Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for PHY 101 Winter 2022

View archive version »
Course Number:
PHY 101
Course Title:
Force, Motion, and Energy
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces mechanics, vectors, energy, simple machines, and satellite motion. Designed as a laboratory science course for non-science majors. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 and (MTH 65 or MTH 98) or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Apply knowledge of mechanics and vectors to explain natural physical processes and related technological advances.
  • Use an understanding of elementary mathematics along with physical principles to effectively solve problems encountered in everyday life, further study in science, and in the professional world.
  • Design experiments and acquire data in order to explore physical principles, effectively communicate results, and critically evaluate related scientific studies.
  • 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.

General education philosophy statement

PHY 101, which delves into a conceptual understanding of physics, enlightens the student of their natural and technological environments. It adapts the learner to reason both quantitatively, through manipulating mathematical formulas, and qualitatively, through piecing together scientific laws. And, in this process, the learner will slowly acquire the skill to conceptually organize theoretical knowledge and experiential observation to formulate their own truths.

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.
The student will be evaluated on written tests covering both lecture and lab experiences, required lab reports, and on turned- in homework questions (verbal skills and reasoning in written format) and problems (quantitative in a few cases).

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

The instructor will be required to cover the goals and objectives listed in this Course Content Guide.  The Course Content Guides are developed by college-wide subject area faculty and approved by


The goal is to set an historical context for the study of science and introduce students to the metric system and the importance of taking good measurements.
          1.1  Discuss the fundamentals and importance of units and measurement, including the metric system.
          1.2  Describe the scientific method.
          1.3  Discuss the relationship between science and arts, religion and technology.
          1.4  Use an introductory laboratory to introduce students to collecting data and analyzing data.
The goal is to describe motion and understand how forces cause motion.

2.1   Develop knowledge and understanding of the variables of displacement, speed, average speed, velocity and acceleration.
2.2   Introduce formulas for calculating these quantities and solve problems using these formulas.
2.3   Study constant acceleration problems with particular emphasis on free fall.
2.4   Introduce Newton's 3 Laws of Motion:
2.4.1    Newton's 1st Law. Discussion should include:
     a. Inertia
     b. Net force
     c. Equilibrium
2.4.2    Newton's 2nd Law. Develop the following concepts:
     a. Calculating force and acceleration
     b. Friction
     c. Air drag and terminal velocity
2.4.3 Newton's 3rd Law
2.5 Introduce vectors: Graphical representation, addition of vectors and vector components.

The goal is to introduce and develop an understanding of momentum.

3.1   Define momentum.
3.2   Study how force and changing momentum are associated.
3.3   Introduce conservation of momentum and use this concept to solve problems involving colliding objects in both 1 and 2 dimensions.

The goal is to understand mechanical energy in its various forms and how the energy of an object can be changed.

Define and explore the following concepts:
4.1   Work
4.2   Power
4.3   Potential Energy
4.4   Kinetic Energy
4.5   Work-Energy Theorem
4.6   Common energy units
4.7   Conservation of Energy
4.8   Machines: simple machines involving levers and pulleys. Define efficiency.
4.9   Kinetic Energy and Momentum comparison.

The goal is to describe rotational motion and connect it to linear motion.

5.1   Rotational speed: define and link to linear speed
5.2   Rotational Inertia: define and link to angular acceleration.
5.3   Torque: define and link to force. Study problems involving balanced and unbalanced torques.
5.4   Center of Mass: define, locate and relate to stability of objects.
5.5   Circular motion: Define centripetal force and distinguish from centrifugal force.
5.6   Angular momentum: define and study conservation of angular momentum.      

The goal is to apply knowledge of linear motion and vectors to study 2 dimensional motion.

Explore and develop approaches to find:
6.1   Vertical and horizontal motion of projectiles.
6.2   Maximum projectile height.
6.3   Maximum projectile range.
6.4   Angle that produces maximum range
6.5   Satellite motion including orbital motion and Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion.