CCOG for PHY 211 Summer 2024

Course Number:
PHY 211
Course Title:
General Physics (Calculus)
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Topics include concepts in mechanics and their relationship to practical applications for science and engineering majors. Prerequisites: MTH 251 and MTH 252 and their prerequisite requirements. Prerequisites/concurrent: MTH 252. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This is a calculus-based physics course required for students majoring in engineering, physics and chemistry.  The course is transferable to other baccalaureate engineering programs.  Students should be aware of the program requirements of the institutions to which they wish to
transfer.  This course conforms with the Oregon Block Transfer program.

Intended Outcomes for the course

After completion of this course, students will

1) Apply knowledge of motion, forces, energy, and circular motion to explain natural physical processes and related technological advances.
2) Use an understanding of calculus along with physical principles to effectively solve problems encountered in everyday life, further study in science, and in the professional world.
3) Design experiments and acquire data in order to explore physical principles, effectively communicate results, and critically evaluate related scientific studies.
4) Assess the contributions of physics to our evolving understanding of global change and sustainability while placing the development of physics in its historical and cultural context.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze questions or problems that impact the community and/or environment using quantitative information.

Course Activities and Design

Principles and techniques are presented through lectures and class demonstrations.  Students must register for lecture, one recitation, and one lab.  Laboratory work will be performed in order to clarify certain facts in the lecture materials.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will detail the methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade.  The methods may include one or more of the following tools:  examinations, quizzes, homework assignments, laboratory reports, research papers, small group problem solving of questions arising from application of course concepts and concerns to actual
experience, oral presentations, or maintenance of a personal lab manual.
Specific evaluation procedures will be given in class.  In general, grading will be based on accumulated points from homework assignments, tests, final exam, and labs.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


The goal is to introduce students to the metric system and the importance of taking good measurements.


  1. Discuss the fundamentals and importance of units and measurement, including the metric system.
  2. Review unit conversion.
  3. Introduce the concept of significant figures.
  4. Use an introductory laboratory to familiarize students with the metric system and to introduce students to collecting and analyzing data.


The goal is to gain knowledge and develop skills in the use of vectors and vector operations.


To gain an understanding of the following topics

  1. graphical representation of vectors
  2. representation using components and unit vectors in the Cartesian co-ordinate system
  3. vector addition and subtraction
  4. multiplication of a vector by a scalar
  5. vector multiplication (dot product and cross product).


The goal is to describe motion in one dimension in terms of position, displacement, velocity and acceleration both conceptually and using appropriate equations.


  1. To learn and understand the definitions pertaining to particle motion.  Of prime importance are those of position, displacement, velocity (both average and instantaneous) and acceleration. Although the main concern of the rest of the material is one-dimensional motion, the student should learn the definitions in their full vector form.  This is important for future study.
  2. Represent motion via position, velocity and acceleration graphs.
  3. Introduce formulas for calculating these quantities and solve problems using these formulas.
  4. Develop the equations for constant acceleration problems. A large number of the problems a student solves turn out to involve this special but very important case.
  5. Study free fall problems as an application of constant acceleration.


The goal is to generalize student’s knowledge of one-dimensional motion to two and three dimensions. Two dimensional projectile motion and uniform circular motion will serve as specific applications.


  1. Expand the definitions of position, displacement, velocity (both average and instantaneous) and acceleration to generalized three-dimensional forms.
  2. Apply these generalized motion equations to two-dimensional projectile motion with special emphasis on breaking the motion into horizontal and vertical motion. Both horizontal (x) and vertical (y) motion is governed by the constant acceleration equations previously covered in one-dimensional motion.
  3. Uniform circular motion presents the slightly more difficult case of uniform circular motion in which the acceleration is constant in magnitude but not in direction. 
  4. To learn to relate the description of the motion of a particle with respect to a second (moving) coordinate system (relative motion). The emphasis is on being able to express the velocity of the particle relative to different systems in both one and two-dimensional setups.


The goal is to gain knowledge of, and develop skills in the application of, Newton's Three Laws of Motion.


  1. Newton’s 1st Law. Discussion should include:
    1. Inertia
    2. Net force
    3. Equilibrium
  2. Newton’s 2nd Law. Develop the following concepts:
    1. Calculating force and acceleration
    2. Mass and weight
    3. Common forces such as normal force and tension
    4. Free body diagram setup
    5. Friction
    6. Air drag and terminal velocity
  3. Newton’s 3rd Law. Students should be able to identify action and reaction force pairs.
  4. Apply Newton’s Three Law’s of Motion to a variety of problems including but not limited to:
    • Problems with pulleys
    • Problems with multiple objects
    • Problems involving inclined planes


The goal is to understand mechanical energy in its various forms and how the energy can be transformed from one form to another. Students will develop an understanding of the distinction between conservative and non-conservative forces and how the presence of these forces influences the treatment of problems.


Define and explore the following concepts:

  1. Kinetic Energy
  2. Work
  3. Work-Energy Theorem
  4. Work done by:
    1. Gravitational force
    2. Spring force
    3. Variable force
  5. Power
  6. Potential Energy
    1. Gravitational potential energy
    2. Elastic potential energy
  7. Conservative and Non-Conservative forces
  8. Conservation of Mechanical Energy
  9. Conservation of Energy including thermal energy
  10. Potential energy diagrams and stability


The goal is to develop methods and skills to deal with systems of particles. Students will be introduced to linear momentum. The connection between force and momentum will be explored and conservation of linear momentum will be studied.


  1. Introduce the concept of the center of mass.  Discuss the location of center of mass for multiple discrete particles (in one and two dimensions) as well as for continuous rigid bodies.
  2. Define linear momentum.
  3. Study how force and changing momentum are associated including introducing the concept of impulse.
  4. Define the total linear momentum of a system and understand the concept of the conservation of linear momentum including when it is applicable to apply the concept.
  5. Introduce different collision types:
    1. Inelastic
    2. Elastic
  6. Solve problems involving colliding objects in both one and two-dimensions for both inelastic and elastic collisions.


The goal is to gain knowledge, and develop an understanding of, rotational kinematics.


  1. Define the following rotational variables and relate them to their linear counterparts:
    1. Angular position and displacement
    2. Angular velocity
    3. Angular acceleration
  2. Understand the vector description of angular motion.
  3. Consider the special case of constant angular acceleration and develop the equations necessary to solve constant angular acceleration problems.
  4. Develop the equations for rotational kinetic energy and rotational inertia.
  5. Introduce the concept of torque.
  6. Introduce Newton’s 2nd Law for rotation and illustrate its application.


The goal is to gain knowledge and develop skills in solving problems involving a combination of rotational and translational motion.


  1. Introduce rolling motion, which combines both pure rotational and pure translational motion.
  2. Discuss the kinetic energy associated with rolling.
  3. Use conservation of energy to solve problems involving rolling objects.
  4. Introduce angular momentum for a single particle as well as for a system of particles.
  5. Discuss angular momentum of a rigid body rotating about a fixed axis.
  6. Relate changing angular momentum to torque.
  7. Use conservation of angular momentum to solve problems including problems that involve combining spinning objects.
  8. Optional: consider the precession of a gyroscope.


The goal is to develop skills in applying the basic equations of static equilibrium and to understand the relationship between stress and strain in non-rigid bodies.


  1. Define the requirements for equilibrium for cases involving both:
    1. Static equilibrium
    2. Dynamic equilibrium
  2. Apply the basic conditions and equations of static equilibrium to a variety of static equilibrium problems.
  3. Introduce the concepts of both stress and strain. Develop a general relationship between these two quantities. Apply this generalized relationship to non-rigid objects undergoing different types of stress:
    1. Tension/compression
    2. Shear
    3. Hydraulic


The goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the gravitational force.


  1. Introduce Newton’s Law of Gravitation.
  2. Study gravitation near the Earth’s surface as well as inside the Earth.
  3. Revisit gravitational potential energy and understand how this relates to escape velocity of particles from planets.
  4. Define Kepler’s Laws and study planetary motion.
  5. Discuss the specific example satellite motion around the Earth.