Honors Physics


Contact Info

Web site: http://naperville.instructure.com/

Email: gschmit@naperville203.org

Office: 150; Classroom: 143

Available: before school, 4 (lunch)


Models / Units

1st Semester

Scientific Thinking and Tools

Constant Velocity Particle Model

Balanced Forces Particle Model

Constant Acceleration Particle Model

Unbalanced Forces Particle Model

Projectile Motion Particle Model

Energy Transfer Model

Momentum Transfer Model

Momentum Transfer and Energy Transfer Model

2nd Semester

Central Force Particle Model

Rotational Motion

Oscillating Particle Model

Mechanical Wave Model

Charged Particle Model



The Details...

Instructor: Mr. Schmit

I graduated from Case Western Reserve University with my Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science in computer engineering. I earned my Masters in Teaching from National-Louis University. I have worked for 11 years as a software engineer. This is my seventh year teaching full-time. I love inspiring students about science, technology, and engineering.


The purpose of this course is to contribute to the achievement of the District’s Mission, which is to educate students to be self-directed learners, collaborative workers, complex thinkers, quality producers and community contributors; and to master the standards that comprise this physics course. To achieve this, you will develop a conceptual understanding of our physical world. You will learn how to think critically, solve challenging problems, and reflect on your understandings. Through this process you will become better prepared for the structure of college classes and the expectations placed on professionals in the workplace. This is a demanding course designed for college-bound students interested in science and, potentially but not necessarily, planning a career in science or engineering. We use a college text, but move at a slower pace than a college course. This course is the equivalent of a one-semester algebra-based college physics course. This class will prepare you well for the AP Physics classes.

Learning Activities and Summative Assessments

You develop understanding of the learning standards for this physics course by completing a variety of learning activities such as homework reading, questions, and problems; peer instruction; whiteboarding in groups; quizzes; and lab activities. While these activities don’t directly affect your grade, they are essential in that they are your opportunity to explore, discover, take risks, make mistakes, ask questions, help each other, practice, and get feedback before having to demonstrate your understanding. You demonstrate your understanding through summative exams at the end of the unit and labs throughout the unit. Your grade directly reflects your demonstration of your understanding.

  1. Homework Reading, Questions, and Problems. Homework reading, questions, and problems will be assigned daily in class. Homework is a learning activity – an opportunity to develop understanding. Your homework problem solutions should be complete, detailed, and well organized (e.g., diagram, givens, unknowns, graphs, equations, substitution, answer with units).
  2. Whiteboarding. Whiteboarding consists of small groups preparing on a whiteboard their solution to a previously assigned homework problem that they sign up for on the front board. The questions that are asked, debated, and answered during the discussion is critical to the learning of the class. There is not time in class to figure out how to solve your group’s problem; so, it is essential that you have at least made a valid attempt at solving these problems before class.
  3. Peer Instruction:Peer instruction is a process in which the instructor present a conceptual instruction. Students individually submit their answer to the question. The instructor then displays the percentage of students who reported each possible answer and students then discuss, debate, and defend their answers to each other. Students then resubmit their answer to the question, which may have changed. The instructor then presents and explains the correct answer.
  4. Lecture, Demonstrations, and Packets: At times, I will introduce new concepts by presenting the new material with a lecture or demonstration. There are packets for each unit. Sometimes, I will model how to solve problems by leading the class through a problem in the packet. Other times, you will work in your group to solve problems in the packet.Lab Activities. At times, you will explore new concepts in a lab activity and we will discuss our observations and results after the activity. You will develop understanding of many learning standards through these activities and associated notes in your lab notebook. This is an excellent opportunity to practice and receive feedback on your understanding.
  5. Quizzes. You will take a quiz for each unit to help you assess your understanding of the more challenging standards.
  6. Lab Practicums and Lab Reports. You will demonstrate understanding of some learning standards through the completion of lab practicums and lab reports. In general, you will complete one lab practicum or report for each unit.
  7. Summative Exam. You will demonstrate your understanding of most learning standards through summative exams. Summative exams are free-response problems that assess multiple learning standards. You are allowed to use a calculator, table of information, and equation sheet. You must show all your work to earn credit. Your work, rather than the final answer, demonstrates your understanding. That is, you can demonstrate almost complete understanding of a learning standard even though you obtained the wrong answer if you have the correct process. Similarly, you cannot demonstrate understanding if your process is incorrect even though your final answer is correct.
  8. Reassessments. If you are still developing your understanding after the summative exam (score of 1, 2, or 3 on a standard), you may, at my discretion, have another opportunity to demonstrate your understanding. Please note that reassessments are designed to be at least as challenging as the summative exam. Before you attempt a reassessment, you must complete additional practice to prepare. At a minimum, you are required to complete analysis of your quiz. The maximum score on a reassessment is a 4. Usually, reassessments are not available for lab practicums.
  9. Final Exam. Your final opportunity to demonstrate your understanding is on the final exam. If you demonstrate deeper understanding for a B-level learning standard on the free response portion of the final exam, the score for that standard during the semester will be updated.


Learning activities and summative assessments are enumerated on the standards handout for each unit. Class resources are posted to Canvas. Please feel free to visit me in my office or classrooms when I don’t have class. If you let me know in advance that you are coming, I will ensure that I’m there. If you can’t arrange to talk with me in person and you don’t wish to post your question on Canvas, e-mail is an excellent way to reach me. I will respond the same night to all messages that are received by 9 p.m.

Class Expectations

Academic Integrity


Grading is done on an individual basis, you are not competing with your classmates. Each standard on a summative assessment is scored on a 1-5 scale:

5: Clear and complete understanding is demonstrated (calculation error may be allowed if you still demonstrate mastery of the concepts and setup)

4: Significant understanding demonstrated but a minor aspect of the solution is incorrect or unclear

3: Partial understanding is demonstrated. Key aspect(s) of solution are missing or solution reveals a lack of depth of understanding.

2: Little understanding is demonstrated. The solution contains a major misconception(s) of a key concept.

1: No demonstration of understanding

This scale is converted to percentages as reported in Infinite Campus. A 5 corresponds to a 100%; a 4, 87%; a 3, 75%, a 2, 63%; a 1, 50%. The summative assessments are weighted to comprise the overall grade per unit: Labs (if applicable): 20%; Unit Exams: 80%. “B” level standards, which are more complex and comprehensive, are weighted twice as much as “A” level standards.

The units are weighted to comprise the overall coursework grade:

Fall: Scientific Thinking and Tools: 4%; Constant Velocity Particle Model: 10%; Balanced Forces Particle Model: 14%; Constant Acceleration Particle Model: 14%; Unbalanced Forces Particle Model: 14%; Projectile Motion Particle Model: 8%; Energy Transfer Model: 14%; Momentum Transfer Model: 14%; Momentum Transfer and Energy Transfer: 8%

Spring: Central Force Particle Model: 15%; Rotational Motion: 15%; Oscillating Particle Model: 15%; Mechanical Wave Model: 15%; Charged Particle Model: 15%; Circuits: 15%; Capstone: 10%

The semester grade is determined by a combination of the coursework grade (85%) and the final exam (15%).

The semester grade is determined by percentage:

A: 100% - 90%     B: < 90% - 80%     C: < 80% - 70%     D: < 70% - 60%             F: < 60% - 0%

Any questions about grades will be address outside of class. Please keep all graded materials. The most current grade that I have for you is available on the school website. Grades of A, B, and C are counted as weighted grades.