all lab activities are properly recorded for future use. Pacing guides are provided that will help the student appropriately cover each activity in a timely fashion. The suggested due dates for the assessments are found in the pacing guides. Deadlines for work in each unit will be provided as well. Work completed after the deadline will receive a score of zero. 2. An online discussion forum where students can interact with the instructor and others in the same course. 3. Live video meetings are scheduled once every other Wednesday at 12:00 noon (US Eastern Time). The sessions last one hour. Student attendance is optional but highly recommended. During the live sessions the instructor will review topics, preview upcoming ideas, share information based on the suggested class schedule and be available to answer questions. The live sessions are recorded (and posted on the Physics Prep website) for viewing at a later time. The multiple-choice sections of the quizzes and summative test found in each unit are scored by the computer and are used to determine student grades. Each test will also contain free-response questions (self-graded by the student based upon a scoring rubric) that are essential in the preparation for the AP Physics tests. The free-response work done by the student must be scanned and electronically submitted to the instructor for evaluation. Failure to submit free-response work will result in loss of course points. Specific lab reports, assigned by the instructor, will also be submitted for evaluation. Class information (with pacing guides, deadline dates, text readings, and suggested text-based practice problems) will be sent to the student in the summer prior to the start of the course. All registered students have access to a student dashboard where important course information, an online grade book, an assignment submission upload form, and live session recordings can be found.

Instructor qualifications: Dr. Kernion is a veteran AP Physics teacher who has been guiding talented students for over 30 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Ceramic Science and Engineering at Penn State and began his career as a research engineer for US Steel. After taking science education courses at the University of Pittsburgh to gain secondary education certification in Physics and Chemistry, he began his teaching career in 1986. Dr. Kernion has also earned a Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Duquesne University and Doctor of Education degree in STEM Education at the University of Pittsburgh. His dissertation topic was Scientific Argumentation in an Online AP Physics 1 Course. He has also served as the science department chair for the North Allegheny School District (one of Pennsylvania's most highly rated districts) for much of his teaching career, with a focus on curricular design and teacher training. In 2013, he was named an Educator of Distinction by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. One of the most important aspects of Dr. Kernion's teaching is his emphasis on methodology and conceptual development over memorization. His students learn the "Big Ideas," which he has been presenting for years, long before it was the latest trend in high school education. His courses emphasize this long-term learning method. Consequently, any student, regardless of his or her learning style, can easily plug into the flow of the course and gain a deep understanding of the material. This will be Dr. Kernion's eighth year with PA Homeschoolers. He is very excited to be a part of the faculty and to broaden his reach to the homeschool community. Interestingly, Dr. Kernion's twin brother, Mark, is an AP Chemistry teacher for PA Homeschoolers. The effectiveness of Mark's AP Chemistry course matches Jack's AP Physics courses due to similarity in style and rigor. Students who want to have a seamless AP science experience should consider both courses during their high school career.

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