Sample Syllabus

This is an OLD syllabus intended to give prospective students and administrators at other institutions an idea of what the course looks like. If you are currently enrolled, go to to see the syllabus for this semester.

Welcome to Physical Science 100. This is a general science course intended to help you gain an appreciation for how science is done and a conceptual understanding of many of the fundamental scientific ideas on which modern scientific theory is based.


The objectives that we try to achieve in this course are:

  1. Apply Physical Principles
    Students will be able to recognize and apply the fundamental principles presented in this course to simple physical situations.
  2. Express Scientific Ideas
    Students will be able to express their thoughts (in oral, graphical, and written formats) on scientific topics clearly, including appropriate use of basic scientific vocabulary and effective interpretation of quantitative data.
  3. Scientific Observations
    Students will be able to explain how scientific observations led to the development of these few principles and the models built on them.
  4. Further Scientific Questions
    Students will be able to explain how these principles and models in turn lead to further scientific questions.
  5. Science and Religion
    Students will be able to reflect rationally upon the interface between science and religion.
  6. Issues of Public Policy
    Students will be able to evaluate scientific data and claims in order to make rational decisions on public policy issues that affect their community.

We believe that a study of the natural universe can increase faith in our Heavenly Father and the Savior, who organized the earth and heavens as a part of the plan that makes it possible for us to gain immortality and eternal life.

Course Basics

Text: Our text, Physical Science Foundation (edition 4.0), is available in the bookstore. We will discuss one chapter from the book each class session, and you should read that chapter before coming to class. You can find the reading assignments for each day listed on the class schedule page.

Class Sessions: During class, your instructor will use demonstrations and discussion to help illustrate ideas from the assigned reading. You will also have short in-class quizzes to help you stay engaged and learning. You will respond to the quizzes using an electronic clicker, and everyone needs to have their own clicker (available at the bookstore) to receive credit for the quizzes.

Homework: Each week you have a homework assignment. Homework assignments consist of short written responses, hands-on experiments, or vocabulary review quizzes. Assignment are listed on the homework assignments page and the deadline for submission is 5:00pm on the days listed on the class schedule (usually on Fridays).

TA Review Sessions: You have a scheduled review session with a teaching assistant (TA) each week. Your TA can give you personalized help understanding concepts and completing homework assignments. Your TA grades the homework and can answer questions about course policy and material.

Exams: There are four midterm exams and a comprehensive final exam. See the class schedule for exam dates and the Exams Section for details on how and why the exams are administered.

Walk-in Lab: Several teaching assistants (TAs) are available in a walk-in lab located in room N252 of the Eyring Science Center to help with individual questions about course material or policies. See the Walk-in Lab Schedule for hours of operation. No appointments are necessary. The walk-in lab will be closed during reading days and the final exam period.




# Counted


All quizzes


best 30

Due each class



best 33

Due each week

Midterm Exams


4 (all counted)

Due about every month

Final Exam


1 (always included)

The final grades will be assigned according the following scale:




90% or above









C +













Below 50%

If your percentage score on the final exam is higher than your total percent score (including quizzes, homework, etc.), your grade will be based solely on the final exam score. For example, if you score 90% or above on the final, you will receive an A, even if your percentage including homework, etc. is less than 90%. If you take the exemption exam, you can also choose to use your score from the exemption exam as your course grade. The exemption exam needs to be taken before the drop deadline. See the Exemption Exam Page for details.


Description: All sections have in-class iClicker quizzes. Some sections also have pre-class, online, warm-up quizzes.

  • During class you will answer questions about the assigned material for that day, listed on the class schedule. The answers to these quizzes are submitted using an RF response device (clicker), which can be obtained from the bookstore. The clicker is your personal property. If you lose or break your clicker you will have to buy a new one. It is up to you to check your grades regularly and make sure it is functioning. If you go a few weeks without noticing your batteries are dead and replacing them, you will loose points!
  • Some sections also have pre-class online quizzes. These quizzes are due before class starts so that the professor has time to adjust his slides to reflect the results of the quiz.

Purpose: These quizzes provided added incentive for good study habits by giving you credit for doing your reading before class. They also provide your instructor with a quick way to judge whether the class has understood an important point and is ready to move on.

Format: Your teacher will include interactive questions in their lectures and you will respond to these questions using your clicker. Some questions are graded for correct responses and others strictly on participation. The status light on your clicker turns green when your answer has been recorded. If it turns red, you need to respond again. The combined value of in-class and online daily quizzes is 2 points per day.

Clicker Registration: To have your clicker's responses associated with you, you need to register you clicker. If you cannot read your clicker's ID number, contact a TA in the walk-in lab and they can determine the ID number electronically. You can use your clicker before it is registered and we will associate your clicker's responses with you after you register.
No make-up work is accepted, we drop several scores. If you find yourself in a situation that you feel warrants special consideration, please discuss this with your instructor .


Description: You are expected to turn in written answers to the homework questions and experiments each week. Homework responses should be discussed with your study group during the time allocated in your TA recitation section. Some assignments indicate that they may be turned in as a group, but unless otherwise indicated, assignments should be turned in individually.

Purpose: Homework is designed to require students to think through and apply the main concepts of the chapters and discuss these concepts with other students. These assignments give you an opportunity to apply some of the more difficult concepts and receive feedback from TAs before you are tested on the material.

Format: Vocabulary quizzes are done online. All other answers are to be neatly written or typed on an 8½" x 11" piece of paper. Do NOT email assignments. If you have obtained permission to work with students outside your own section, you are responsible to make sure that your TA receives a copy of your work. Make sure you write your section number, your TA’s name, your name, and your BYU ID on top of the assignment so you can receive credit for your work.

Grading: Homework questions will be graded on a 4 point scale. You will be graded primarily on the correctness and completeness of your answers, but neatness, grammar and spelling can also affect your grade. Graded questions can be picked up in your recitation sections or in the walk-in TA lab. We will count the highest 33 homework scores.

Due Dates: Homework is due in to your TA's box in room N252 ESC by 5:00 PM on the due date (usually Friday). No late work is accepted. If you miss your lab, you should come to N252ESC and complete the work before the due date. If you find yourself in a situation that you feel warrants special consideration, please discuss this with your instructor and TA.


Description: The exams are designed to test your ability to apply science concepts. The exams contain multiple choice questions requiring you to use your knowledge of science to analyze physical situations. Midterm exams also contain essay questions that require you to provide more extended analysis of scientific concepts.

Purpose: These tests are intended to evaluate your knowledge and understanding of the course material.

Format: The midterm exams are 30 question multiple choice questions and two essay questions. You will be able to pick one out of four essay questions, the other is typically assigned from the reading for the discretionary time. The final exam is 100 multiple choice questions, 25 from each unit. The deadlines for the exams are listed on the class schedule.

Exams are given in the Testing Center (Grant Building) and you will need a pencil and a picture ID (preferably your BYU activity card) to take the exams. The testing center hours are available on the testing center's web page. A student who gets to the Testing Center line after the "last test distributed" time on the last day of a test will not be allowed to take the test. The Testing Center is generally less crowded before the last day and during morning hours.

All exams are subject to the following rules.

  1. Exams are closed book and closed notes. You are not allowed aids of any kind, with the exception of a foreign language dictionary for those whose native language is not English. (A Periodic Chart will be provided when needed.)
  2. The exam questions are confidential and are not to be discussed with anyone, other than the class instructors or assistants, at any time.

Grading: Multiple choice questions are worth 1 point each. There is no penalty for guessing. On midterms, you will choose among several essay questions and answer one. An essay question is worth 5 points.

Reviewing Exams: You may review a copy of the exam with a teaching assistant in N252 ESC before the next exam. The deadlines for reviewing exams 1, 2, and 3 are the same as the deadlines for taking exams 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Exam 4 may only be reviewed on the last day of the semester or term.