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Teaching Physics Blog

AP Physics Exam Review:Physics in the News

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Learning Objectives
• Conduct a review of the topics discussed throughout the year.

Assessment Type
This review activity serves the dual purposes of reviewing physics concepts and applying this knowledge to current events in world news. This activity would be used as a formative assessment as well as a break from the traditional review routine.

Assignment Details
  1. Students begin by searching various new sources to explore current events. Helpful resources could include Google News, Wired, Scientific American, or USA TODAY.
  2. Students find an article that is related to a physics concept they learned this year.
  3. Students write a brief description of the news article.
  4. They explain what makes physics relevant to this story, using specific examples of physics concepts they learned in class.
  5. Students create an AP Physics review problem related to the news story that they chose.
  6. Students write the complete solution to their problem.
  7. The student-written problems are redistributed around the classroom, and students try to solve a classmate's review problem, checking their solutions when finished.

Instructor's Notes
  • Consider redistributing the student created problems two or three times for additional practice and review.
  • To increase the incentive for creating a quality review problem, tell them that you will include one of the question they create on the final exam.

Students can be assessed on the following criteria.
1 pt - Students provide a concise and clear summary of the news article.
3 pts - Students correctly describe a physics concept and make a reasonable connection to the article.
6 pts - Students create a problem related to their news story that is of suitable difficulty and include a complete and correction solution.

Total = 10 pts

How to Make a Playlist on HippoCampus:
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NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty:
AP Physics B Site from Dolores Gende, AP Central's content advisor for physics since 2004:
College Board's AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Course Home Page:
College Board's AP Physics C: Mechanics Course Home Page:

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