Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

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Note: some or all of the courses in the subjects marked as "Transfer" can be used towards a transfer degree: Associate of Science and Arts or Associate of Engineering Science at DACC. Transferability for specific institutions and majors varies. Consult a counselor for this information.

Areas of Study | | PHYS141 syllabus

COURSE TITLE:Physical Science I
IAI CODE(S): P9 900L

This course emphasizes fundamental principles in the fields of physics and chemistry, the importance of these principles, and their influence on modern life. PHYS 141 is for the non-science major. Class meets 5 hours per week and is primarily a lecture-based course with 1 lab weekly.

Place into ENGL101 and MATH108.

NOTES: A lab is required for this course. Some sections will require a separate lab, while other sections will include the lab.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Make measurements use proper measuring techniques in lab and make conversions in the metric system
  • Create, read and interpret information in graphical form
  • Identify, and correctly use, definitions of scientific terms in classroom discussions
  • Use proper formula, unit notation and symbolic notation to solve given problems
  • Compare velocity and acceleration, calculate distance and velocity of falling objects, measure acceleration of gravity
  • Study Newton's three laws and their application, and laws of conservation
  • Describe work and energy, power, forms of energy, uses
  • Describe the wave motion of sound and light, the spectrum, Doppler shift
  • Define terms in electricity, calculate Ohms Law; describe magnetic fields
  • Compare heat and temperature, study phases of matter
  • Describe causes of radioactivity and relate to composition of the nucleus
  • Describe Bohr's model of the atom
  • Describe the periodic table and define element, compound
  • List major elements and their symbols; name compounds from formulas
  • Balance chemical equations
  • Calculate weight percentage
  • Compare acids and bases; define the pH scale
  • Compare and contrast metals and non-metals
  • Describe electron structure, valence shells, and how these relate to the Periodic Table

  • Measurement(2%)
    • the metric system
    • accuracy
    • powers of l0
    • scientific notation
    • mass and weight
  • Velocity and acceleration(7%)
    • gravity
    • projectiles
    • trajectories
    • density
  • Force and Motion(8%)
    • Newton's Laws
    • Momentum
    • Galileo's inclined plane
  • Work and Energy(10%)
    • forms of energy
    • conservation of energy
  • Wave motion(11%)
    • light and sound
    • the Doppler effect and its uses
    • lenses and optical instruments
    • the spectra of light
    • wavelength and energy
  • Wave effects(4%)
    • the refraction and reflection of light
    • polarization
    • ray diagrams
  • Electricity and Magnetism(12%)
    • definitions of voltage
    • current and resistance
    • Ohm's Law
    • power
    • magnetism
    • typical circuits
  • Temperature and heat temperature scales(5%)
    • the gas laws
    • the Joule's experiment
  • Atomic physics(4%)
    • the Rutherford and The Bohr Atom
    • energy levels
    • spectra
    • lasers
  • Nuclear Physics and its History(6%)
    • cause and effect of radioactivity
    • the nucleus of an atom
    • Radioactive dating
    • nuclear reactions and energy
    • the Rutherford alpha-scattering experiment
  • The Periodic Table(8%)
    • structure of atoms and relation to periodic table
    • elements and compounds
    • families of elements
  • Compounds, Molecules and Ions(6%)
    • formation of compounds
    • ionic and covalent bonding
    • names of compounds
    • organic compounds
  • Chemical laws(2%)
    • atomic and molecular weights
  • Chemical reactions(4%)
    • chemical equations
    • balancing; acids
    • bases
    • pH
  • The balance of time will be used for testing
  1. Measuring Constant and Accelerated Motion
    • Students will measure constant and accelerated motion using a momentum cart, mass hanger, and spark timer
    • Results will be graphed using excel
  2. Measuring Acceleration of an Object with Constant Force
    • Students will measure the acceleration of a cart acted upon by a constant force
    • The force and mass of accelerated objects will vary
  3. Centripetal Force Lab
    • Students will compare a calculated value of centripetal force against a known value of that force
  4. Ideal Gas Laws
    • Students will determine value of absolute zero using a constant volume thermometer and show pressure volume relationship with syringe/pressure meter apparatus
    • Results graphed in excel
  5. Reflection/Refraction
    • Students will verify the law of reflection and demonstrate Snells Law
  6. Ohms Law
    • Students will verify the relationship between voltage, current and resistance using simple resistive circuits and analog meters
  7. Oleic Acid Lab
    • Students will obtain an order of magnitude measurement of the size of one molecule of oleic acid
  8. Acid/Base Indicators
    • Students will use indicators to determine the acidity of a substance


An Introduction to Physical Science. Shipman, Wilson, Higgins, Torres; Cengage, 2016.

See bookstore website for current book(s) at

Upon completion a student should demonstrate 60% efficiency on tests, quizzes, laboratory work, paper and final exam of the following objectives:
Lab reports
Hourly exams
Comprehensive final exam
Research paper
Determination of grade is based on the following:
A- 90%-100%
B- 80-89%
C- 70-79%
D- 60-69%


Membership in the DACC community brings both rights and responsibility. As a student at DACC, you are expected to exhibit conduct compatible with the educational mission of the College. Academic dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism, is not tolerated. A DACC student is also required to abide by the acceptable use policies of copyright and peer-to-peer file sharing. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with and adhere to the Student Code of Conduct as contained in the DACC Student Handbook. The Student Handbook is available in the Information Office in Vermilion Hall and online at:

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Testing & Academic Services Center at 217-443-8708 (TTY 217-443-8701) or stop by Cannon Hall Room 103. Please speak with your instructor privately to discuss your specific accommodation needs in this course.

Spring 2019

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