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PHYS 117 A: General Physics Laboratory: Mechanics

Meeting Time: 
Th 11:30am - 1:20pm
PAB B108
Suzanne White Brahmia
Suzanne White Brahmia

Syllabus Description:


The slides from the introductory video are found here. 

In this course, you will test models of the physical world During lab, you will work in a group of 3 or 4 students to discuss each other's ideas and to record and analyze data.  Then, each of you will write and submit a report on based on your group's results by the following week.

You can see all the required activities in a week in Modules.

Learning Objectives

After this course students will be able to:

  • conceptually understand the statistical underpinnings of uncertainty.
  • quantify uncertainty in measurement and modelling.
  • design experiments to test a model.
  • judge whether an experimental result is consistent with a model within the estimated uncertainties.
  • write a scientific report with valid conclusions and discussion of results.
  • function effectively on a professional team to achieve a task.

Contact information

For questions send an email with your course (Phys 117), your UW net ID (the part before in your email address), and name as it appears on Canvas to:

  • your TA (contact information is here, and office hours here) for questions related to your grades, report writing and homework, the labs.
  • me (Suzanne White Brahmia) at for questions about your TA or questions that your TA may not be able to answer.
  • the program coordinator at for administrator questions related to registering, overloading, etc...



  • You will get a grade of Credit if you earn 67% of the possible points, and you earn more than  1/3 of possible points for each lab report.
  • Lab in-lab (35% of grade):
    • At the end of each lab you will be graded out of 2 points based on your lab notebook and your participation in group discussions.
    • If you cannot attend a given lab session, you can either:
      • Attend another lab (from PHYS 117 or 121) in person during the week and explain your situation to your TA and the TA in that session. A schedule of lab sections can be found here.  
      • Participate with your lab partners through Zoom (or an equivalent).  Let your TA know, however, you and your partners are jointly responsible for arranging and setting up these online sessions. 
  • Lab HW and Lab reports (65% of grade):
    • Each week after your lab, you will be assigned a Lab HW and also asked to submit a portion of your lab notebook and/or lab report.
    • These should be completed by 11:59 pm on Tuesday night before your next lab section. 
    • If you submit your lab report after it is due, there is a penalty of 1% deduction of the score for every hour that it is late.
    • If your report receives less than the 1/3 of the total possible, you can revise the report and resubmit one per quarter to possibly earn up to 1/3 of the possible points for the report.

Resources to Succeed

This website contains a list of resources you may find helpful for a variety of issues students may encounter during your time at UW.  Contact me if you need help finding the resources you need.

Access and accommodation

Your experience in this class is important to us, so if you have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but are not limited to: mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical), please contact DRS to arrange accommodations.

Safe campus

We are committed to ensuring a safe environment on campus.  We encourage you to check out the resources available here.

For students who have a lab or tutorial section at night, night time escort services are available.

Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (

Academic integrity and student conduct

The University takes academic integrity and student conduct very seriously.  Behaving with integrity and respect is part of our responsibility to our shared learning community.  Acts of academic misconduct may include, but are not limited to, copying other groups' data or reports.

Please note that taking photos or recording instructors, other students, and course materials without permission is strictly forbidden.  Streaming or posting inappropriate materials on any course platform is also not allowed. 

All the course materials including lab manuals and supplemental videos are intellectual properties of the instructor and the University of Washington. Distributing them in any form without permission is forbidden.  

The University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-121) defines prohibited academic and behavioral conduct and describes how the University holds students accountable as they pursue their academic goals.  Allegations of misconduct by students may be referred to the appropriate campus office for investigation and resolution.  More information can be found online at

If you’re uncertain about if something is academic or behavioral misconduct, ask us.  we are willing to discuss questions you might have.

Research Study Information

This course is part of a research project examining student reasoning ability and attitudes about physics with the goal of  improving physics teaching.  By enrolling in this course you are automatically included in the study. Early in the quarter, students will have an opportunity to learn about the study and to remove themselves from the study if they wish. Your instructor will not know whether or not you participate. Later in the quarter,  this link  will become active and allow you to review the details of the study, contact a member of the research team, or remove yourself from the study.

Catalog Description: 
Mechanics laboratory. Credit is not given for both PHYS 117 and the PHYS 121 laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 114, which may be taken concurrently. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements: 
Natural Sciences (NSc)
Section Type: 
Last updated: 
September 23, 2022 - 9:32pm