Middle School Physics

  • Instructor Dr. David Purvis
  • Code PSC61S
  • Student Ages 11-14
  • Term Spring Semester 2024


This course covers the science of physics and the principles that govern the physical world. Students will learn about the laws of motion as they relate to speed, velocity, acceleration, and motion in everyday activities, and they will conduct experiments that address the topic of mechanical energy and promote a solid understanding of the differences between potential and kinetic energies.

The course will cover the different forms of energy and the relationship between energy and matter. Students will learn about the nature of forces within the atom, including electrostatic force and the strong force. In addition, the course will cover the relationship between magnetism and electricity and how these forces are applied in our technological society. Experiments in gravity, thrust, and friction will give students experience in simple experimental physics and offer interesting results to observe. Other course topics include thermal energy, the differences between light waves and sound waves, and the nature of electromagnetic radiation.

There will be many hands-on activities for students to complete throughout the semester. The live classes will include interesting demonstrations, short instructional videos, and the occasional review game. Along the way, the students will be exposed to the scientific method, the metric system, STEM projects, and inquiry-based science.

Live Classes: Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, from the week of January 15th to the week of April 29th

Student Expectations: Students will be expected to complete activities, readings, and experiments.

Student Support: The instructor is available via email.

Materials/Supplies: Students will need a notebook for assignments, observations, and experimental results. Occasionally they will also need certain easily-obtainable materials. In addition, in order to complete assignments, students will need to purchase a printable middle school physics workbook packet, available here. The instructor will post a complete list of these and any additional materials necessary for the course on the class web page.

Prerequisites: None. Please note that this class will not include most algebra physics.


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