PHYS 1401
General College Physics

Western Texas College

  1. Basic Course Information:
    1. Course Description: Fundamental principles of physics, using algebra and trigonometry; the principles and applications of classical mechanics and thermodynamics, including harmonic motion, mechanical waves and sound, physical systems, Newton’s Laws of Motion, and gravitation and other fundamental forces; with emphasis on problem solving.  Laboratory activities will reinforce fundamental principles of physics, using algebra and trigonometry; the principles and applications of classical mechanics and thermodynamics, including harmonic motion, mechanical waves and sound, physical systems, Newton’s Laws of Motion, and gravitation and other fundamental forces; emphasis will be on problem solving.
    2. Prerequisites: Math 1314 College Algebra and Math 1316 Plane Trigonometry or Math 2312/2412 Pre-Calculus.
    3. Online course content is administered through the college’s learning management system (LMS), Moodle, also called eCampus.  A link to eCampus can be found on and to Moodle (the big M with a graduation cap) on the college’s home page,
  2. Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)
    1. Determine the components of linear motion (displacement, velocity, and acceleration), and especially motion under conditions of constant acceleration.
    2. Apply Newton’s laws to physical problems including gravity.
    3. Solve problems using principles of energy.
    4. Use principles of impulse and linear momentum to solve problems.
    5. Solve problems in rotational kinematics and dynamics, including the determination of the location of the center of mass and center of rotation for rigid bodies in motion.
    6. Solve problems involving rotational and linear motion.
    7. Describe the components of a wave and relate those components to mechanical vibrations, sound, and decibel level.
    8. Demonstrate an understanding of equilibrium, including the different types of equilibrium.
    9. Discuss simple harmonic motion and its application to quantitative problems or qualitative questions.
    10. Solve problems using the principles of heat and thermodynamics.
    11. Solve basic fluid mechanics problems.
    12. Demonstrate techniques to set up and perform experiments, collect data from those experiments, and formulate conclusions from an experiment.
    13. Record experimental work completely and accurately in laboratory notebooks, and communicate experimental results clearly in written reports.
  3. Testing Requirements
    1. The midterm and the final exam must be proctored by an approved testing organization.  (Ask your instructor for more details).
    2. Students are NOT allowed to use their book or notes of any kind while taking their midterm and final exam.
    3. Students are allowed to use the formula sheet provided for the midterm and final exam.
  4. Major Course Requirements
    1. Major Requirements 1 – There will be 6 unit tests
    2. Major Requirements 2 – There will be 6 unit lab write-ups.  Students are not allowed to take the final exam until at least 4 unit lab write-ups are completed.
    3. Major Requirements 3 – There will be a midterm and final exam.
    4. Unit tests, midterm, and final are all timed.
  5. Grading System
    1. See the First Day Handout for the percentages of the average in this course and the letter grade breakdown for the final grade.
  6. Information on Books and Other Course Materials
    1. Text Required- College Physics, OpenStax College, ISBN-1938168003  978-1-938168-00-0
    2. Lab kits will be required:  e-Science,
      For PHYS 1401 (only):  Lab Kit #2539
      Or for PHYS 1401 and 1402 combined:  Lab Kit #2541
    1. WebAssign Homework subscription:  Pay and register at
  7. Other Policies: Please refer to the WTC Course Catalog for the following:
    1. Campus Calendar
    2. Final Exam schedule
    3. How to drop a class
    4. Withdrawal information
    5. Student Conduct/Academic Integrity
    6. Class Attendance
    7. Students with Disabilities
  8. Course Organization and Schedule




1, 2, 3

Nature of Science
Kinematics in One Dimension
Kinematics in Two Dimensions

Chapter 1--Physics: An Introduction; Physical Quantities and Units; Accuracy; Precision; and Significant Figures.
Chapter 2—Displacement; Vectors and Scalars; Coordinate Systems; Time, Velocity, and Speed; Acceleration; Motion Equations for Constant Acceleration in One Dimension; Problem-Solving Basics for One-Dimensional Kinematics; Falling Objects; Graphical Analysis of One-Dimensional Motion
Chapter 3--Kinematics in Two Dimensions: An Introduction; Vector Addition and Subtraction: Graphical Methods; Vector Addition and Subtraction: Analytical Methods; Projectile Motion

4, 5, 6

Newton’s Laws
Circular Motion

Chapter 4--Development of Force Concept;
Newton’s First Law of Motion: Inertia
Newton’s Second Law of Motion: Concept of a System
Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Symmetry in Forces
Normal, Tension, and Other Examples of Forces
Chapter 5—Friction; Drag Forces
Chapter 6--Centripetal Acceleration; Universal Law of Gravitation; Centripetal Force; Kepler’s Laws

7, 8, 9

Energy and Momentum

Chapter 7--Work: The Scientific Definition; Kinetic Energy and the Work-Energy Theorem; Gravitational Potential Energy; Conservative Forces and Potential Energy; Non-conservative Forces; Conservation of Energy; Power.
Chapter 8--Linear Momentum and Force; Impulse; Conservation of Momentum; Elastic Collisions in One Dimension; Inelastic Collisions in One Dimension
Chapter 9--The First Condition for Equilibrium; The Second Condition for Equilibrium


Selected sections from

Chapters 1-9

10, 11, 12

Angular Momentum
Fluid Dynamics

Chapter 10--Angular Acceleration; Kinematics of Rotational Motion;
Dynamics of Rotational Motion: Rotational Inertia; Rotational Kinetic Energy: Work and Energy; Angular Momentum and Its Conservation
Chapter 11--What Is a Fluid?; Density; Pressure;
Variation of Pressure with Depth in a Fluid; Pascal’s Principle; Gauge Pressure, Absolute Pressure, and Pressure Measurement; Archimedes’ Principle;
Cohesion and Adhesion in Liquids: Surface Tension and Capillary Action
Chapter 12--Flow Rate and Its Relation to Velocity;
Bernoulli’s Equation; The Most General Applications of Bernoulli’s Equation; Viscosity and Laminar Flow; Poiseuille’s Law

13, 14, 15

Kinetic Theory
Heat Transfer

Chapter 13—Temperature; Thermal Expansion of Solids and Liquids; The Ideal Gas Law; Kinetic Theory: Atomic and Molecular Explanation of Pressure and Temperature
Phase Changes; Humidity, Evaporation, and Boiling
Chapter 14—Heat; Temperature Change and Heat Capacity; Phase Change and Latent Heat; Heat Transfer Methods; Conduction; Convection; Radiation
Chapter 15--The First Law of Thermodynamics; The First Law of Thermodynamics and Some Simple Processes;
Introduction to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Heat Engines and Their Efficiency; Entropy

16, 17

Wave Motion

Chapter 16--Hooke’s Law: Stress and Strain Revisited; Period and Frequency in Oscillations;
Simple Harmonic Motion: A Special Periodic Motion;
The Simple Pendulum
Chapter 17—Sound; Speed of Sound, Frequency, and Wavelength; Sound Intensity and Sound Level; Doppler Effect and Sonic Booms

Final Exam

Selected sections from chapters 1-17

More emphasis will be given to 10-17.

Disclaimer:  Schedule and content is subject to change at the instructor’s discretion.




Last Modified: August 24, 2017