Here is an incomplete list of the standards that you will be assessed on in PHYS 221.  This is a changing list.  I will adjust it as the course progresses as needed.  I have written them in the form of “I can….” to make it as clear as possible what I will expect of you.

Chapter 1: Position, Velocity, Vectors

  • 1.1 I can use vectors with the position update formula.

Chapter 2: Momentum Principle

  • 2.1 I can apply the momentum principle to solve problems and find the net force on an object.

Chapter 3: Forces and Conservation of Momentum

  • 3.1 I can use a force law (columb force and the gravitational force) to update the momentum and position of an object.
  • 3.2 I can us the conservation of momentum to solve problems.
  • V.1 I can write a numerical calculation (I would suggest in vpython) that models the motion of an object with non-constant forces.
Chapter 4: Model of Matter
  • 4.1 I can connect the macroscopic properties of a material (Young’s modulus) to the atomic properties (effective atomic spacing and effective interatomic spring constant).
  • 4.2 I can use macroscopic properties of materials such as Young’s modulus and tension in problems involving force.
Chapter 5: Momentum Principle with Circular Motion
  • 5.1 I can use the momentum principle for different cases including cases involving objects moving in circles.
  • 5.2 I can use the momentum principle to find unknown forces for an object in equilibrium or moving with a known acceleration.
Chapter 6: Work-Energy Principle
  • 6.1 I can use the work-energy principle to solve problems including cases with the work done by a non-constant force.

Chapter 7: Potential Energy

  • 7.1 I can derive the potential energy for a spring and other conservative forces.
  • 7.2 I can use the work-energy principle for systems that include changes in thermal energy and heat transfers.

Chapter 8: Quantized Energy

  • 8.1 I can find energy transitions and wavelengths of emitted or absorbed light for quantized systems.

Chapter 9: Work-Energy for Real and PPS

  • 9.1 I can use both the “point particle system” and the “real system” for complicated work-energy problems.

Chapter 10: Collisions

  • 10.1 I can use conservation of energy and momentum to find the final velocities of objects after a collision

Chapter 11: Angular Momentum Principle

  • I can use the angular momentum principle to solve for the motion of objects.


  • Open.1 I can do something cool with physics (must be submitted as a screencast or blog post 3 weeks before the end of class).  Also, you must have an average of 3/5 on all previous standards.
  • Open.2 I can do something cool with physics (must be submitted as a screencast or blog post 3 weeks before the end of class). Also, you must have an average of 3/5 on all previous standards.
*more to be added 


If you are not happy with your score on an in-class assessment (or you didn’t take it), you can submit a reassessment in the form of a screen cast. Here are the rules:

  • The reassessment MUST be submitted (email a link to me: within 2 weeks after the in-class date.
  • You can redo a reassessment if you like. If you have the first reassessment in on time (within a week after getting the assessment graded), the next version can be submitted up to the week before the last week in class.
  • Reassessments must be a screencast of some type and under 5 minutes long. I will give some details below for screencasts.
  • All reassessment screencasts must first be reviewed by two other students.
  • The last day for reassessments (if you first submitted within the 2 week deadline).
  • New rules might be added at any point.


Scores will be assigned as follows (with more details as assessments are submitted):

  • 0: Not assessed.
  • 1: Lack of understanding. The assessment was submitted, but there was a clear lack of understanding.
  • 3: Approaching understanding. The student needs some help in the concept or is missing some parts of the explanation.
  • 4: Meets expectations. The student understands the content. Understands the “what” but not the “how” or “why”.
  • 5: Exceeds expectations. The student understands the content and can explain in detail. The student could teach or explain this concept to another student. The student can create analogies or connections to different areas.


Here is an example that I made for you.

You can use the screen cast with a worked out problem or a vpython program or something like that. How do you make a screen cast? I recommend using something free. There is of course Jing ( This is a program you download to run and make your screencast. You can then upload it and share it.

Another option is to use Screencast-O-Matic ( This is another free screencast recorder, but it runs as a java applet. For the screencast-O-matic option, you would need to also upload your video to youtube. To do that, you will need to create a youtube account (free). When you upload it, you are welcome to set the viewing options to private or better yet “unlisted”.

If you set the video to unlisted, no one will be able to find it unless they have the address. Personally, I would just put it up there as public, but I know how some people are about putting up stuff.

After you upload a video, you need to have another student look at it and give the “thumbs up” to say it is ok. Then send me the link to the video and the name of the student that said it was ok.

Oh. There are other screen cast options out there. You are welcome to use what you like.

This is an unofficial list of standards for PHYS 221.  I suspect they will change and adapt as the course progresses.

  1. Kyle
    February 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    The first bullet under reassessment says 2 weeks after 1/24/12 is 1/31/12. Unless I am mistaken 2 weeks after 1/24/12 should be 2/7/12.

    • rhettallain
      February 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm


      Those dates are the dates that particular standard was first introduced.

  2. Ruzova
    March 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    You have not mentioned the dates in Chapter 4. Does that mean I can still submit a reassessment on it?

    • rhettallain
      March 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      We never did an inclass assessment for chapter 4. So, you don’t need to do a reassessment for something that was never assessed.

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