PHYS 101 :: Physics Illinois :: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Course Description

College Physics:  Mechanics & Heat

Credit: Credit is not given for both PHYS 101 and either PHYS 211 or PHYS 213.

Prerequisite: Trigonometry.

Physics 101 is a non-calculus-based approach to classical mechanics and thermodynamics. Topics covered include:

Course Goals

By the end of this course the student will be able to:

Course Components

All students are required to participate in all course components. 

Credit is granted in each course component. 

All course components are subject to the Academic Integrity Policy.

Learning Strategy

Our learning philosophy is based on the idea that learning takes time. The course structure is tailored to help students take in, practice, and master physics ideas and their application.

In introductory physics, the learning philosophy of the Department of Physics can be summarized as follows:

  1. Think About It (pre-lectures and checkpoints)
  2. Untangle It (lectures)
  3. Practice (homework)
  4. Apply and Explore It (labs)
  5. Challenge and Check Progress (discussion)
  6. Close the Loop (exams)

This course covers a large amount of material:

If you are struggling or fall behind, please utilize available resources to help. For assistance with Physics concepts we recommend Office Hours and OMSA tutoring. If you are encountering other difficulties and need assistance to get back on track or get connected with campus resources, please contact the Student Assistance Center.


Component Description

Think About It: Pre-lectures and Checkpoints

Due before each lecture, these web-based assessments are designed to introduce the key ideas/concepts of the lecture. 

Assignments are due as presented in the course schedule.



Untangle It:  Lecture

Participation is required.  You must have a functional iclicker at each lecture.

The notes from each lecture will be posted on the course website.

Participation will occur as follows:

Each lecture will focus on a topic of the day as described in the course schedule

The notes from each lecture will be posted on the course website, see the links in the course schedule.

Practice: Homework

Homework is assigned and distributed through smartPhysics.  The homework is due according to the course schedule (typically on Thursdays at 8am).

You must work on the problems before, and complete them by the deadline in smartPhysics to receive full credit for the homework.

Homework problems are designed to:

Background for the homework is provided by:

The web-based homework covering each week's material is due the following week.

To start work on a homework assignment:

Apply and Explore It: Laboratory

The lab cycle (see course schedule) is designed to provide the opportunity to explore the applications and implications of the concepts developed in lecture.

The laboratory portion of this course will consist of eight (8) 3-hour laboratories.

  1. A prelab exercise due the morning of each laboratory period.
  2. The laboratory exercise in which students will:
    1. plan and set up simple experiments to investigate topics studied in class
    2. perform measurements of different phenomena studied in lecture
    3. analyze experimental results
    4. make conclusions based on their results and their understanding of the experimental system.
  3. A laboratory write-up which will be completed during the session and turned in online at the end of the lab session.

Challenge and Check Progress: Discussion

Students must be on time for discussion. Students arriving more than 10 minutes late for discussion will receive a grade of 0% on their group assignment for the day.

Each discussion session will consist of the following:


All our course staff (faculty and Teaching Assistants) are available for open office hours every week to give students one-on-one assistance. If you need help with homework, something else from class, or just want to talk about physics, come join us!

Academic Integrity

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Student Code should also be considered as a part of this syllabus. Students should pay particular attention to Article 1, Part 4: Academic Integrity. Read the Code at the following URL:

Academic dishonesty may result in a failing grade. Every student is expected to review and abide by the Academic Integrity Policy: Ignorance is not an excuse for any academic dishonesty. It is your responsibility to read this policy to avoid any misunderstanding. Do not hesitate to ask the instructor(s) if you are ever in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, cheating, or any other breach of academic integrity.

Infractions include, but are not limited to:

Violations of any of these rules will be sanctioned and reported to the student's home college.

All aspects of the course are covered by these rules, including: