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### Introduction

An energy-themed Physics First was developed in 2016, revised in 2018, and revised again in 2022. This set of materials, aligned with NGSS and SEPs, includes a transition to chemistry and is recommended by AMTA for a Physics-Chemistry-Biology sequence.

After completion of the initial five units, there are five additional units that can be selected to customize the direction of Physics First.

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### Sequencing

#### Unit 1: Qualitative Energy

The course starts with a qualitative exploration of system identification and change, emphasizing energy as the key driver of change. Students learn how energy is stored in systems and transferred between systems and surroundings. They develop skills in selecting and representing systems, energy flow, and storage, which are applied throughout the course. Additionally, students engage in an engineering design project by building efficient wind turbines, connecting energy concepts to real-world applications

**Unit 2: Constant Velocity **

From their observations of the motion of simple objects, students learn to relate verbal, diagrammatic, algebraic and graphical representations of system moving with constant velocity. System motion is further related to changes and a value of energy. They learn that the slope and intercept of a linear relationship have physical meaning and to distinguish displacement from distance and velocity from speed. They also learn that momentum is a conserved quantity in an isolated system.

#### Unit 3: Uniform Acceleration

Students analyze the motion of simple objects to connect verbal, diagrammatic, algebraic, and graphical representations of systems moving at constant velocity. They explore how system motion relates to energy changes and interpret the physical meaning of slope and intercept in linear relationships. Additionally, students distinguish between displacement and distance, velocity and speed, and learn that momentum is conserved in isolated systems.

#### Unit 4: Introduction to Forces

After exploring descriptive models of motion in Units 2 and 3, students progress to causal models through the study of dynamics. They learn that changes in motion result from interactions between an agent and an object, quantified by the concept of force. Students deepen their understanding of systems by using force diagrams to represent objects in equilibrium, reinforcing Newton’s 1st Law.

#### Unit 5: More About forces

Students expand their understanding of systems to include objects undergoing acceleration. Through experiments, they explore Newton’s 2nd and 3rd Laws, learning that a net external force causes changes in momentum. They apply these concepts in real-world scenarios (e.g., elevators, friction). Additionally, gravitational and electromagnetic fields are introduced as energy storage mechanisms, and the concept of energy transfer through work is further developed.

#### Select any or all of the next five units

After completing the first five units of *Physics First Modeling Instruction*, teachers/ school districts can choose the direction in which they continue. The next steps depend on the selection and number of additional units chosen from the following options: Quantitative Models of Energy Storage & Transfer, Energy and States of Matter, Describing Substances, Energy & Chemical Change, and/or Energy and Waves Phenomena

#### Unit 6: Quantitative Models of Energy Storage & Transfer

Building on their initial exploration of energy, students in Unit 6 focus on solving quantitative problems using the principle of energy conservation. They learn that while energy is conserved, not all forms are equally useful for transfer. Students analyze energy transfers through radiation and work, use energy bar charts to represent system states, and develop equations for various energy storage modes. They solve problems involving gravitational, kinetic, elastic, and thermal energy, as well as power and mechanical efficiency. Students also refine their wind turbine designs, measuring and improving performance.

#### Unit 7: Energy & States of Matter

This unit extends the particle model to describe the behavior of collections of sub-microscopic particles. Students explore the random thermal motion of particles and phase changes in terms of energy storage and transfer. They quantify energy transfers during temperature and phase changes using conversion factors like heat of vaporization, fusion, and heat capacity. Additionally, students begin a new engineering design project focused on energy and systems by developing solar cookers.

#### Unit 8: Describing Substances

The simple particle model used to describe substances is expanded to include mixtures and compounds. Students use Avogadro’s Hypothesis and combining volume data to predict formulas of gaseous compounds. From experimental mass composition data they learn to determine the formulas of solid compounds. Structure of matter is related to energy in systems.

#### Unit 9: Energy & Chemical Change

In this unit, students expand their understanding of matter as bonded atoms that rearrange during chemical reactions to form new substances. They use balanced chemical equations to represent these rearrangements. From their observations, they learn to represent energy exchanges between thermal and chemical energy within a system and the transfer of thermal energy to surroundings. Students continue the engineering design process by quantifying the energy needed to heat water and designing improvements.

#### Unit 10: Energy & Waves Phenomena

In this unit, students explore radiating as an energy transfer mechanism, using transverse waves to model electromagnetic waves emitted or absorbed by a system. They study wave characteristics—amplitude, frequency, and wavelength—for both mechanical and electromagnetic waves. This knowledge culminates in the final phase of their solar oven building project.

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### Sample Materials

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### Interested in a Physics First Workshop?

Workshops are offered each summer in a variety of locations. Check back often as workshops are always being added.

First-time attendees qualify for a free one-year membership to AMTA. Members have access to ALL instructional resources, webinars, distance learning courses, and other membership services!

If you would like to host a workshop contact: engage@modelinginstruction.org