Exam 1

A number of folks have asked for some sort of study guide, and I hope this helps. Re-load this page from time to time: since it's a web page I may keep adding to it.

Material covered

Material from the textbook and class session and labs related to the following textbook chapters. (But, *not* the experiments like Electricity & Magnetism, which don't relate to anything we've done in class yet.)

  • Chapter 1 - Earth's place in the solar system and the universe: Earth is round, orbits the sun, how do we know (history from greeks to Galileo...)? Galileo's observations, what science and can't try to answer, science as a process vs. facts. Consequences of different models of the solar system.
  • Chapter 2 - Atoms: atoms, molecules, how we know. Calculating weight ratios from molecular composition. Balancing simple chemical equations. Also dealing with powers of 10, unit conversions, and the metric system.
  • Chapter 3 - How things move: speed, velocity, acceleration, inertia, early ideas (Aristotle) and later ones (Galileo).
  • Chapter 4 - Why things move: Forces cause acceleration, individual forces vs sum of forces (net force), $a=f/m$, the force of gravity at Earth's surface--weight=$m\cdot g$. We did *not* cover force pairs momentum (4.7).
  • Chapter 5 - Gravity / falling: Motion of moon / artificial satellites around the earth, the general law of gravity: $F_g=G\frac{m_1 m_2}{r^2}$, gravity acting on a body's center of mass, difference between weight and mass, gravity on the moon.

Studying tips

I've suggested that you study particularly the assigned Conceptual Exercises listed at the end of many of our class notes web pages.

  • I will use a handful of the CEs directly in the test.
  • There are answers to all the odd-numbered CEs in the back of your text book, so check yourself with other ones (even if I didn't suggest them) if they relate to material we covered.
  • But the point is not to memorize the answers themselves, but rather to understand *how* you can come up with a particular answer to one of these.
  • ...with a friend: You might not do *all* your studying with someone else, but it's probably worthwhile for everyone to identify the CEs you thought were more difficult (or less obvious) on your own, and then check your answers with a friend, and see how you each approached the tougher problems.

Format of the test

Compared to the quizzes...

  • My intention is that most of you will be finished with the exam in less than 45 minutes.
  • More in the way of multiple choice, multiple answer, true/false, short answers,
  • Less open ended questions for you to write about.
  • Even with multiple choice questions, it's *still* a fine idea to jot a note about how you're solving a problem. Sometimes that can lead to partial credit.
  • Formulas: I'll give you any needed--you don't need to memorize formulas. But you do need to know what the variables stand for (e.g. acceleration, force and mass in $a=f/m$) and how to manipulate formulas: e.g. given the acceleration and the force...what is the mass?
  • You do need to know the appropriate units for quantities, the gravitational formulas: accelerations (m/sec^2), forces (N), masses (kg), distances (m).
  • You should know how to do...
    • unit conversions,
    • metric conversions, and what the kilo-, micro-, milli-, mega- prefixes mean (answers: 1000, $10^{-6}$, $10^{-3}$, $10^{6}$), and how to use them.
    • how to multiply / divide with scientific notation.