Physics 10L course Syllabus
Instructor : Eric W. Harpell
Office: 1830 Science building

office hours: T 12 - 1:30(1830) , W 1 - 2:30 (tutorial center), Th 12 - 2(1830)
phone: 925-424-1379
Last updated 1/08/2010


Welcome to Physics 10L. In this course, you will explore the concepts of experimental physics. In this course, we will be using methods that minimize mathematical techniques while demonstrating how the laws of physics apply in a range of fields in natural science and technology. Although this course is designed as a companion laboratory to our Conceptual Physics class at Las Positas College (Physics 10), you can take physics 10L concurrently, or after completing physics 10. Please read on to see how grades will be determined, what materials are required in the class, when we will be meeting on campus, and when you are required to submit the results of your experimental investigations. For general info about the class, see the Course Outline for Physics 10L


 Required Text: Laboratory Manual for Conceptual Physics, 10th Edition. by Paul G. Robinson. ISBN 0-8053-9199-1.


Other Required materials: Students will be asked to check out one or more "take home kits of necessary materials" to be returned and exchanged at various class meetings during the semester. In addition to the take home kits, students should have access to the items listed below. Anyone wishing to use materials on campus instead can do so during office hours or times arranged with the instructor.

Frequent Use

  • Computer with reliable internet access
  • Ruler
  • Timing device (cell phone with .1 sec timer okay)
  • Calculator (simple scientific is best)
  • Lab notebook (square ruled)
  • Laboratory manual (Robinson, 10th edition)

Used for One or more Labs

  • Styrofoam cups (2 - 4)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Food coloring
  • I liter plastic bottle
  • 3" x 5" card(s)

Used for One or more Labs

  • Aluminum foil
  • Masking tape and sticky tape.
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 D-Batteries
  • pushpins or thumbtacks



Grades in Physics 10L will be based on your performance on:

·         participation at regular lab meetings: 7 x 10 = 70 points

·         lab reports from in class meetings: 7 x 10 = 70 points

·         graded lab reports 23 activities worth 7 pts each (2-5 from blackboard mini report, and 2-5 for each written report) =  161 pts total

·         discussion board participation: 15 points

·         in class final exam 20 points

·         on-line lab final exam 14 pts

·         Lab Notebook Grade   30 pts

Total: 380 points

Grades (out of 380 possible points)

A 88.5%

= 336

B 76.5%

= 291

C 62.5%

= 237

D 50%

= 190

Lab Reports:

In order to get Credit for your work, you will need to submit a record of your work.  You will receive a guide to the lab write up at he first lab meeting.  If you follow the format and work carefully, you will earn most of, if not all, the points for a given lab. You are also expected to keep a record of your work in your lab notebook.  On April 1st, and at the lab final, the notebooks will be collected and you will be given a grade for completeness.    
The write up for labs from the lab manual, done at home, are usually a bit simpler.  For those you will be required to follow the step by step instructions in the manual, and answer questions at the end. There will also be a "mini report" for each lab in blackboard asking brief questions about the lab and its connection to physics principles and the scientific method. As with the in class labs, you will be expected to keep a record of your work in the lab notebook.  Note that you can turn in the actual pages of the manual, although it is recommended that you work through calculations first in the lab notebook. 


Laboratory Schedule
last revised: 1/08/2010



Important Dates

Activities from Lab Manual

print up lab instructions here if linked (be handed out in class if not linked here)

Due Date

1   (1/19)

Class Meeting: 1/21


Bean Counting


2   (1/25)


·        Tin Pan Alley

·        Styrofoam Astronauts




3   (2/1)

Last to day to drop with no grade of record (NGR): 2/5

Class Meeting: 2/4

·        Split Seconds

·        Go Carts





Projectile Motion


5   (2/8)


·        Torque Feeler

·        On Target

·        Powerhouse




6   (2/15)


·        Weight a moment

·        Point of No return



7 (2/22)

Class Meeting: 2/25

·        Mass of the Earth

·        Flying Pig


8   (3/1)


·        Specifically Water

·        Spiked Water



9   (3/9)


·        Solar Power

·        Specific heats



10  (3/16)

Class Meeting: 3/18



 Electricity 1


11  (3/23)


·        Sticky Electrostatics

·        Let There be Light



12  (3/30)

Class Meeting: 4/1


Electricity (and Magnetism) 2 - Lab Handout



Spring Break




13  (4/12)

Last day to drop with a grade of W via ClassWeb: 4/15

·        Sir Speedy

·        Resonant Frequency of Plastic Bottles (handout)



14  (4/19)

Class Meeting: 4/22


Waves and Sounds – Lab Handout


15  (4/26)


·        Camera Obscura

·        Disappearing Act



16  (5/3)

Class Meeting: 5/6


Optics – Lab Handout


17  (5/10)


·        Half of a Half

·        Nuclear Marbles



18  (5/17)

Class Meeting: 5/20

Lab Final


Lab Handout

In class

19  (5/24)

Online Final 5/23-5/26


See Blackboard