Why Take Physics?

Course Descriptions and Requirements

Student Assistance





Canyon High School Physics Program

Canyon High School currently offers two different Physics courses:

Physics A/B

A conceptually-based physics curriculum, Physics A/B is designed to educate the student in fundamental physics topics, but avoids the use of advanced mathematics.   Students study mechanics, kinematics, energy, momentum, light, electricity, relativity and sound, among other topics.   This class is normally taken by students who are entering non-technical fields or by those who wish to build their background knowledge before taking Advanced Placement Physics.

Advanced Placement Physics A/B

This is the more rigorous physics class, designed for the student who is going on to a technical or scientific education.   It leads to the Advanced Placement examination, which is accepted by many universities as credit for their introductory Physics course.   AP Physics makes use of more advanced mathematics (up to right-angle trig) to take a deeper look at physics topics.   This is a 5-unit class for GPA calculation purposes.

Both physics classes participate in three major projects each year.

  • In the Fall semester, the students compete in the Egg Hurl competition, exercising the concepts of momentum and energy.  
  • In the Spring, students build balsa-wood bridges to test their knowledge of statics, structures, and materials testing methods.
  • Both classes also take part in Magic Mountain Physics Day, wherein the amusement park becomes a giant physics lab, full of experiments and observations in which to take part.


Classes are conducted through a combination of lecture, multimedia presentations, demonstration, and hands-on laboratory activities.   They are well organized along the same lines as a college class, with each student receiving a syllabus outlining each semester’s activities and assignments.


The Physics classroom is equipped with a large-screen monitor and automated data gathering equipment for in-class demonstrations.   This equipment is also used for computer simulations as well as multimedia presentations.   The Physics laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art computerized instrumentation.   Our physics equipment inventory is growing to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of physics students.

College Partnerships:

Occidental College, one of the top undergraduate schools in the nation, is a partner with the Canyon Physics program.   They provide class sets of sophisticated lab equipment that would otherwise be impossible to obtain at the high school level.   This gives Canyon Physics students superior laboratory experiences.   Mr. Lyle works at Occidental each summer creating and perfecting the laboratory exercises.


Students entering Physics should have one or more of the following qualifications:

A grade of B or better in Biology 1B or Algebra 1B or Algebra C.

Students entering AP Physics should have one or more of the following qualifications:

A grade of B or better in Algebra II /Trig B

A grade of C or better in Honors Algebra II /Trig B

Students not meeting the above qualifications may be admitted with the approval of the instructor if he feels that their preparation is sufficient to be successful in the class.   If you have any questions, please ask!