Sci/Phys 122 Telecourse Syllabus


 Table of Contents


Electronic Check-In
Course Description
Student Learning Outcomes


Course Requirements
Study Guide


Not Typical
Cultural Heritage
Course Topics


Video Programs
Study Guide/Outline
Online Lab Exercises
Library Resources
Web Resources




Academic Honesty
Independent Study
Cumulataive Understanding
Critical Thinking


Laboratory Exercises


Grading Scale
Couse Grade



Honolulu Community College



Science/Physics 122 Telecourse Syllabus


Instructor: Richard Brill
Professor, Physical Science
Honolulu Community College


online office hours by appointment

All students must check in on Laulima by submitting certification of Academic Honesty sent to all registered students on first or second day of classes, and available on Laulima Announcement entitled "Hello and Welcome"

Go to the course portal for links to all of the online course material, including important messages.


Click here for the point distribution


This syllabus is your first reading assignment.

The instructor will assume that you will have read it and that you understand it. You are responsible for fulfilling all course requirements as defined herein.

Check In

You must contact the instructor via Laulima messages tab before midnight on the date of the broadcast of Program 3 to complete your official enrollment in the course. See the broadcast schedule for dates.

The message will be acknowledged by the instructor and a return of the acknowledgment will be expected to assure that there is two-way communication..

Contact will not be considered to have been established until two-way e-mail has been established.

It is only necessary to check in once. If the instructor has answered your check in message then you are checked in and ready to proceed.


Contact the instructor through the message tab at Laulima.

All communications in this course are electronic. You must be able to communicate electronically in order to complete the course. This is a distance learning, electronic course, and no materials will be mailed; no paper will change hands.

Don't worry if you are a beginner with Laulima. It is the University of Hawaii course management system. It is not a steep learning curve and there is time to learn how to get around in it.

It is important that you check your email at least twice each week.

Laulima will be used for messages, exams and lab quizzes.

You will need your University of Hawaii user name and login to access LaulimaUse the Laulima message tab for all messages to the instructor. Do not send email to the instructor. Using the email address will load up the mailbox and may not be seen for days.

Every student must use the email. Email from other accounts will not be answered except in extreme emergency.


This syllabus defines the goals, learning outcomes, structure, content, grading and procedures for the telecourse. Read it carefully. It is the first reading assignment for the course. and you are responsible for knowing what is expected of you.

It is especially important that you know the course requirements. Read this section carefully.

You will be much more successful in this course (or in any endeavor) if you know where you are and where you are going, and if you understand how the course is organized. Pay special attention to the goals and student learning outcomes for the course,, and for each program, located at the beginning of each program's online study guide..

The instructor is here to guide you through the course, but you must take the initiative to plot your path through the course. No two students will necessarily follow the same path. Your success in this course will require you to learn the course material, but it is also will require you to learn how to learn, and how to locate and navigate through information sources. It may be unlike other courses that you have taken, and may not be what you expect.

The ideas and information you will encounter through the semester may seem overwhelming. It will be if you do not learn how to use the information to reinforce the ideas and concepts that form the core of the course.

Many people have taken in masses of information during their schooling that, although memorized, was not understood, despite the belief that it was understood. We learn to memorize information sufficiently to transform it into something useful (such as passing an exam). Much information in the mind of we humans who possess it is merely empty words, having meaning but not connected to other information that is stored there.

Having a mind full of 'factoids' does not mean that one is smart, or well educated. It may make a successful "Jeopardy" contestant, but does not mean that one knows how to think.

For more thoughts along these lines, see the section on critical thinking on the message page, and visit the Critical Thinking Foundation web page. The message page has specific references to relevant articles about critical thinking.

If you need to be led through the course, or if you expect to be fed specific information to digest and regurgitate, or if you are unable to follow written instructions, then a distance course like this is probably not the course for you. If that is your learning style, you might be better off in a more traditional classroom setting. Consult the instructor or a campus counselor if you have doubts in this area.

Course Description

From the HCC catalog: "Science and modern society. A survey of physics, astronomy, chemistry, and geology, with greater emphasis on the first two disciplines."

Science 122 is a 4 semester hour, transferable, college level general science course designed for liberal arts and education majors. It fulfills a general education requirement in the natural science laboratory area in the University of Hawaii system. It is cross-listed as Physics 122 which is the equivalent course at some UH campuses.

Successful completion of this course satisfies the physical science (DP) requirement for the natural science area requirement and the laboratory (DY) requirement for Honolulu Community College's General Education Core.

Although not specifically designed for science majors, the course may be useful as a general introduction to more advanced study in the sciences. No previous study of college level science is required, but we will assume that you know, or will learn, certain high school-level concepts. Curiosity, good observations and an open mind will be useful attributes. You will need at a minimum a level of computational mathematics equivalent to pre-Algebra, (Add, subtract, multiply, divide, squares and square roots.) The use of a calculator or spreadsheet will be required for the lab exercises. Help will be available to learn the use of a spreadsheet for doing calculations if you choose to do them.

This telecourse will be conducted electronically in its entirety. All assignments must be submitted in electronic form, no paper will be accepted. All students must use the UH email system at

Student Learning Outcomes

After completing this course each student should be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of basic physical concepts and principles.

2. Demonstrate insights into associations and relationships among the physical sciences.

3. Demonstrate comprehension of the concept of proportionality in physical principles.

4. Solve problems and reach tenable conclusions that require abstract and analytical reasoning,

5. Demonstrate ability to visualize and analyze graphical and pictorial information.

6. Calculate simple quantities from mathematically formulated principles.

7. Identify and assess quantitative information.

8. Demonstrate comprehension of the development of scientific thought in social context.

9. Demonstrate comprehension of the variables, descriptions, and principles of motion and gravitation.

10. Demonstrate comprehension of the abstract ideas of energy and momentum.

11. Demonstrate comprehension of various conservation laws and their importance.

12. Demonstrate comprehension of the nature of thermal energy and the kinetic theory of matter.

13. Demonstrate comprehension of the basic laws and properties of atoms.

14. Discuss in expository form certain recurring themes in the unified system of science.

15. Write logical, clear and parsimonious expositions which demonstrate mastery of the nature of physical science.

16. Collect data, analyze it and submit reports which demonstrate comprehension of the principles and processes involved.

Each TV program (lesson) has specific learning outcomes for that lesson, stated at the beginning of the online study guide for that lesson. See the section "Study Guide" later in this syllabus. The learning outcomes for all the lessons are here.


Please read the online instructions about how to submit assignments before you submit anything.

Course Requirements

There are only two* requirements to the course, not four as stated in the TV program and in lesson 1 study guide:


laboratory exercises


There are certain minimum requirements in each area in order for a grade to be awarded. Each of these requirements is spelled out in more detail later in this syllabus. Click on the links above for more information on each requirement.


Further information on the textbooks is here, later in the syllabus.

There are two required textbooks for this course:

1. Introduction to Physical Science, by Booth and Bloom.

2. Seven Ideas That Shook The Universe by Spielberg and Anderson, John Wiley & Sons, Latest Edition

Both texts are available from the HCC bookstore. Follow the links to Sci 122.. For further information on ordering texts for distance ed. courses see the information that you received when you registered.

There is no textbook for the lab portion of the course. The laboratory exercises are online. See detailed information later in this syllabus. For the exercises see the labs page.

Online Study Guide

The online study guide consists of study questions, a course outline, and brief summaries of each of the 30 programs. The contents page is also available in text only format.


Not Typical

This is not your typical physical science course. Typically such a course begins with the study of motion with lots of equations and exercises to calculate things like the distance a dropped stone will fall in a certain amount of time.

That's not us. We will certainly see that relationship, and others in our studies, but not as the main thrust of the course.

We'll be interested in the ideas and ideals of science more than we are interested in the facts, although the facts are also important. We will elaborate on that in the first two programs

We will often explain how and why things work but primarily we will emphasize the larger picture of science as a human activity in social and historical context.

We subtitle this course "The Nature of Physical Science". Why do you think we called it that? What is the difference between "the nature of physical science" and "the physical science of nature?"

Cultural Heritage of Ideas

We will focus on the cultural heritage of ideas and how these ideas relate to studies of life, Earth and the Universe. The ideas, tenets, and laws of science are universal and interrelated, meaning that they are composed of many ideas which have flowed together to create this common reality we call the physical universe. Ideally, the laws of nature do not depend on cultural preferences, although such preferences may drive our scientific methods and classifications.

Although this ideal of cultural independence is not entirely true, it is a good ideal, a goal to aim for in our science.

During the course we may take a wrong turn now and then. Like explorers, our study of science has traveled up the wrong rivers and into dead end streams. We can learn much from studying these as well as from studying the "right" path. Some students have asked of this course, "Why do we have to learn the wrong theories, why don't you just tell us the right theories," or "I'm not going to major in science, why do I have to learn this stuff?"

Why do you think we do that, ask you to study the wrong theories as well as the right ones, or to study it at all?

Suppose we partially answer our own question with analogy that might give you a start if you want to write about this for this program's assignment.

We are in a strange city with a map and a car. We need to get someplace but not in a hurry. We can simply find and follow the shortest route to get where we want to go. When we get there we can pat ourselves on the back for having learned how to read a map and for our brilliance in finding the shortest and quickest path.

But we will know nothing of the city.

With the map as a guide we might want to take a few side trips, getting out of the car to walk and to get a sense of the city and its people.

Getting to know the city will enable us to find our way around without a map, and that is really our goal.

Dangerous ? Maybe in a city, but not in a telecourse.

Difficult? Yes. At first. It is like physical exercise. If you are a couch potato it will be uncomfortable at first to do the crunches. If you are a mental couch potato, it will be a little uncomfortable at first to think logically and clearly.

We're not suggesting that anyone taking this course might be a mental couch potato, although we can't rule out the possibility. So potato, or other vegetable or no vegetable at all, we all can stand to improve our mental abilities as well as our physical ones.

We do want to be healthy don't we?

The culture of science is part of a long tradition of shared culture, and has a heavy Western emphasis.

With its diverse origins, our modern scientific world view has been a successful one. Here, near the millennium, we are advancing at an alarming rate in our knowledge. We are able to see that much of the ancient science was really very similar in different parts of the world, even where there was little or no social contact for tens of thousands of years, such as between the old and new worlds. We also are beginning to see how much our modern science has in common with some of the ancient ideas of other cultures.

Course Topics

This course covers many of the traditional topics of an introductory college level physical science course, but also some that are not typical. We focus s on the philosophical, social, and historical background rather than on facts and calculations. The latter are important, but in the context of the interaction of science with the society in which it coexists.

There are four parts or sections to the course, each containing seven or eight lessons. Each lesson corresponds to a video program and also to a lesson in the study guide. Lessons are numbered within each section. So the first video program is Program 1 Lesson 1.1. The first program in part two will be Program 9, Lesson 2.1, and so on. We will sometimes abbreviate them as 1.1.1 and 9.2.1, etc.

The four sections and the programs will be covered in more detail in Program 1.

Be sure you understand the meaning of the numbers. An outline of the structure and numbering of the topics follows: Highlighted topics are hot links to the program outlines and summaries of the first two parts.

Part 1: Beginnings

Program 1: 1.1 Introduction
Program 2: 1.2 Physical Science
Program 3: 1.3 Paradigms & Perception
Program 4: 1.4 Earth & Space
Program 5: 1.5 Beginnings
Program 6: 1.6 Pythagorean Mysticism
Program 7: 1.7 The Golden Age
Program 8: 1.8 Ptolemaic Astronomy

Part 2: Revolution

Program 09: 2.1 Darkness & Dawn
Program 10: 2.2 Brahe & Kepler
Program 11: 2.3 Kepler's Laws
Program 12: 2.4 Describing Motion
Program 13: 2.5 Galileo: The First Scientist
Program 14: 2.6 Freefall & Inertia
Program 15: 2.7 Newton and The Laws

Part 3: Newtonian Universe

Program 16: 3.1 Gravity
Program 17: 3.2 Gravitation
Program 18: 3.3 Momentum &Conservation
Program 19: 3.4 Work & Energy
Program 20: 3.5 Temperature & Heat
Program 21: 3.6 Heat and Conservation
Program 22: 3.7 Classification & Properties of Matter

Part 4: Atomic Paradigm

Program 23: 4.1 Aristotle & Alchemy
Program 24: 4.2 Skeptical Chemists
Program 25: 4.3 Chemistry & Atomic Theory
Program 26: 4.4 Kinetic Theory
Program 27: 4.5 Electrical Fragments
Program 28: 4.6 The Empty Atom
Program 29: 4.7 Periodicity & Bonding
Program 30: 4.8 Entropy & Chaos


Video Programs

Thirty video programs are designed to focus on the main ideas and to guide you through the material. We cannot, should not, and will not simply tell you what you need to know. You will have to read, synthesize, and make connections. The programs are broadcast on cable TV. See the broadcast schedule for dates and time for the current session.

Effective learning is active rather than passive, and you must provide the motivation for learning. We will guide and help however we can, but you must take the initiative and do the work. You must read and make connections. You can not expect to do well in this course by watching the video programs alone.

Video on demand is available for those programs that were missed at the designated broadcast time. Go to the UH video on demand site. An additional low-res site is available as well.

Study Guide/Program Outline

The online study guides are outlines of the programs, each one corresponding to a program from 1 to 30. The "Study Guides" page contains links to each of the 30 guides. It contains extensive graphics and will be slow to download if you are using a dialup internet service provider. If you find this page too slow to load you might want to use the text-only page.

The early study guides contain extensive text, some of which is verbatim from the program, but some if additional content to aid in understanding the material presented in the TV programs. If you decide to print out the study guides you may want to reduce the print size to 75% or smaller. Some of them may require forty or more pages as formatted online.

From program 10 to 15 they become progressively less text and more outline. This is intended, to help you learn to relate to material in outline form and to help you become better at making your own outlines.

The online study guides are presented online as one large document rather than being broken into smaller segments as is the common style online. This has the advantage of allowing you to print the whole document at once rather than having to locate and print each individual section. It has the disadvantage that it may take awhile to download if you are using a modem. Please be patient when downloading if it seems to take a long time.

You can save any of the study guides to a local disk by pulling down the "File" menu and selecting "save as". You can save either as text, as html, or as a 'web archive' (Explorer). Saving as a web archive will allow you to download and save the pictures. This may take some time and may use quite a bit of hard drive space. Saving as html will not save graphics unless you select and save them one-by-one.

Textbooks (See the section earlier in this syllabus for titles and ordering information)

The textbooks provide an important source of information for the course and they contain valuable illustrations and explanations. They should be read, reread, and studied.

The textbooks are additional sources of information which you will find helpful to understand and synthesize the information. In the texts you will find background information, drawings and illustrations, graphs and tables, focuses on special problems or personalities, questions for study, additional references, to name a few..

You should become familiar with the textbooks, the way they are organized, and the type of information they contain. You should expect to become proficient in locating material in various printed and electronic media, and comparing the information in different sources. These are important research skills that will be useful outside the college environment as well..

The pages in the text which correspond to the programs are listed at the beginning of each lesson in the study guide.A lesson-by-lesson reading assignment guide is here.

These may not be the only pages which are relevant, and it is in your best interest to search elsewhere in the text and in other sources (such as online) for further explanation of that material which you do not understand. The two textbooks have questions and bibliography at the end of each chapter. Although you are not required to answer those specific questions you may find them useful to organize your thoughts and to test your understanding.

Introduction to Physical Science by Booth and Bloom

This book has good illustrations,it is well organized, and contains good descriptions of laws and principles, and a limited historical background. It is very concise, and explains things well.

It is a Xerox copy of certain portions of an older textbook that is now out of print. Only those sections which are relevant to the course are included. Although it is old, it is the best textbook available for this course. Some students have complained about the "quality" of the book because it is black and white. The original was in black and white too. Don't be fooled into believing that color and glossy pages equate to quality.

We have made every attempt to keep the cost of this text at a reasonable level, and it is much less inexpensive that a typical physical science text.

Seven Ideas that Shook the Universe by Spielberg and Anderson

This book has an excellent bibliography and uses a good historical approach to seven great ideas in physics. We will use approximately two-thirds of this text, but you might find the reading stimulating even in those part we do not specifically study. Especially interesting is the chapter on relativity which we will not have time to cover.

Online Laboratory Exercises

The laboratory exercises are self-contained online. You can find links to them from the labs page. They are designed to explore the relationships studied in the course. The exercises contain links to other information that helps to clarify and explain. These linked pages will not print out along with the exercises. They must be printed out separately. More information on the labs is later in this syllabus.

Online Study Guides

You will not get the full benefit of the study guides if you only print them out or have them open online during the program.

Many of the study guides contain links to additional material, including video animations. Many of the early study guide chapters are quite long (40 or more pages). As we progress through the programs they will become progressively more in outline form and contain less text..

Even if you do decide to print them you will get maximum benefit from them if you go online and follow the links when youcome across them.


There is a links web page. It is impossible to keep it up to date, but most of the links should lead somewhere useful.If you come across a 'dead' link, please send an email to Laulima and let me know so that I can fix or remove it.

You will find many other resources by using the various search engines available on your web browser. "Google" is the standard search engine and the "Yahoo" site is also well organized. Dogpile uses many different search engines, but may give too many not-so-useful links. Another fairly reliable site is Ask is fairly reliable, as is Wikipedia. There are also several good encyclopedias online, such as Encarta that will give reasonably good but brief descriptions. Remember that information published on the web may not be "good" information. You should consider any information taken from web sites as tentative. Verify it with several other sources if you can.

An excellent online dictionary is "The One-Look Dictionary".You can enter a word or short phrase and it will give a quick definition, and also find many different dictionaries and encyclopedias, including specialized ones such as science dictionaries.

You might also try and Look up "history of science." Look up the names of some of the individual whose names you encounter in the course.

If you locate relevant or interesting web sites, please share them with your classmates and the instructor via e-mail (Laulima).

There are many online references in astronomy, physics, and chemistry. Learn to use Google or other search engines to find material, but be wary of the source as there are many pseudoscience sites. You are generally safe if the domain is .edu or .gov. The 'advanced search' on "Google" allows you to limit your search to a certain domain. There is no control over material on the worldwide web. There are many documents which have not been carefully researched and which contain erroneous and misleading information. It becomes part of our responsibility as educated readers to learn to critically evaluate material that we read.

Published books may not be completely accurate, even those in the 'precise' sciences such as physics and chemistry. Before a book is published it has been read and the material evaluated by someone other than the author. This process assures some degree of quality control which is not present on the web. Use caution when using information obtained on the web just as you would when hearing something from a friend. Don't believe everything you read just as you don't believe everything you hear.

Library Resources and Printed Reference Materials

The HCC Library has an excellent website. There are links there to all kinds of resources online and in the library.

Physical science references in the library are in the "Q" section in college libraries and in the "500" section at the State libraries.

Anyone with a UH account, including community colleges, has access to the library resources of the State Library System as well as the UH library

Each of the UH campus libraries has a unique collection of books. In addition the library may have other resources which can be helpful to you.

Don't be afraid of the library. Use it. Go there and search through the stacks. Ask the librarian for help if you can't find the appropriate section. Go the "Q" section and browse.

Get and use a college dictionary, printed version..You can find one in the college bookstore or at any bookstore.


The primary goals of this course are that each student progresses towards developing an appreciation for the heritage, processes and products of science while learning how to think logically and critically, improving the ability to synthesize and to analyze,and improving the ability to communicate the results of the synthesis and analysis in writing. Writing is the best way to learn.

In our modern world which is dominated by science and technology, we need to understand what science is, what it can do, and what it cannot do. The misconceptions and fears that surround science and technology from the perspective of non scientists is a sad state of affairs. The growth of technology and its use in the society tends to increase the gap between the scientifically literate and illiterate. Being scientifically illiterate in the modern world puts anyone at a disadvantage who wants to exist in it and who wants to benefit from knowledge of it or make contributions to it.

The physical universe has stimulated the curiosity of mankind from the beginning. Are we losing that curiosity in our modern world? Is it only scientist who ask questions about those ultimate questions of who we are, why we are here, and why does the universe seem to made just for us to be in it?

Our current knowledge of the behavior of matter and energy, although incomplete, reveals order and interrelationships far beyond the imaginations of our ancestors. From the motions of heavenly bodies, the mathematical regularity of nature revealed itself as our minds became more sophisticated. As we have discovered more and more natural laws, by increasing the sophistication of our ideas through the creation of increasingly abstract concepts, the physical universe makes sense as it becomes more real, simpler, and less mystical. At the same time it becomes even more awesome to comprehend the magnitude and complexity of it.

In fact the more abstract it becomes, the simpler it seems. Things which seem at first glance to be separate are seen to be related in unsuspected ways. Investigations of various types will begin to suggest a unity among the separate sciences. For example Newton's analysis of gravitation showed that the falling apple and a planetary orbit were part of the same phenomenon and were described by the same law, expressed in mathematical form. In a similar way, as the theory of the atom grew, it provided a unifying link between motion, energy, heat, electricity, magnetism, light, and chemistry.

Although we speak of the various sciences, the unity of physical laws suggests that there is really only one science. Science is a method of understanding which is required by its practitioners to be self-consistent and to reflect the observable world if it is to be any good at all.

It is much more than just a mere collection of facts and the development of science is more than just discovery of facts. Facts are always interpreted in cultural context, and with bias, although one ideal of science is to be free of them. There are unifying principles in science which may seem simple in retrospect, but which required a complex combination of social events in order to develop in the first place.

By understanding the development of scientific thought we can distinguish between science and pseudoscience and we can appreciate the methods and beneficial effects of science, but we can also appreciate the limitations of science and its potential for misuse among uninformed people.

The process of development of scientific thought mirrors one way in which the human brain learns. By understanding these processes of the growth of scientific inquiry, knowing just a few facts, and a few simple rules of behavior by which matter and energy abide, we can see the world around us in a different light. Along the way we will learn how to think critically, how to investigate the physical world, how to write and communicate ideas, how to research and use information resources, and learn to make critical judgments, solve problems, and function as responsible citizens in a society dominated by rapidly advancing science and technology, while it seems to suffer for the lack of comparable advances in humanity.

The following goals pertain to the course as a whole. Each program/lesson has specific goals and outcomess. These are listed at the beginning of each page of the online study guide/course outline.

GOALS are what the instructor hopes to accomplish by teaching the course.

1. Explore the laws, methods, and history of thought in physical science through selected topics in physics, chemistry, astronomy, and earth science.

2. Comprehend the physical component of the immediate environment and its relation to the universe.

3. Appreciate the unity of materials and processes among the earth, planets, and stars.

4. Develop and polish the ability for abstraction, analysis, and pictorial intuition.

5. Cultivate a humanistic and integrated view of man, science, society, and nature.

6. Examine the methods and insights by which knowledge has grown.

7. Acquire an appreciation for the unity of mankind's thoughts and perceptions in science, art, literature, music, and philosophy.

8. Learn to think logically, critically, linearly, and symbolically.

9. Learn to analyze, synthesize, observe, draw conclusions and write the results in a clear and concise style.


You can't just sit back and watch TV and hope to get a good grade. You must take an active part in the course. Here are a few things that will be necessary for you to get the full benefit of the course and the way it is structured.

College courses require a significant amount of independent study (course are designed for one hour of study for each hour in the classroom, a total of 45 hours 'in class' and 90 hours 'out of class' for a 3-credit course). The material of this course cannot be mastered by osmosis, and your brain will not absorb it like a sponge; it will require time outside of class studying: reading, analyzing, synthesizing, and writing.

To master means not just to memorize a set of facts but to understand, to make connections, to see relationships, to critically analyze and synthesize information and to be able to write about it. It requires one to understand the facts and to know the vocabulary.

The "A" student in this class typically does the following things:

1. Think about the course material, its meaning and relationships. Observe it in the world around you.

By observing the way things move and change, you will begin to see the world differently if you are paying attention, especially if you do this in the context of the course. To learn is to question, and learning how to question is learning how to learn.

  • What makes the sun, moon, and stars go around the sky every day?
  • Which way are forces acting when you are in motion in a car or a bus?
  • What is the effect of those forces?
  • How do you know where something will land when you throw it?
  • How do your judge whether or not you have time to cross the street, or make the left turn in front of the oncoming traffic?
  • Why do you get more tired when walking uphill?
  • Why does your car keep moving even when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal?

These and other questions are related to the physical world and the laws that describe it and they are the kinds of questions which people have been asking for thousands of years because we are a curious species.

2. Approach each lesson with curiosity and the anticipation of discovery.

Curiosity is an important part of learning. There is something interesting in every program, and we have tried to make it interesting enough to keep you on your toes. Occasionally we'll hit you with something different, just to see if you're paying attention.

3. Organize the material in your mind as you read and listen to the video.

The study guide will help you to organize the information. Pay close attention to the learning outcomes and questions for each lesson in the study guide and try to relate your study to them. Ask yourself how a particular topic relates to the learning outcomes of the whole course and to the learning outcomes for that lesson.

4. Study

Use the study guide. Follow the online links. Print out the study guide and have it when you watch TV. Communicate with other students and with the instructor. Write, write, write. Find reference materials, review program notes and compare them with the texts. Read on your own.

Look at science magazines like "Discover", "Popular Science", "Scientific American", and others. Compare the information in the study guide with the two texts. Do they agree on every detail? If there are different explanations given, are they equivalent? Do they all say the same thing about the basic physical laws?

5. Submit material on time.

Late work will not be accepted except in unusual circumstances.. All exams must be taken to receive a grade and credit for the course. No grade will be given without completion of ten program responses,at least three laboratory quizzes and one report, all four exams and the research paper. See details in the section entitled "course requirements" later in this syllabus. No one will be penalized for technological breakdowns, but continuing technological problems may impact on learning.

6. Write, write, write, then write some more.

It is your responsibility to demonstrate your comprehension. Although you will not be graded on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc., work submitted with many errors, or sloppily written will be graded appropriately to the extent that interferes with communication of the ideas. Writing about a subject is the best way to learn about it. Writing helps us to think clearly and logically. See the section, "writing" below.

7. Take an interest in the class and care about it.

Many times we learn things that do not seem important at the time but become useful later. Although you may not remember specific facts and formulas from this course years from now, there will be things that stick with you. The true value of this course will be measured throughout your life by the number of times those things pop up. We don't know what those things will be, and neither do you.

If you have the attitude that you are only here because you have to be then you will probably learn very little. If you try to memorize facts and principles then you will learn very little. With only a little effort you will find something in every lesson that is relevant to you life in some way or another.

This is what learning is really about, not the facts, not the names and dates. It is a way of thinking, a way of organizing information, a way of seeing the world. It is the way it affects you after the fact, next year, ten years from now, and for the rest of your life

One way you demonstrate your interest and caring is to submit materials which are thoughtfully prepared and presented.

8. Look for recurring ideas and themes.

We elaborate on some of these in Program 1, but there are others. Look for them. We're sure there are patterns which we are not aware of. We hope you can find some.


Academic Honesty

All students will be required to certify awareness, understanding and compliance with the University of Hawaii policy on dishonesty. The penalties can be severe, from getting an "F" grade to permanent dismissal from the university.

Here is what the student conduct code says about academic dishonesty

"1. CHEATING includes, but is not limited to, giving or receiving unauthorized assistance during an examination; obtaining or distributing unauthorized information about an examination before it is given; using inappropriate or unallowable sources of information during an examination; falsifying data in experiments and other research; altering the record of any grade; altering answers after an examination has been submitted; falsifying any official University record; or misrepresenting the facts in order to obtain exemptions from course requirements.

2. PLAGIARISM includes, but is not limited to, submitting, in fulfillment of an academic requirement, any document that has been copied in whole or in part from another individual's work without attributing that borrowed portion to the individual; neglecting to identify as a quotation another's idea and particular phrasing that was not assimilated into the student's language and style or paraphrasing a passage so that the reader is misled as to the source; submitting the same written or oral material in more than one course without obtaining authorization from the instructors involved; or dry labbing, which includes obtaining and using experimental data and laboratory write-ups from other sections of the course or from previous terms or fabricating data to fit the desired or expected results."

 You can download the entire Student Conduct Code in pdf format.

Plagiarism is when you take the writing from another source and present it as your words or your analysis. This is cheating. If you plagiarize your written work from the readings, from another source, or another student, you will get an automatic zero (0) for that assignment, and face the possibility of failing the course, depending on the severity of the cheating.

Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty. It means to pass off the ideas or words of another as your own. When you use something that is not your own idea, or your own words you can always be safe by referring to the original.Usually it is enough to merely mention the source. A direct quote should include the source and a page number. This is a courtesy to the original author, but it also allows the reader to find the source and to read it in the original form.

When you use outside references you must indicate the source, for example: "The Grolier's encyclopedia says, " ..............", or the textbook says "................", but I think ....

If you do not reference outside sources, it might be construed as plagiarism and you may be subject to disciplinary action as a result. It is best to be careful and to be clear on what constitutes plagiarism. This, along with other information is in the Student Conduct Code of the University of Hawaii. We are all subject to these 'laws' and are expected to follow them like any other laws.

All written work that you do must be your work, expressed in your words - reflecting your thinking, your interpretation and understanding of course concepts.

It is easy for me to catch students who plagiarize., allows teachers to simply type in phrases from student papers and often find the exact source of the plagiarism, but instructors also have access to that keeps a data base of thousands of student papers and has additional search techniques to identify copying. Regrettably, at least once a year a student will receive an F in one of my courses due to plagiarism.

You must demonstrate that you can put your understanding of course concepts into your words. Otherwise it is plagiarism, and you will not receive points for the assignment. In addition to being a type of stealing, you don't learn anything and you certainly don't exercise your brain or your communication skills by cutting and pasting other people's work.

It is also easy for me to catch students who cheat on exams. Cheating on an exam is when you discuss an exam questions with another student or directly get an answer to a question from another student. There are several methods embedded in the online exams that will expose cheating, although the exams are taken at home and are open book.

If there is any part of this that you don't understand, please contact me to discuss it. Otherwise return the certification that was sent to you at beginning of the semester, or is available in the Announcement on Laulima, entitled "Hello and Welcome".


Independent Study

Opportunities abound for each student in this course to tailor the learning experience to his or her own strengths. The instructor is here to guide you through the course, but the learning has to come from you, the student. Learning is an activity, it cannot be done passively, you cannot learn simply by watching.

We expect students to learn how to learn on their own. We expect that each student will take responsibility for his or her own learning. We expect that each student will progress toward the course goals and toward individual goals whatever they may be. As noted above you can not expect to learn merely by watching TV. Learning requires work and effort, and like physical conditioning you can't expect to get more out of it than you put into it.

Unity in Cumulative Understanding

There is unity in the universe and also in The Nature of Physical Science.Nature has very few rules considering its complexity. Certain laws pervade all matter and energy: Gravity, electricity, magnetism, heat, etc. Everything we see and do is in some way tied to these laws. We call them laws because they cannot be broken. Laws of nature are not as forgiving as courts of law. Gravity always wins and nature always bats last.

The "A" student will not forget the material once it is comprehended, and will integrate that comprehension with topics later in the course. It is the nature of physical science that there are many ideas and connections that run through it like a thread. The more those are understood and acknowledged, the more the student demonstrates his or her comprehension.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a learned way of thinking about thinking. Each student will be expected to begin to think critically, and to synthesize information from several sources into a coherent and unique perspective on the course and its relevance to their own lives. Accordingly, the "A" student will demonstrate how well he or she has integrated the course material with the goals, themes, and learning outcomes, with previous course material, and with the world outside the classroom. It will serve you well to remember that it is not the facts that are important, it is the significance and the context of the facts. See the "Critical Thinking" section on the 'message' page.


This is a four semester hour course. Three hours is lecture/discussion and one hour is laboratory. So the lecture/discussion counts 75% and the lab (which you do at home) counts 25%. That means that you should expect to put in about 6 hours per week in addition to the TV programs for the "lecture" and about 6 hours for each lab. It may take longer for some and less for others. Different people learn at different rates, so it may take you more or less time than average. This formula (1 hour iof TVs, 2 hours additional self-study per program,, 3 hours per lab) is an age-old formula and is the basis for college credit.

Here is a document that shows how the time for this course compares with hours spent in a classroom course.

You should expect to spend about 12 hours per week reading, writing, studying and performing lab experiments. This is in addition to the time spent watching the programs. If you find that you are doing well with less study time, that's good. But if you find you are not doing well as you would like, then you will have to either spend more time or learn to study more effectively.

The requirements for this course fall into four equally weighted areas. They are designed so that a poor grade on any one assignment will not hurt your final course grade, nor will a single good grade help it much.

To get a good grade you will have to consistently submit quality work, although an occasional lapse will not be entirely detrimental.

Grades are based on, Exams, Labs,, and a Virtual Field Trip report. The program responses that the TV program talks about are not required this semester,

Here is the point breakdown:The TV lecture portion of the course is 75% of the course grade, 900 points. The lab is 25% of the course grade, 300 points,

Exams (4@225 points --900 points total)

Exams are available to registered students on Laulima in the "Tests, Tasks, and Surveys" tab to be completed by the dates shown on the 'events' page..

Virtual Field Trip (0 points)

This report is no longer required. The only written report required is for lab 1. See the labs page and below for details.

Here are some links to guidelines for writing reports.

Program Responses (0 points)

These written assignments will not be required this semester. Ignore what the man on the TV tells you about this.

LABS (6 @ 50 points, -- 300 points total)

The laboratory is an integral part of the course and accounts for one of the four credits. Since the lab is integrated with the course you can not pass the course unless the minimum lab requirements are met. The TV portion of the course does not include the labs and the requirements for that portion account for three of the four credits.

Labs 1, 3, 5, and 6 are mandatory. They must be completed by all students in order to get credit for the course regardless of total points earned otherwise. The lab grade is based on 300 total points for all 6 labs.

There are six laboratory exercises, all designed to be done at home. Grading for each lab is your score on a lab quiz to be taken only after completing the lab exercises.

Student learning outcomes for the lab are stated at the beginning of each lab exercise. Read them and keep them in mind while completing the exercise.

The grade for each lab is based entirely on the score on a quiz, with the exception of lab 1, which requires a written report. The lab t quizzes will assess how well each student mastered the content of the lab achieved the learning outcomes for the lab.

The lab page lists the labs and the due dates. You will also find a link to a brief description of each lab on that page.

Each lab involves an exercise that may include calculations and drawing graphs. Most calculations involve only multiplication and division. The most complicated calculations will involve the use of a 'formula' that may contain a square root. You should know the 'order of operations' used in elementary math. If you do not know this contact the instructor, or search online (use 'Google and search "order of operations').

For each lab you should complete the following:

  • Data Tables
  • Calculations (if any)
  • Graphs/Illustrations (if any)
  • Answers to Questions
  • Brief Analysis and Summary (What did you learn?)

Lab exercises must be uploaded to each students' Drop Box on Laulima. Lab points will not be awarded unless the corresponding exercise is present in the Drop Box.

Lab quizzes will be available on the "Tasks, Tests, and Surveys" tab on Laulima  before the due date and will remain open until the last day of classes..

Lab 1 (Astronomy) is a written report due at the end of the semester. Read the options carefully on the lab 1 page.

Lab 1 requires a written report on either a field trip (online or in person), or astronomical observations. There are several options, some of which may involve observations throughout the course. Look at it now and plan ahead. Do not wait until the last minute to begin.

The grade for the lab 1 report will be based on the length and quality of the report and the information it conveys with lesser emphasis on the 'correctness' of the information it contains. Be sure to read the information about the lab report. There are many online resources that contain information about writing different kinds of reports. The style of the report is your choice but it should be appropriate for the subject. For example a field trip to the Bishop Museum science center will use a different repor style from one that measures the location of the sun. You may find printed resources useful. The librarian can help you locate printed resources.The standard report is 1000 words in length.

A scientific report differs from other reports it that it may contain numerical data, but also must include a description about what was done, how it was done, the results, and a discussion of the results. It should be clear enough and complete enough that someone who is not familiar with the exercise to follow it and to reproduce it exactly the way it was done. It is a narrative that reports who, what, when, why, and how. It will include tables of data, graphs, calculations, an introduction and a conclusion.

A field trip report should describe your visit in the same way whether you visit a live or a virtual site, and should occupy approximately the same amount of time as any of the other labs. A quick look at a web site will not likely result in a good report.

Laboratory Exercises (Labs 2 - 6)

For the other labs you will need a metric ruler, a calculator and a stopwatch. A digital watch with a stopwatch will be sufficient. The calculator that comes with most computer operating systems will be fine if it will calculate square roots. Together a calculator and stopwatch will cost under $25.

You will also need a long (4 ft or so, or about 1 meter) board or piece of sturdy cardboard and an empty can.

Lab exercises are online. The lab page has links to the labs and a brief description of each lab.. The exercises will ask you to set up an experiment, make observations, collect data, do calculations with that data, organize it into tables and graphs, and analyze it. Every exercise does not require all of these skills, but you will have done them all by the end.of the course.

Each exercise may require  six hours to complete. The total time spent on the lab is about the same as you would spend in a lab in the classroom. (Here is the link to the page about credit hours and time, in case you forgot.)

With the exception of lab 1 the grade on each lab exercise will be determined by the score on the lab quiz.

Lab quizzes are accessible through the "Tasks, Tests, and Surveys" tab on Laulima.

Lab 1 requires a 'formal' lab report. See below for more information.

The formal lab report required for lab 1 communicates who did it, what was done, why it was done, how it was done, what was observed or recorded, an analysis, and a conclusion. A lab report will be graded on the basis of how well it communicates this information. Here is more information on the lab report.


Final grades will be determined as shown on the grading spectrum below.

 The Grading Spectrum

Grade Spectrum

Course Grade

Final course grades will be determined by the total number of points earned on all assignments. The breakdown for each type of assignment is as follows:

Total Points 1200: Lecture 900 (75%) Lab 300 (25%)

4 Exams @ 225 points

900 points (75%) 

6 laboratory quizzes @ 50 points

300 points (25%)

The minimum work required to earn a grade for the course is:

  • four exams
  • three laboratory quizzes (lab 1, 3, 5, 6)
  • one written lab report (lab 1)


Click here to see the current schedule.

  Science 122 Syllabus and all course materials 1996 - 204 by RCBrill. All rights reserved