Physics at Mountain View

Mountain View offers courses in both physics and astronomy.

Physics is the basic science that studies nature with respect to matter, motion, energy, heat, sound, light, atomic and subatomic structures and interplaying forces, such as gravity, electricity and magnetism.

Astronomy is the branch of physics that studies celestial objects such as planets, asteroids, comets, stars, supernovae, black holes and galaxies, as well as the universe as a whole.

Physics Labs

Physics labs at Mountain View provide a hands-on, practical complement to readings, lectures and demonstrations. By completing these lab exercises in a thoughtful way, you will demonstrate basic principles of physics for yourself. You will also develop analytical thinking, problem-solving and troubleshooting skills, and you will improve your ability to work with other students as a team. Furthermore, you will start to develop the ability to graph, analyze and interpret your own data.

In our labs, we use both virtual and hands-on exercises, incorporating the graphing capabilities of the latest PASCO Capstone software. Students also work in teams on semester-long projects that result in working models of residential electrical systems, roller coasters and many other possibilities. These projects enable students to improve their extemporaneous speaking and writing abilities and require the use of PowerPoint software. Students also have the opportunity to learn Mathematica software, which is widely used in many science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions.

The physics lab exercises are not simply procedures to be mindlessly followed; to gain any benefit from the labs at all, you must be constantly aware of the principles that the exercises are meant to illustrate, and you must use your knowledge from lectures and readings to interpret your data and understand the purposes behind the methods you're using.