As detailed in the previous post, I don't feel like waiting for the AP Physics B redesign. Woodberry Forest is going to begin teaching according to the principles of the proto-AP Physics 1 and 2 courses right away, beginning in 2011-12.
We're calling our first year college-level course "Honors Physics I." We're modeling the course structure on the AP program. That means we're going to commit ourselves ahead of time to a weighted topic coverage list. That means we have a course exam written which will remain locked away until mid-May, and that will not be changed on a whim. And, I'm going to arrange for *external* validation of the exam -- I've talked to a few AP readers about a possible "trade and grade," in which I grade a set of their tests or exams, and in return they grade my Honors Physics I exams to the rubric that I send them.
The course topic coverage outline for Honors Physics I can be found here via google docs -- so please forgive any formatting issues. My goal, approximately consistent with the College Board's goal for AP Physics 1, was to cover about 60% of the current AP Physics B curriculum. Please remember -- this outline is NOT necessarily related to what the College Board has in development for AP Physics 1. Nothing about AP Physics 1 topics that has been officially released, because even the people in charge of the redesign have not settled on a final distribution of topics. My outline represents what I would do if I were solely in charge of the redesign.
The quick rundown of the six content areas I've included:
Mechanics (40%): Pretty much everything on AP B mechanics, except torque.
Fluids (10%): Static fluids only, i.e. static pressure and buoyant forces.
Thermal Physics (15%): PV diagrams, the ideal gas law, and the first law of thermodynamics.
E&M (15%): Forces due to fields, but NOT the source of E or B fields. Basic DC circuits.
Waves (10%): Basic properties; sound & light; Snell's law; but not standing waves or optics.
Nuclear Physics (10%): Definitions of particles, conservation laws, mass-energy equivalence.
Also in the linked course description you'll see the exam format. I've made the exam two hours, so as to fit better into my exam periods. It's in three sections, but without formal separation; all sections can be worked on at will during the two hours. Calculators, a constant sheet, and an abbreviated equation sheet will be accessible during all sections. (Why? That makes administration easier. And the calculator won't really help much on the multiple choice, anyway.)
My major divergence from the current AP exam format is the third "short answer" section. I'll ask ten brief questions that will usually involve a verbal explanation. You know how every recent AP free response question includes a lettered part that says "justify your answer?" Well, these short answer items will each be similar, except in isolation, without the context of a larger problem. While I have no idea whether such items will appear on the future AP Physics 1 exam, I do know that all formatting options are on the table. It sounds likely that the current dichotomy of just multiple choice and 10 or 15 point free response items will be adjusted.
Want to use this course? Go for it. I'll be happy to send you more materials: a pratice test that I'll give in November, and hard-copies of the final exam with a rubric next May. I only ask a couple of things in return: (1) Collect the exams when you're done, ensuring that they don't get posted online; (2) Report to me how your students did on the final exam, whether they did well or poorly -- I'll keep that info private except for saying globally how everyone did; and (3) Send me a can of Skyline Chili.*
* or equivalent. Condition (3) is not mandatory.
If you teach an honors course, this might be just the thing to prepare your students for the AP B exam in 2012-13. Or, you could use this course and exam to demonstrate the rigor of your non-AP course to parents, administrators, and colleges. Try it -- I think you'll like it.