PHY131 Physics Practicals - Fall 2010

The Practicals part of your PHY131 course will involve problem solving, hands-on activities and team-work. What you do in Practicals will be directly related to what is going on in class and will help you to do well on the tests and exam. This is the home page for the Practicals. The contents of this page are:

Calendar and Schedule

You may want to note that initially the Practical "cycle" is from Monday through Friday. After the Thanksgiving holiday on Mon. Oct. 11, the cycle shifts to Tuesday through Monday of the following week. There is no Practical on Tues. Oct. 26, and the cycle then shifts to Wednesday through Tuesday of the following week. This does not means that the day and time of your Practical will change: you will always attend your Practical on the same day of the week and at the same time all term.

Unless otherwise stated, all links below are in pdf format, and will open in a new tab/window.

Practical Dates Topics, Activities
No Practicals Monday September 13 - Friday September 17
Mon. Sept. 20, Tues. Sept. 21
Wed. Sept. 22, Thurs. Sept. 23,
Fri. Sept. 24

Introduction to the Practicals.

Scientific Method Module

Mechanics Module 1: Activities 6, 7, 8 Parts A - F. If You Have Time (IYHT): Activity 8 Parts G - K.

Mon. Sept. 27, Tues. Sept. 28
Wed. Sept. 29, Thurs. Sept. 30,
Fri.. Oct. 1

Preparation: Before today's Practical read the Error Analysis document through at least Section 3. Note that an assignment based on the entire document is due in two weeks. The document is available in either html or pdf via these links:
html version pdf version

Mechanics Module 1: Activities 10, 11, 12.

Error Analysis Exercise 3.1 (done as a Team)

Mechanics Module 2: Activities 2, 7. IYHT: Activity 8.

Mon. Oct. 4, Tues.. Oct. 5,
Wed. Oct. 6, Thurs. Oct. 7,
Fri.. Oct. 8
Mechanics Module 2: Activities 9 Parts A - E and Part H, 10, 11 Part A, 12, 13. IYHT: Activity 11 Parts B - C.
Tues. Oct. 12, Wed. Oct. 13,
Thurs. Oct. 14, Fri. Oct. 15,
Mon. Oct 18

Preparation: Read the Preparation on page 1 of Mechanics Module 3, take a ride on one of the elevators of the tower of the Physics building, and observe what happens to the spring scale with a mass hanging from it.

Due: the Error Analysis assignment is on Wednesday, October 13 at 4 PM. This assignment should be done individually except for Exercise 3.1, which you did with your Team in Session 2. You do not need to include this Exercise when you turn in the assignment. Also please note that the assignment must be turned in using the form that is available here.

Mechanics Module 3: Activities 14, 2, 12, 15. IYHT: 16

Tues. Oct. 19, Wed. Oct. 20,
Thurs. Oct. 21, Fri. Oct. 22,
Mon. Oct 25
Mechanics Module 3: Activities 4, 9, 11, 10. IYHT: 3.
Wed. Oct. 27,
Thurs. Oct. 28, Fri. Oct. 29,
Mon. Nov 1, Tues. Nov 2

Note: there is no Practical on Tuesday October 26.

Mechanics Module 4 Activities 1, 2, 5. IYHT: 4

Note: No Practicals Wed. Nov. 3, Thurs. Nov. 4, Fri. Nov. 5.
The University has no classes on Mon. Nov. 8 and Tues. Nov. 9.
Wed. Nov. 10, Thurs. Nov. 11,
Fri. Nov 12, Mon. Nov. 15,
Tues. Nov. 16

Teams are scrambled.

Preparation: Read the "Teamwork Basics" section of the Teamwork Module and do the ranking exercise of the following section, "Teamwork Activity."

Teamwork Module

Mechanics Module 5 Activity 8. IYHT: 17

Wed. Nov 17, Thurs. Nov. 18,
Fri. Nov. 19, Mon. Nov. 22,
Tues. Nov. 23

Numerical Approximation Module

IYHT: Oscillations Module Activity 5

Wed. Nov 24, Thurs. Nov. 25,
Fri. Nov. 26, Mon. Nov. 29,
Tues. Nov. 30

Fluids Module: Activities 1, 2, 3, 5, 7. IYHT: 6


Wed. Dec. 1, Thurs. Dec. 2,
Fri. Dec. 3, Mon. Dec. 6,
Tues. Dec. 7
Fluids Module: Activities 9, 11, 12 Parts A, B, C, 10 Parts A, B, D. IYHT: Activity 10 Part C.

You may wish to know that all of the Modules that are linked to above and more is available at the main Practical site at:

About the Practicals

The Physics Practicals are a vital component in your learning the material of PHY131.

The heart of your learning in the Practicals will involve you working on Activities in a Team with 2 or 3 of your classmates. The Activities tend to focus on the concepts being discussed in your classes in Convocation Hall, although other aspects of Physics will sometimes also be introduced. Each Practical session will also include time for student questions and discussion. You will have two Learning Assistants present for each Practical session, who are probably Physics graduate students working on their M.Sc. or Ph.D. in Physics.

You will attend a Physics Practical almost every week of the term, and each session lasts one hour and 50 minutes.

Your Team will keep a single lab book, which is to be a complete record of everything you did, what you and your teammates thought it meant, and what conclusions you have drawn from your work. The lab book is not to leave the Practical room.

For each Practical session two members of each Team will serve the following roles:

Different Teams work at different paces, and you will discover that in addition to required Activities, every week there will be If You Have Time (IYHT) Activities. These should only be attempted when you, your Team, and your Instructors all agree that you have learned as much as possible from the required Activities. As you will see below, doing IYHT Activities can earn your Team a small bonus mark.

For Practical session 7, the Learning Assistants will re-assign students to new Teams.

Requirements and Marking

In the Calendar and Schedule section above, links are provided to the Module containing the Activities you will be working on that week. It is an excellent idea for you to have looked over the Module and required Activities before coming to your Practical. From time to time there will be some assignments that are required before coming to your Practical, and these will be given in the Calendar and Schedule section too.

The Practicals are worth 20% of the mark in PHY131. The components of the marks and their weights are:

  1. Notebook Mark 1 (0% of the course mark). After the first Practical the lab books will be collected and marked. However, this mark will not count towards your Practical mark. Instead it is intended to make our standards and requirements clear to you.
  2. Error Analysis Assignment (4% of the course mark). You will do this assignment individually. It is due in the Drop Box of your Learning Assistants by 4 PM on Wednesday October 13. The Drop Box of you Learning Assistants is given below: they are located in the basement of McLennan, and on the first floor just above the boxes is a bust of Newton. A link to the assignment is given in Week 2 of the the Calendar and Schedule section above.
  3. Notebook Mark 2 (8% of the course mark). After Practicals Session 5, a selection of the activities from Practical Sessions 2-5 will be chosen to be marked. The decision of which Activities will be marked will be chosen more-or-less randomly after the books have been collected. All Teams will have the same Activities marked.
  4. Notebook Mark 3 (8% of the course mark). At the end of the term a selection of the activities from Practicals Sessions 6-10 will be chosen to be marked. The decision of which Activities will be marked will be chosen more or less randomly after the books have been collected. All Teams will have the same Activities marked.

All marks are on a 5-point scale from 0 to 4:

0. Missing work.
1. Seriously deficient.
2. Requires improvement.
3. The standard mark indicating good work.
4. Exceptional. We will be very stingy in awarding marks of 4.

As discussed above, every week there will be If You Have Time (IYHT) Activities. These should only be attempted when you, your Team, and your Learning Assistants all agree that you have learned as much as possible from the required Activities. Teams that did well on the chosen IYHT Activity get a 0.5-point bonus, while teams that didn't do it or tried but didn't do well on it get no bonus points.

In order to learn, you must attend. So that you learn as much as possible, we expect you to attend each Practical for the full 110 minutes. If you do not attend, show up late, or leave early, you are not only impacting your own learning, but you are also letting your teammates down. The attendance policy is:


Course Administrator: April Seeley. Office : MP129, Phone 416-946-0531.

Technologists: Larry Avramidis, Lilian Leung, Phil Scolieri, and Rob Smidrovskis. Office: MP127.


Practicals Coordinator: David M. Harrison. Office: MP121B. Phone: 416-978-2977. Email: david.harrison AT

Practicals Instructor: Kausik S. Das. Office: MP129D. Phone: 416-978-7783. Email: kdas AT

Learning Assistants

Section Day Time Group room TA1 TA2 Drop Box #
P0103 M 1-3 M2A MP125A Wei Cui Zen Mariani 6
P0103 M 1-3 M2B MP125B Liang Ren Joe Yen 7
P0105 M 3-5 M3A MP125A Ryan Vilim Aida Delfan 8
P0105 M 3-5 M3B MP125B Matt Russo Yao Tian 9
P0201 T 10-12 T1A MP125A Dan Sun Cristen Adams 10
P0201 T 10-12 T1B MP125B Ray Meng Gao Juan N. Quesada 11
P0203 T 1-3 T2A MP125A Cuauhtemoc Salazar Shreyas Potnis 12
P0203 T 1-3 T2B MP125B Gabriello Presenza Pitman Ray Meng Gao 13
P0205 T 3-5 T3A MP125A Alex Forcier Hoda Hossein Nejad 14
P0205 T 3-5 T3B MP125B Di Tian Nairui Liu 15
P0303 W 1-3 W2A MP125A Zuoming Qian Parinaz Aleahmad 16
P0303 W 1-3 W2B MP125B Ashleigh Ingle Zhenfu Zhang 17
P0305 W 3-5 W3A MP125A Stephen Foster Cathal Smyth 18
P0305 W 3-5 W3B MP125B Ting Wang Zuoming Qian 19
P5302 W 6-8 W4A MP125A Adam Smiarowski Matin Hallaji 20
P5302 W 6-8 W4B MP125B Juan Arrazola Yuchong Li 21
P0401 R 10-12 R1A MP125A Chao Zhuang Mario Palasciano 22
P0402 R 12-2 R2A MP125A Daniel O'Keefe Parisa Zareapour 23
P0402 R 12-2 R2B MP125B Joseph Mendonca Andrei Romero Alvarez 24
P0404 R 2-4 R3A MP125A Juan Rosas Xiaoyi Zhao 25
P0404 R 2-4 R3B MP125B Zhe Jiang Cuauhtemoc Salazar 26
P0501 F 10-12 F1A MP125A Abdullah Al Rashid Russell Blackport 27
P0501 F 10-12 F1B MP125B Ian Chan Zhiyang Tang 28
P0502 F 12-2 F2A MP125A Daniel Fine Chao Zhuang 29
P0502 F 12-2 F2B MP125B Ben Mossbarger Yang Yang 30
P0504 F 2-4 F3A MP125A Ellen Dyer Antony Chen 31
P0504 F 2-4 F3B MP125B Vyacheslav Burenkov Zhe Jiang 32

TA Meeting 1 Wednesday 3 - 4 PM, Room 125C [not for students]. Regular attendees: Ian Chan, Di Tian, Adam Smiarowski, Cuathemoc Salazar, Hoda Hossein-Nejad, Wei Cui, Liu Nai Rui, Zen Marianim, Dan Sun, Aida Delfan, Joe Yen, Ryan Vilim, Joseph Mendonca, Parisa Zareapour, Zhe Jiang, R. Andrei Romero Alvarez, Mario Palasciano, Cristen Adams, Zhenfu Zhang, Russel Blackport, Ray Meng Gao, Abdullah AlRashid

For Practical
1. Sep. 22
2. Sep. 29
3. Oct. 6
4. Oct.13
5. Oct. 20
No meeting October 27
6. Nov. 3
No meeting November 10
7. Nov. 17
8. Nov.24
9. Dec. 1

TA Meeting 2 Friday 4 -5 PM, Room 125C [not for students]. Regular Attendees: Ashleigh Ingle,Zuoming Qian, Matin Hallaji, Yang Yang, Liang Ren, Zhiyuan Tang, Gabriello Presenza Pitman, Ellen Dyer, Juan Miguel Arrazola, Shreyas Potnis, Xiaoyi Zhao, Matt Russo, Parinaz, Aleahmad, Alex Forcier, Cathal Smyth, Yuchong Li, Vyacheslav Burenkov, Juan N. Quesada, Yao Tian, Stephen Foster, Ben Mossbarger, Daniel O'Keeffe, Daniel Fine, Juan Rosas, Ting Wang, Chao Zhuang

For Practical
1. Sep. 24
2. Oct. 1
3. Oct. 8
4. Oct. 15
5. Oct. 22
No Meeting October 29
6. Nov. 5
7. Nov. 12
8. Nov. 19
9. Nov.26

Computers and Networks

The Practical server is:

You will access the server using your UTORid and password. You will have access to three folders on this server:

  1. Your home directory. You have read and write privileges for this directory.
  2. Your team directory. All members of your team have read and write privileges here.
  3. public . This is an area of the server containing documents, computer programs, etc. Everyone has read privileges for this directory.

Note : you should never save work on the local PC. These discs will be ruthlessly purged on a regular basis.

Remote Access

You may access the server at: . You may upload and download files from your computer to the server.


There is a colour printer in each Practical Room. You may choose to print either in colour of black and white by choosing the appropriate printer in the print dialog. We charge for printing using your TCard . We charge:

We do not (yet) have facilities in the building to add dollar values to your card. The locations of cash-to-card locations are listed at:

This page is maintained by David M. Harrison, Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Toronto.

Last revision: $Date: 2010/11/17 13:37:07 $ (y/m/d UTC).