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HS Physics Overview

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Unit 1: Unit 1: Force and Motion 

25 Instructional Days

In this unit of study, students are expected to plan and conduct investigations, analyze data and using math to support claims, and apply scientific ideas to solve design problems students in order to develop an understanding of ideas related to why some objects keep moving and some objects fall to the ground. Students will also build an understanding of forces and Newton's second law. Finally, they will develop an understanding that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system. Students are also able to apply science and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision. The crosscutting concepts of patterns, cause and effect, and systems and systems models are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in planning and conducting investigations, analyzing data and using math to support claims, and applying scientific ideas to solve design problems and to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on HS-PS2-1, HS-PS2-2, HS-PS2-3, HS-ETS1-2, and HS-ETS1-3.

Unit 2: Fundamental Forces

20 Instructional Days

In this unit of study, students plan and conduct investigations and apply scientific ideas to make sense of Newton's law of gravitation and Coulomb's Law. They apply these laws to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects. The crosscutting concept of patterns is called out as an organizing concept for this disciplinary core idea. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in planning and conducting investigations and applying scientific ideas to demonstrate an understanding of core ideas.

This unit is based on HS-PS2-4.

Unit 3: Kepler's Laws

15 Instructional Days

In this unit of study, students use mathematical and computational thinking to examine the processes governing the workings of the solar system and universe. The crosscutting concepts of scale, proportion, and quantity are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in using mathematical and computational thinking and to use this practice to demonstrate understanding of core ideas.
This unit is based on HS-ESS1-4.

Unit 4: Energy 

25 Instructional Days

In this unit of study, students develop and use models, plan and carry out investigations, use computational thinking and design solutions as they make sense of the disciplinary core idea. The disciplinary core idea of Energy is broken down into subcore ideas: definitions of energy, conservation of energy and energy transfer, and the relationship between energy and forces. Energy is understood as a quantitative property of a system that depends on the motion and interactions of matter, and the total change of energy in any system is equal to the total energy transferred into and out of the system. Students also demonstrate their understanding of engineering principles when they design, build, and refine devices associated with the conversion of energy. The crosscutting concepts of cause and effect, systems and systems models, energy and matter, and the influence of science, engineering, and technology on society and the natural world are further developed in the performance expectations.  Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in developing and using models, planning and carry out investigations, using computational thinking and designing solutions, and they are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of core ideas.

This unit is based on HS-PS3-2, HS-PS3-1, HS-PS3-3, HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, HS-ETS1-3, and HS-ETS1-4.

Unit 5: Physics of the Geosphere

15 Instructional Days

In this unit of study, students construct explanations for the scales of time over which Earth processes operate. An important aspect of Earth and space sciences involves making inferences about events in Earth's history based on a data record that is increasingly incomplete the farther one goes back in time. A mathematical analysis of radiometric dating is used to comprehend how absolute ages are obtained for the geologic record. Students develop models and explanations for the ways that feedback among different Earth systems controls the appearance of the Earth's surface. Central to this is the tension between internal systems, which are largely responsible for creating land at Earth's surface (e.g., volcanism and mountain building), and the sun-driven surface systems that tear down land through weathering and erosion. Students demonstrate proficiency in developing and using models, constructing explanations, and engaging in argument from evidence. The crosscutting concepts of stability and change, energy and matter, and patterns are called out as organizing elements of this unit.

This unit is based on HS-ESS2-1, HS-ESS2-3, HS-ESS1-5, and HS-ESS2-2.

Unit 6: Wave Properties 

20 Instructional Days

In this unit of study, students apply their understanding of how wave properties can be used to transfer information across long distances, store information, and investigate nature on many scales. The crosscutting concept of cause and effect is highlighted as an organizing concept for these disciplinary core ideas. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in using mathematical thinking, and to use this practice to demonstrate understanding of the core idea.

This unit is based on HS-PS4-1.

Unit 7: Electromagnetic Radiation 

30 Instructional Days

In this unit of study, students are able to apply their understanding of wave properties to make sense of how electromagnetic radiation can be used to transfer information across long distances, store information, and be used to investigate nature on many scales. Models of electromagnetic radiation as both a wave of changing electrical and magnetic fields or as particles are developed and used. Students also demonstrate their understanding of engineering ideas by presenting information about how technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy. The crosscutting concepts of systems and system models; stability and change; interdependence of science, engineering, and technology; and influence of engineering, technology, and science on society and the natural world are highlighted as organizing concepts. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in asking questions, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information, and they are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on HS-PS4-3, HS-PS4-4, HS-PS4-5, HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-3, and HS-PS4-2.

Unit 8: Electricity and Magnetism   

15 Instructional Days

In this unit of study, students' understanding of how forces at a distance can be explained by fields, why some materials are attracted to each other while other are not, how magnets or electric currents cause magnetic fields, and how charges or changing magnetic fields cause electric fields. The crosscutting concept of cause and effect is called out as an organizing concept. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in planning and conducting investigations and developing and using models.
This unit is based on HS-PS2-5 and HS-PS3-5.

Note: The number of instructional days is an estimate based on the information available at this time. 1 day equals approximately 42 minutes of seat time. Teachers are strongly encouraged to review the entire unit of study carefully and collaboratively to determine whether adjustments to this estimate need to be made.

This unit can be taught in either Physics or as part of the Capstone Science Course.