PHYS 211 :: Physics Illinois :: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Course Description

Introduction to Classical Mechanics

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

Prerequisite: Credit or concurrent registration in MATH 231.

Physics 211 is a calculus-based approach to classical mechanics. Classical mechanics is the study of the laws describing forces and motion. These topics are important because they form the foundation upon which most physics and engineering is built.

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.


Course participation requires the use of iClicker, an interactive audience response system. Students need to acquire one at the bookstore (new or used), and bring it to every lecture, including the first lecture.

iClicker Registration

Students' iClickers must be registered at the beginning of every semester.

Learning Strategy

To effectively learn new material, students need a wide array of experiences. Our learning philosophy is tailored to help students efficiently process problems in physics by providing the necessary experiences.

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. Challenge! (homework)
  4. Experience It! (labs)
  5. Close the Loop! (discussion)

This course covers a large amount of new material. Each concept builds on previous course concepts. Mastery of previous material is essential. This is the student's responsibility. In order to succeed the student must not fall behind!

Component Description

Think About It: Prelecture and Checkpoints

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



Untangle It: Lecture

Participation will occur as follows:

Lectures are formatted into subunits called interACTive learning segments. Each ACT includes conceptual questions and numerical problems which students will answer for participation credit. Students are invited to work in groups, ask questions of and discuss the problem or question with the lecturer during each ACT problem set.

Challenge: Homework

Homework problems are designed to:

Background for the homework is provided by working through the prelectures and checkpoints, and attending the lectures. Students should use this background as a guide to finishing the weekly homework assignments.

To start work on a homework assignment:

The web-based homework covering each week's material is due the following week. Homework is assigned and distributed within the homework system, FlipIt Physics.

Experience It: Laboratory

Students must be on time for laboratory. No credit will be granted to students arriving more than 10 minutes late for lab.

  1. A prelab exercise due at the start of each laboratory period.
  2. The laboratory exercise in which students will:
    1. set up simple experiments to investigate topics studied in class
    2. make predictions about the outcome of an experiment
    3. perform measurements of different phenomena studied in lecture
    4. analyze experimental results
    5. answer questions concerning the results and predictions.
  3. A laboratory write-up which will be completed during the session and turned in at the end of the lab session.

The weekly lab cycle (see course schedule) is designed to provide the opportunity to experience the concepts developed in lecture. The laboratory portion of this course will consist of nine (9) 2-hour laboratories, each involving a series of activities:

Close the Loop: Discussion

Weekly two (2) hour discussion sections are required. Students select a discussion section during registration. Quizzes will be administered during the discussion section according to the course schedule.

Each discussion session will consist of the following:

Each student is expected to:


Also there will be open office hours every week to give students one-on-one assistance if they need more help. Do not be bashful about taking advantage of these!

Academic Integrity

All activities in this course are subject to the Academic Integrity rules as described in Article 1, Part 4, Academic Integrity, of the Student Code.

Infractions include, but are not limited to:

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

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