General Physics I Lab



Instructor: Professor Timothy L. Porter, Ph.D.

Contact email:

Contact phone: (702) 895-1714

Office location:  PBP 226

Office hours:  MWF 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.


There are a total of 13 laboratory modules or labs that must be completed for this course. Each lab or module consists of a Java or HTLM5 simulation that is run on a compatible computing device by each student. Students will turn in to the instructor a fillable PDF form that they complete for each lab after running, studying and operating the simulation according to the instructions provided for each lab. 


Lab Goals and Learning Objectives 

Week 1 – No Lab 

Lab 1 – Learn how position and velocity are related to coordinate systems in physics. 

Lab 2 – Learn how acceleration is related to position and velocity during motion. 

Lab 3 – Learn how to use kinematic equations to model two-dimensional projectile motion. 

Lab 4 – Learn how external forces affect the motion of objects. 

Lab 5 – Study how frictional forces effect motion using Newton’s laws. 

Lab 6 – Learn how changes in potential and kinetic energy are related during motion. 

Lab 7 – Study relationship between potential and kinetic energy using model system of springs. 

Lab 8 – Learn how conservation of momentum may be used to model collisions of objects. 

Lab 9 – Study how the concept of torque may be used to model rotational motion. 

Lab 10 – Learn concepts related to the oscillation of simple mechanical systems. 

Lab 11 – Learn basic concepts related to travelling waves using strings under tension. 

Lab 12 – Study basic relationships between pressure, volume and temperature in gases. 

Lab 13 – Learn how basic kinetic theory may be applied to simple ideal gas systems. 


Lab Procedures 

The following is a list of lab procedures. Mac or OS system users may have to take additional steps to access files. You can find a link to additional instructions in the how this course works file under the Let’s get started section of Webcampus.


A.     All labs are to be performed using simulations supplied as Java applications or HTML 5 files. Students will need to have the ability to run Java applications on their own computers in order to complete this lab. Generally, Java applications are designed to run on either Windows-based computers or Mac OS-based computers. They do not run on iPads or iPhones. 

B.     You must have Java installed on your computer. To install Java, go the Java home page and follow the installation instructions.  

C.     Read the system requirements for your computer to insure your computer is compatible. The download is free. 

D.    Certain labs also will require that you can run Adobe Flash within your browser. Make sure you enable Flash for these particular labs (Lab 7). 

E.     Each lab consists of a “Lab Procedure” in the form of a fillable PDF file, and a Java or HTML5 application. You will need to download and open the lab procedure PDF on your device, and download and run the Java or HTML5 lab app on your computer. 

F.     To view the fillable PDF file, to will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your device. It can be downloaded free at:  

G.    The Java application is a physics simulation covering the lab topic for the given week. The lab procedure explains what to do, and what questions to answer or data to acquire from the simulation. 

H.    To complete a given lab assignment, fill out all the questions (usually marked in red) in the lab procedure PDF file. When the lab is complete, it should be uploaded, for grading. 

I.       The fillable lab reports to be turned in only allow for text to be typed in for answers. This text is what will be graded for each lab. In many of the labs, you are also asked to do drawings of various forces, vectors or other items. These are for you to do on your own, in order to better help you understand the concepts. Drawings requested in the labs do not need to be turned in. 


Lab Grading 

A.     After completion of each lab, students will turn in the completed fillable PDF for each lab to the instructor.

B.     Each lab assignment will be worth a maximum of 10 points. 

C.     Late lab assignments will be penalized two points in up to one week late, and three points if turned in later than one week from the due date. 

D.    Each lab will be graded on how well the student demonstrates understanding of the learning objectives for that particular lab through the answers they provide on the fillable PDF for each lab. 


Lab Schedule 

There are a total of 13 labs that need to be completed. In general, one lab per week, beginning with the second week of the course will synchronize the lab content with the course content in the lecture portion of PHYS 151. There are maximum due dates given for each lab. Labs will be penalized points if turned in after the due date. You may, however, complete and turn in the labs at a faster pace than the maximum due dates if desired. 

Not including finals week, the maximum due dates for the labs are one lab to be turned in per week, beginning with the end of the second week of the course.






Your final grade for the course will be calculated per the following weighting scale




Homework assignments





Three exams at 20% each



Grade obtained in PHYS 151L




Since the laboratory grade is part of the grade for this course, you will be given the same final grade in both PHYS151 and PHYS 151L. 


UNLV Policies 

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An example of academic misconduct is plagiarism. Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of another, from the Internet or any source, without proper citation of the sources. See the Student Academic Misconduct Policy (approved December 9, 2005) located at:

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Disability Resource Center (DRC) It is important to know that over two-thirds of the students in the DRC reported that this syllabus statement, often read aloud by the faculty during class, directed them to the DRC office. 

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) coordinates all academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities. The DRC is the official office to review and house disability documentation for students, and to provide them with an official Academic Accommodation Plan to present to the faculty if an accommodation is warranted. Faculty should not provide students accommodations without being in receipt of this plan. 

UNLV complies with the provisions set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, offering reasonable accommodations to qualified students with documented disabilities. If you have a documented disability that may require accommodations, you will need to contact the DRC for the coordination of services. The DRC is located in the Student Services Complex (SSC-A), Room 143, and the contact numbers are: Voice (702) 895-0866, fax (702) 895-0651. For additional information, please visit: 

Religious Holidays Policy -- Any student missing class quizzes, examinations, or any other 

class or lab work because of observance of religious holidays shall be given an opportunity during that semester to make up missed work. The make-up will apply to the religious holiday absence only. It shall be the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor no later than the last day at late registration of his or her intention to participate in religious holidays which do not fall on state holidays or periods of class recess. This policy shall not apply in the event that administering the test or examination at an alternate time would impose an undue hardship on the instructor or the university which could not be avoided. For additional information, please visit: 

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