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Starting Physics (Unit 1)

Starting Physics (Unit 1)

Author: Nate Holz

This lesson is composed of two parts; part one is a review of science, while part two looks at some of the math involved in physics.

The two sub lessons look at the scientific method, laws, hypothesis, and theories, followed by the mathematics in physics. (SI units, dimensional analysis, sig figs, measurement, and graphs.

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Read this First! What you need to know to understand "pass" Unit 1!

Unit 1 is an introduction to physics. It covers topics such as the meaning of physics, the scientific method, laws and theories, the mathematics in physics (scientific notation, significant figures,dimensional analysis), measurement, and graphing. To be successful in your understanding of unit 1 you need to read chapter 1 of your textbook, take notes during my lectures (review them on, watch video clips, and complete the practice problems on homework pages. Following is a list of concepts you need to understand after completion of Unit 1:


  • What is physics (textbook and teacher lecture - called both)
  • Scientific method (both)
  • Laws & the theories (both)
  • Scientific Notation (lecture)
  • Sig Figs (both)
  • Dimensional Analysis (textbook & video clip)
  • Measurement (textbook)
  • Graphing Data (textbook & video clip)

Source: Bob Grove

Starting Physics (Unit 1.1)

This sub lesson looks at the question, what is physics, discusses the scientific method, and ends with a look at fact, laws, and theories.

Source: Bob Grove

The Big Bang Theory - Sheldon teaches Penny Physics

Sheldon attempts to help Penny understand Leonard's work by teaching her... Physics.

Source: Copyright belongs to CBS and its affiliates.

Scientific Notation & Sig Figs (Unit 1.2 Part 1)

This ppt looks at how to use sci note, including the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in sci note. The 2nd part of the lesson discusses significant figures.

Source: Bob Grove

Sig Figs with the Khan Academy

An introduction to sig figs via the Khan Academy

Big Sig Fig Gig

A humorous look at Sig Figs

Source: Mark Rosengarten

Dimensional Analysis (Unit 1.2 part 2)

Dimensional analysis (DA) is used extensively in engineering and science, especially chemistry and physics but it can be useful any time you want to perform conversions from one unit to another type of unit. For example, you may need to convert measurements such as length, mass, time, electric charge or units of measurement such as miles vs kilometers, pounds vs kilograms vs grams, etc. Converting from one "dimensional" unit to another can be pretty complex but DA or the "factor-label method" (also known as the unit-factor method) controls this complexity by using the rules of algebra.


For this part of the lesson I'm using a video clip from Brightstorm Chemistry to illustrate DA. There are many other video clips out there on the net and in Sophia too. Watch what you need to get this will appreciate your understanding of DA many times throughout your year in physics.

Source: Bob Grove

Dimensional Analysis (Unit 1.2, Part 2)

This video clip from Brightstorm Chemistry discusses dimensional analysis (page 6 in your textbook).

Source: Brightstorm Chemistry

Precision vs Accuracy

Here is a lesson fron another teacher on Sophia.


Precision vs Accuracy: Click this link -

Source: Ryan Backman

A Beginner's Guide to Graphing (Unit 1.2, part 2)

Paul Andersen explains how graphs are used to visually display data that is collected in experimentation. He describes five main types of graphs; line graph, scatter plot, bar graph, histogram and pie chart. He describes the important elements of a successful graph including labeled axis, title, data and a line of fit.

Links at the end of the video include:

How to graph by hand:

How to graph by spreadsheet:

Source: Bozeman Science (Paul Andersen)

Unit 1 Assignments

Here is where you can get a copy of your assignments for this lesson: Click here -

The above link gives you access to my Google Drive

Source: Bob Grove

On-Line Practice

Source: Bob Grove