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Course Materials


Course Learning Outcomes

The purpose of this course is to enable you to accomplish the following:

  1. Apply Physical Principles
    Students will be able to recognize and apply the fundamental principles presented in this course to simple physical situations.
  2. Express Scientific Ideas
    Students will be able to express their thoughts (in graphical and written formats) on scientific topics clearly, including appropriate use of basic scientific vocabulary and effective interpretation of quantitative data.
  3. Scientific Observations
    Students will be able to explain how scientific observations led to the development of these few principles and the models built on them.
  4. Further Scientific Questions
    Students will be able to explain how these principles and models in turn lead to further scientific questions.
  5. Science and Religion
    Students will be able to reflect rationally upon the interface between science and religion.
  6. Issues of Public Policy
    Students will be able to evaluate scientific data and claims in order to make rational decisions on public policy issues that affect their community.

We believe that a study of the natural universe can increase faith in our Heavenly Father and the Savior, who organized the earth and heavens as a part of the plan that makes it possible for us to gain immortality and eternal life.

Course Materials

You will use these materials to complete this course.


Physical Science Foundations, 4th Edition (2012). Brigham Young University College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. BYU Academic Publishing.

Study Guide

A study guide is provided at the end of each chapter of the textbook. It provides you with an outline of the fundamental principles, models, main questions, and terms that you will be expected to understand, answer, or use appropriately.

Analysis and Synthesis Questions

These questions are included in the Study Guide sections of the textbook. The essay questions in your course will be based on these questions. Please be aware that while the the questions will not be word-for-word; you will have to know the material.

Required Software

You will need a few programs to view certain components of this course. Fortunately, the software you need is free and easily downloadable from the Internet.

For best results, use the Firefox, Chrome, or Safari browsers.

If you do not have QuickTime installed, go to the Apple website to download it. Follow the installation directions and then return to this course when finished. Make sure you download the newest QuickTime player. It is a free plug-in. Remember that you have to actually install the plugin, and probably will have to restart your computer to actually see the movies.

If you do not have Macromedia’s Flash Player installed, go to the Adobe website to download it. It is a free plug-in. Follow the installation directions to install the plugin.

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Reading Checks and “Try It!” Questions

As you work through the course materials, you will be quizzed on your knowledge in a number of ways.

These checks and questions can be taken as many times as you'd like, or as many times as you need to in order to pass. They are not part of your grade, but you should pay careful attention to them. They will prepare you for the graded assignments and examinations.

Reading Quizzes

You will submit a quiz assignment for each lesson. These quizzes are computer-graded and consist of multiple-choice questions. There are a total of 34 lesson quizzes.

Unit Summary Assignments

At the end of each unit, you will submit your answers to a series of short-answer questions that cover the concepts you learned in that unit.  

Note: Some of these questions ask you to draw or diagram parts of your answers. If you draw a picture, you will need to scan it and insert it into a Word document to create an electronic version. If you use a drawing program (such as Paint or PowerPoint), you’ll have the electronic version on screen. When you have the electronic copy of your picture, select the diagram (in Paint, PowerPoint, or whatever program you used), press Ctrl+C to copy it. Place your cursor in the text area for the question, and press Ctrl+V to paste in your image.

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This course includes four exams: three midcourse and one final. You must pass the final exam with 50% to pass the course.

Exam Covers
Midcourse 1 Lessons 1–9
Midcourse 2 Lessons 10–17
Midcourse 3 Lessons 18–25
Final The final is comprehensive with the portion covering lessons 26-34 weighted twice as much.

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Your final grade for the course will be determined by combining the percentages you receive for the lesson quizzes, the unit-summary assignments, the three midcourse exams, and the final exam.

34 Reading Quizzes 14%
4 Unit Summary Assignments 26%
3 Midcourse Exams, 10% each 30%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

Grade Scale

The following standard will be used to determine your letter grade.

A 100 90
A- 89 86
B+ 85 83
B 82 79
B- 78 75
C+ 74 70
C 69 65
C- 64 60
D+ 59 56
D 55 53
D- 52 50
E (fail) 49 0

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Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. This may also include when a student copies and pastes directly from another source and passes it off as his or her own, copies computer-generated text from a translation tool and uses it as his or her own, or fails to cite a source after loosely summarizing its content in his or her own words.

As determined by your instructor or the course administration, if evidence of academic misconduct on assignments or exams is established, one of the two following consequences will apply to each incidence:

First Offense of Plagiarism

Second Offense of Plagiarism

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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