Pre-AP Physics

Northern LightsLooking for a physics course for your high school student?

I’ve got years of experience teaching physics to homeschoolers. Look over the information for this year’s course below, and please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Pre-AP Physics

Section A – High School Credit Only

Section B – AP Physics I or SAT II subject test Focus

Instructor: Vicki Dincher

WebEx Time Slot: Wednesday’s 2:30 to 3:30 PM EST

Cost: $625 (does not include text or lab supplies)

Grades: 10-12 grade

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Algebra 1 and Geometry (some trig is helpful but not necessary)

Course Length: 34 weeks

Course Begins: Thursday, August 25, 2016 (first live discussion Wednesday, August 31, 2016)

Course Ends: Tuesday, May 17, 2017 (last live discussion Wednesday, May 10, 2017)

Test Readiness: In the fall of 2014, changed the AP Physics exam format. As a result, interested students may choose to prepare for the AP Physics 1 exam through this course. However, you do not need to be preparing for the AP exam to take this course. An additional text and test prep book will be required for those preparing for exams.

Required Texts:

  • Sections A & B:
    • Exploring Creation with Physics 2nd ed. (Apologia)


  • Section B:
    • Physics, Principles With Applications 5th ed. (Giancoli) ISBN-10: 0136119719 (this can be found used at  and
    • 5 Steps to a 5 AP Physics 1 Algebra-based  ISBN-10: 0071820647 (this can be found at


Physics is the study of matter and energy and their interactions.  It provides a systematic understanding of the fundamental laws that govern physical, chemical, and biological processes.

This physics course provides students with a modern view of the fundamental, foundational concepts of physics; develops the students’ analytical, problem solving skills; integrates math, science and technology; and is designed for students who are planning to major in the sciences, medicine, or engineering.  The major topics covered are mechanics, energy, electricity and magnetism, waves, and modern physics. Additional topics include motion in a plane, internal energy, geometrical optics, and nuclear physics. This class includes laboratory work and written lab reports.  Students are encouraged to take the SAT II in Physics or the AP Physics 1 exam upon completion of this course and will be prepared for future AP Physics 2 coursework.  (There is no CLEP exam for Physics)

Lecture Content/Live Web-ex Discussions: All course lectures are recorded and available for students to playback at their convenience. I also post podcasts and short video clips explain course concepts as needed. Live discussions or problem-solving sessions will be held several times each month and will be recorded for those unable to attend. These sessions will be designed to provide students assistance with concepts and math problems assigned for homework.  Regular “office hours” will be listed after classes begin (survey of student time zones will determine the actual office hours) so students can reach me for immediate feedback or for individual or group homework help.

Labs: Approximately ten hands-on experiments will augment the core concepts studied and fulfill the lab requirement for a high school science credit.  These experiments can be completed at home (adult supervision is advised).  Most use household materials or supplies readily available from homeschool science companies.  A full list will be provided with the course syllabus.

Scientific Writing: Effective scientific writing is a vital skill required for success in college science courses.  To that end, instruction in the process of writing, revising, and completing a formal physics lab report will be given in the first several weeks of the course enabling students to practice these skills throughout the remainder of the year. 

Student Evaluation and Feedback: Students will be graded on homework, labs, discussions, and exams. The homework will be a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions done on the course website and handouts to be completed, scanned, and uploaded. All student work will be graded and returned within one week of submission.

Communications: Course communication occurs through the message system on the course website. I am also available to students through WebEx by appointment.

Technical needs: To access course materials students will need broadband, high speed Internet and their own e-mail account. This course will be run on the learning platform called Canvas. Canvas is a user-friendly, powerful platform where parents can be linked to their students and access student material, see grades, and contact the instructor at any time. Weekly assignments are downloaded as PDF files from the website. A scanner is required so that students can scan their completed work and upload it to the website for grading.

Time Commitment: The qualified student will spend 5-7 hours per week on this class. This accounts for reading the assigned texts, answering review questions, calculating practice problems, hands-on lab experiments, and discussing class work and reading assignments with others in the forums. Those planning to take an SAT II or AP exam will be required to spend more time in test preparation as the time of the exam nears.

Class Meeting Time: Weekly pre-recorded lectures give students an overview of upcoming concepts and instruction in problem-solving. Two to four times monthly, a live WebEx discussion will be held at the above listed WebEx meeting time to discuss concepts, answer student questions, and complete homework problems together. Students are not required to “meet” at the scheduled discussion time, but it is encouraged. Scheduled discussion times will be recorded for those unable to attend the live discussion times. All homework is due on the Canvas course website by Friday evenings, midnight EST, unless otherwise noted.

Instructor Qualifications: I have a B.S. and M.S. in Biology with a minor in mathematics. I have been teaching high school physics, chemistry, and biology since 1995 both first year and advanced courses. I have also taught science at community college and have been teaching online since 2010. I’ve homeschooled my own four children who are now all college educated and employed in science fields. My own children used online learning as part of our homeschool, so I’m familiar with the unique challenges and opportunities online homeschooling presents both from student and instructor perspectives. I’m passionate about the sciences and I enjoy helping students understand and appreciate

Course Priorities: While priority is given for those who would like to successfully complete SAT II or AP exams, all courses are a good fit for those desiring a solid foundation in high school physics. This course will have two sections, one for those interested in a high school science credit (Section A), and one for those interested in taking a standardized exam upon completion of the course (Section B). Those students enrolled in Section B will receive test prep materials and additional homework. Please indicate which section your student would like to be placed. My goal is to expand your appreciation of the fundamental concepts and laws that govern the physical realm we live in.

Major Project: Students will use the concepts of force, impulse and momentum to build a contraption to protect an egg when dropped from a height of at least 12 feet. Video uploads of this project will allow for group discussion of design issues. An optional project will be the building of a balloon popper that incorporates the six simple machines sequenced to pop at least one balloon. Details will be provided after appropriate concepts have been covered.

Who should apply: The well-prepared applicant also has completed a physical science course in the middle school years and has a good foundation in algebra and geometry.  This course will require some basic trigonometry (sine, cosine and tangent), but instruction in these math functions will be provided by the instructor if necessary.

To ask a question regarding this class, email me at

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