Physics Unit 0: What is Physics?

This lesson is the first lesson in a 2 semester high school physics course. In this introduction to Physics, we discuss the main areas of Physics, subtopics and why Physics is important.

Warm Up {predictive}: What do you think Physics is? List at least 3 main “branches” or areas of Physics.
Class discussion – 5 minutes

Physics is the study of the tangible nature of the world in which we live. Prior to about the year 1800, Physics was called Natural Philosophy – ie. the the study of the natural world. But Physics really started in the 1500’s with Galilleo of Galillie who invented the telescope. By the late 1600’s Physics had started changing into a predictive science, where results could be predicted (educated guess) and then experiments were designed to confirm or disprove the prediction. This predictive approach is very different form the idea that we observe, hypothesize and experiment which is so much the central idea behind other science such as chemistry and biology.

Let’s start by breacking the subject of Physics in its main topics:

Physics Introduction


Mechanics: The sudy of how objects move. Mechanics includes motion, velocity and acceleration. Force and Impulse,Momentum and Torque. The field of mechanics was started by Isaac Newton – so we need to understand Newton’s 3 Laws. No Congress did not vote on thrse the California State Legislature did not create these laws.