HONORS PHYSICS SUMMER ASSIGNMENT INFORMATION
Welcome to Honors Physics! I am looking forward to seeing you all in the fall and
introducing you to the wonders of physics. We will have a full year ahead of us, so to
get us off on the right foot, I am going to need you to complete two assignments over
1) A Reading Assignment: You will read the introduction and first chapter of
the book Five Equations that Changed the World by Michael Guillen and write
a summary of what you read.
2) A Textbook Assignment: You will work your way through some basic math
review work in our textbook to prepare yourselves for the first day of class.
It is critical that you complete these two assignments by the first day of school. I will be
collecting your work that day, and we will be discussing what you have done. We need
to hit the ground running if we are going to accomplish everything we should this year.
But don’t worry – I don’t think you will find the assignments too extreme. The reading
assignment comes from a book that is easy to read, and the textbook assignment
should be fairly simple review work for the most part.
I have included more detailed information on the pages following this one. You can also
find all the information about the summer homework on the honors physics page of my
website, http://staffweb.brownsburg.k12.in.us/~mariaward/. If you cannot get the
information from the website, please contact the guidance office to get the information
In addition to the information on the website, you will also need a copy of our textbook
and a copy of Five Equations that Changed the World. You can get both of these books
from me, from your Chemisty teacher, or from the guidance office if you have not
obtained them before the end of the school year. You can also get the textbook on CD-
ROM, if you would prefer. You should know that I only have a limited quantity of the
Five Equations books, so if I run out you will have to get your own copy.
Please let me know if you have any
questions or concerns. My e-mail
Have a great summer, and I will see you
Ms. M. Ward
HONORS PHYSICS SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT
Welcome to Honors Physics 1! I have very high expectations set for you this year. It will take some hard
work and dedication, but I’m sure you will meet and exceed all those expectations. The very fact that you
have chosen to participate in an Honors science class speaks to your love of and interest in science. If
you couple that interest with some effort and work, we will have a wonderfully successful year.
Even though you and I will not actually get to meet until the fall, you will begin your exploration of physics
this summer. You will need to complete some reading about one of the great classical physicists, Sir
Isaac Newton, and then write some responses to what you have read. We will be talking Newton and his
many contributions to science throughout much of the first semester. In the selection I have chosen for
you to read, you will learn about one of his many contributions, his Law of Universal Gravitation. This one
equation completely changed the way we view the universe. You will also learn a little bit about Newton
as a person, putting a very human face on what is usually seen as the cold, unemotional face of science.
The selection I have chosen for you to read is in the book Five Equations That Changed the World: The
Power and Poetry of Mathematics, by Michael Guillen, Ph.D (1995). We are short on books this year, so
it will be first come, first serve. If I do run out, you may purchase this book on your own. You can find the
book on Amazon, or possibly in a book store. The approximate cost on Amazon is $10-14. (The ISBN
number is 0-7868-8187-9)
You need to read the Introduction (p. 1-7), and the first chapter, “Apples and Oranges: Isaac Newton and
the Universal Law of Gravity” (p. 9-63). You will find that the chapter is divided into 5 sections: a
prologue; sections called “Veni”, “Vidi”, and “Vici”; and an epilogue. After reading each assigned section,
you will need to answer the questions below in writing. Each answer should consist of at least one good
sized paragraph (no less than 5-6 sentences). Some of the answers may be longer than that if you are to
completely address the question. Use complete sentences, good grammar, and accurate spelling.
1) Introduction (p. 1-7):
Why is mathematics so important?
2) Prologue (p. 9-13):
What are some of the parts of Newton’s personality that are revealed here? What are some of
the events that helped shape him? What effects did these events have on him?
3) Veni (p. 13-25):
What led Newton to become interested in science? What were some of his scientific interests?
4) Vidi (p. 25-56):
Describe how people viewed the universe in Newton’s time (and had viewed it since Aristotle’s
How did Copernicus challenge this view? How did Galileo challenge this view? What was the
response from the religious and political establishment to each challenge?
5) Vici (p. 56-63):
Explain what Newton figured out about the force of gravity. What does his Universal Law of
Gravity really tell us?
Why was this a heretical concept in his time? What were its consequences?
6) Epilogue (p. 57-63):
What discoveries and achievements have humanity achieved by understanding this law? Why
was this law important in those discoveries and achievements?
Have your typed, double spaced responses completed by the time school begins in August. We will be
discussing them, and I will be collecting them on the first day of school.
I hope you enjoy meeting Sir Isaac Newton, and I look forward to meeting you!
Ms. M. Ward
Honors Physics Summer Textbook Assignment:
Before we start class in August, you will need to complete some review assignments
from your Physics textbook. These assignments cover math skills that you should
already have. When school begins, we will go over any questions you have regarding
this assignment. The assignment will then be collected, you will complete a couple of in
class activities to further practice these math skills, and then you will have a test over
this material before the first week of school is over.
These assignments take two forms:
Reading Guides – You are to read a certain section in your textbook and complete the
questions on the reading guide
Worksheets – You practice the math skills that you just read about.
I would suggest always doing the reading guides before you attempt the worksheets
over the same topic.
Your assignments (which are all included in the PDF file “Honors Summer Textbook
Assignment” on the Honors Physics page of my website,
http://staffweb.brownsburg.k12.in.us/~mariaward/) are as follows:
1) SI Unit/Scientific Notation Reading Guide (RG) – 2 pages
2) SI Unit/Scientific Notation Worksheet (WS) – 2 pages
3) Significant Digit RG – 1 page
4) Significant Figures WS – 2 pages
5) Solving Equations and Right Triangle Trig RG – 2 pages
6) Algebra Review WS – 2 pages
7) Right Triangle Trig WS – 2 pages
8) Graphing RG – 1 page
9) Graphing WSs – 3 pages, followed by graph paper you can use if you don’t have
These assignments are to be completed BY THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. I will be
checking them that day, so make sure you bring them with you to class that day.