Physics 221 Syllabus, Elements of Physics

Fall 2017

Prof. Andrew W. Steiner

Subject to change, see Canvas for more details

Course Description

This class covers basic physical principles and applications required in pre-medical, pre-pharmacy and pre-veterinary programs including mechanics, heat, and wave motion.

The goal is to keep the students actively engaged in learning. Students will be talking to each other, solving problems individually or together, performing experiments and working through simulations.

Class Structure

This class meets once per week for one hour and 15 minutes in a large lecture hall (Tuesdays, 8:10 – 9:25, room 415, Nielsen Physics Building) and once per week, by section, for 2 hours and 30 minutes in a studio physics classroom. Attendance is mandatory for both meetings.
  • Before each class meeting students are required to study the web material (see below) and consult the accompanying chapter in the textbook for additional information.
  • The meeting in the large lecture hall will not be a formal lecture. We will review the physics concepts introduced in the reading assignments and practice how to use these concepts to solve problems that can appear on standard tests. Students will solve problems individually or in small groups. They will, as a class, discuss what insight was gained by solving each problem. Student responses will be collected through the use of clickers. Students will earn class participation points and can earn extra credit points during the class meetings. After each meeting in the large lecture hall, students will test their understanding by completing an on-line pre-lab assignment.
  • In the studio sessions students, will work in small groups. This is a class with a laboratory, so they will perform experiments, but they will also participate in other activities. Session instructors will guide students to further explore the physics concepts introduced in the reading assignments and gain an understanding of how these concepts apply to a wide range of real world problems and situations. After each studio session, students must complete a online homework assignment.

Topics and Schedule


Sections in Textbook Web Material Lecture Dates Studio Session Dates Studio Session
1.3,1.4,2.1-2.4 Introduction Aug 29 Aug 30-Sep 1 Introduction
2.5-2.8,3.1-3.4 Position, velocity, and acceleration Sep 5 Sep 6-8 Understanding Motion
4.1-4.7 Newton's laws of motion Sep 12 Sep 13-15 Newton's Laws
5.1-5.3, 6.1-6.3 Applications of Newton's laws Sep 19 Sep 20-22 Motion from constant force
7.1-7.9 Work and energy Sep 26 Sep 27-29 Work and Energy
Oct 3 Fall break Fall break
8.1-8.7 Momentum Oct 10 Oct 11-13 Impulse and Momentum
9.1-9.6,10.1-10.5 Rotational motion Oct 17 Oct 18-20 Rotational Motion
11.1-11.9 Static fluids Oct 24 Oct 25-27 Buoyancy
12.1-12.7 Fluid dynamics Oct 24 Oct 25-27 Measuring Viscosity
13.1-13.6, 14.1-14.7 Temperature and heat Oct 31 Nov 1-3 Changes of Phase
15.1-15.7 Thermodynamics Nov 7 Nov 8-10 Thermodynamics
16.1-16.11 Waves Nov 14 Nov 15-17 Mechanical Waves
Nov 21 Thanksgiving Thanksgiving
17.1-17.7 Sound Nov 28 Nov 29-Dec 1 Sound Waves

Homework Assignments

Homework assignments are based on the material covered in the web-based modules. Students are expected to submit two assignments per week on canvas, one pre-lab assignment (due at 8:00pm on the Tuesday of the lecture) and one homework assignment (due 8:00pm the Monday following the studio session). The assignments must be submitted on time for credit.

Pre-lab assignmentDue date HomeworkDue date

Contacting Me

  • Prof. Andrew W. Steiner
  • 103 South College (enter one of the west doors and my office is on the ground floor)
  • Email: -- Please use email carefully, e.g. for setting up appointments. Add "P221" to the subject of your email. It may take me 48 hours (or longer) to reply, depending on my current schedule.
  • Office Hours: Tuesday from 3-4pm

Required Materials

  • Textbook: "College Physics", a free, online textbook by OpenStax College. (HTML version)
  • A clicker (clicker help here). Make sure your clicker is registered. We will use channel 48.
  • Access to canvas



  • Two in-class exams: 15% each
  • Final exam: 20%
  • Studio session work: 25%
  • Pre-lab and homework assignments: 15%
  • Class participation: 10%
  • Extra credit: +10% possible

Grading Scale


A       90 and above
A- 87 - 90
B+ 83 - 87
B 80 - 83
B- 77 - 80
C+ 73 - 77
C 70 - 73
C- 67 - 70
D+ 63 - 67
D 60 - 63
F below 60

Disability Statement

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Please contact the Office of Disability Services at 865-974-6087 in 2227 Dunford Hall to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

Makeup Policy

The lowest homework grade and the lowest clicker grade will be removed, allowing everyone to miss one homework and one class. Makeups for exams will only be made under exceptional circumstances. If a known conflict exists you should contact me at least two weeks in advance to make alternate arrangements. If the Physics 221 final exam is your third exam of the day you should contact me at least two weeks in advance to make alternate arrangements.

Campus Syllabus

See the UTK campus-wide syllabus in PDF form here.

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