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Physics

Physics Department

     Students attending MSMS have the opportunity to take and experience more coursework in physics than any other high school in the state of Mississippi.  MSMS offers nine physics courses which include both first and second year curricula.  Physics courses at MSMS are heavily labratory based with lab time comprising 33% of the courses.  These courses serve as preparation for all four of the College Board's AP® Physics examinations administered each May.  Also of interest, the MSMS Physics Club and the MSMS Engineering Club offer opportunities for competitive participation in a variety of state and national academic competitions. 

     All students must successfully complete AP® Physics-1 before graduation.  Students who wish to experience the most rigorous first-year physics program offered at MSMS should enroll in Advanced Problems in 1st Year Physics concurrently with AP® Physics-1. 

     Juniors with sub-scores ACT-Math≥25 and ACT-Reading≥22 are strongly encouraged to enroll in physics during the junior year.  Students who wish to take 2nd year physics courses must complete AP® Physics-1 during the junior year.

     The Concentration in Physics helps colleges identify MSMS graduates with advanced preparation in physics and who might benefit from placement in higher level coursework at the college level.  The Concentration in Physics is designed for students who pursue an advanced plan of study in physics while attending MSMS.  Students who achieve a grade of B or higher on:

  • the most rigorous version of first year required coursework, and
  • three more advanced courses from the approved list

can qualify for the Concentration in Physics.  Specific details are listed below and in the Student Catalog.

     Figure 1 shows options and possible sequences of physics courses while attending MSMS. 

Figure 1:  This flowchart give a good idea of how a student might sequence his or her physics coursework while attending MSMS.

Figure 1:  This flowchart give a good idea of how a student might sequence his or her physics coursework while attending MSMS.

 For more information about each class, click on the class links.  

AP® Physics-1
Advanced Problems in 1st Year Physics
Thermodynamics and Electricity/Magnetism
Modern Physics
AP® Physics C: Mechanics
AP® Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
Astronomy/Astrophysics
Electronics
Special Topics in Physics

Requirements for Graduation:  All students must successfully complete AP® Physics-1 before graduation.

Requirements for Graduation with the Concentration in Physics: The Concentration in Physics is designed for students who pursue an advanced plan of study in physics while attending MSMS. The Concentration in Physics at MSMS helps colleges identify MSMS graduates with advanced preparation in physics and who might benefit from placement in higher level coursework at the college level. Students who shall have completed 3.0 approved physics Carnegie Units in physics with a minimum B-average in each course or higher while attending MSMS shall qualify. The Physics Department and Director for Academic Affairs shall determine which courses meet approval. The Concentration in Physics is awarded to qualified students whose applications are approved by the Director for Academic Affairs. The approved courses for the Concentration in Physics shall include:

  • 1.0 Carnegie Unit AP® Physics-1
  • 0.5 Carnegie Unit Advanced Problems in 1st Year Physics (required)
  • Additional 1.5 CU’s (three semesters) which may include Thermodynamics/E&M (0.5 CU), Modern Physics (0.5 CU), AP®C Mechanics (0.5 CU), AP®C E&M (0.5 CU).

Other course work may not be substituted. Students applying for the recognition and who meet the approved criteria will be awarded a seal on the MSMS Diploma indicating successful completion of the Concentration in Physics, and the final MSMS transcript will reflect graduation with Concentration in Physics.

(Note: If a student wishes to satisfy requirements for the concentration in physics, the Advanced Problems in 1st Year Physics course may be taken concurrently with AP® Physics-1 OR after successful completion of AP® Physics-1.)

Detailed Descriptions of Physics Courses

SC 330 - AP®Physics-1

AP®Physics-1 is an algebra and trigonometry based course which provides a college-level introduction to the principles of Newtonian mechanics including rotational motion.  The course is designed to be equivalent to a university’s first semester of introductory algebra-based physics. Successful completion of this course will provide the student with a solid foundation in the topics of kinematics, work, energy, power, mechanical waves and sound, and an introduction to circuits.  Critical thinking and reasoning skills are developed through inquiry-based laboratory experiences.

SC 333 - Advanced Problems in 1st Year Physics
Advanced Problems in 1st Year Physics taken co-requisite with AP® Physics-1 comprises the most rigorous first-year physics program offered at MSMS.  This course meets one day per week for the full year.

SC 435 - Thermodynamics and Electricity/Magnetism
This algebra and trigonometry-based course covers the 1st semester topics of the AP®Physics-2 course, but enrollment is for the fall semester only. Successful completion of this course will provide the student with a solid foundation in the topics of fluid statics and dynamics, thermodynamics, kinetic theory, PV diagrams and probability, electrostatics, RC circuits, magnetic fields and electromagnetism. Critical thinking and reasoning skills are developed through inquiry-based laboratory experiences.  Offered in the spring semester to qualified AP Physics 1 students and students who have completed AP Physics 1.

SC 339 – Modern Physics
This algebra and trigonometry-based course covers the 2nd semester topics of the AP® Physics-2 course, but enrollment is for the spring semester only. Successful completion of this course will provide the student with a solid foundation in the topics of special relativity, electromagnetic waves, physical and geometrical optics, introductory atomic and quantum theory, nuclear physics and an introduction to general relativity. Critical thinking and reasoning skills are developed through inquiry-based laboratory experiences.

SC 337 - AP® Physics C:  Mechanics
The course provides students with a vector-calculus based introduction to the principles of classical mechanics.  Both differential and integral calculus concepts will be utilized throughout the course.  Topics include kinematics, Newton’s Laws, collisions and conservation laws, work and energy, rotational motion, statics, harmonic motion, gravitation and other topics as well.  This lab-based course is designed to prepare students to take the AP® Physics C Mechanics examination, which is administered each May.

SC 338 - AP® Physics C:  Electricity and Magnetism
The course provides students with a vector-calculus based introduction to the principles of classical electricity and magnetism.  Both differential and integral calculus concepts will be utilized throughout the course.  The major laws of electromagnetic theory are developed including Coulomb’s Law, Gauss’ Law, Ampere’s Law, the Biot-Savart Law and Faraday’s Law, ultimately leading to Maxwell’s Equations.  The lab-based course is designed to prepare students to take the AP® Physics C Electricity & Magnetism examination, which is administered each May.

SC 344 – Astronomy/Astrophysics
The class will introduce the Earth & Moon system, the sky and seasons, the origin of the Solar System, the planetary geology of the terrestrial planets, the recent exploration of the outer planets, the outer solar system, and the varieties of stars in the Universe from their birth to destruction. (NO LAB DAY)

SC 345 – Electronics
This course is offered to allow students an opportunity to develop expertise in the area of electronics. Assignments will be made from both text and laboratory designs. Students can gain familiarity with microprocessors, digital circuits, and analog circuits in this course. A major part of the grade will be a final project. (NO LAB DAY)

SC 346 – Special Topics in Physics
This course is designed to give the student an opportunity for individualized learning in physics. The student will select faculty advisors and with their help, choose a particular physics problem of interest and pursue the problem.

Physics Instructors: Charles Vaughan and Jameela Williams.

 

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