AP Physics 2 Preface

AP Physics 2 Preface

This instructional material is provided through a Texas Education Agency (TEA) initiative to provide high-quality open-source instructional materials to school districts free of charge. Funds were allocated for open-source instructional materials by the 84th Texas Legislature (2015) which directed the agency to set aside $5,000,000 from the state instructional materials fund in each fiscal year of the biennium for state-developed, open-source instructional materials. They also specified that the request should prioritize advanced secondary courses supporting the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Through a request for proposal (RFP) process, the agency called for materials in the following sets of courses:

The RFP resulted in the award of two contracts for open-source materials, one to OpenStax (Rice University) and one to Study Edge.

OpenStax created materials for the following seven courses:

  • Statistics
  • Advanced Placement Macroeconomics
  • Advanced Placement Microeconomics
  • Advanced Placement Physics 1
  • Advanced Placement Physics 2
  • Physics
  • Advanced Placement Biology

Each set of materials created by OpenStax is organized into units and chapters and can be used, like a traditional textbook, as the entire syllabus for each course. They can also be accessed in smaller chunks for more focused use with a single student or an entire class. All materials are available free of charge through the Texas Gateway.

Qualified and experienced Texas faculty were involved throughout the development process, with textbooks reviewed extensively to ensure effectiveness and usability for each course. Reviewers considered each resource’s clarity, accuracy, student support, assessment rigor and appropriateness, alignment to TEKS, and overall quality. Their invaluable suggestions provided the basis for continually-improved material and helped to certify that the books are ready for use. The writers and reviewers also considered common course issues, effective teaching strategies, and student engagement to provide instructors and students with useful, supportive content and drive effective learning experiences.

Instructional Support Ancillaries for TEA AP® Physics 2: Algebra-Based

The following materials are available to support instruction of TEA AP® Physics 2: Algebra-Based:

If you are an instructor and want to obtain these ancillaries, please use your official school email to send a request to the TEA using the following email address:
Please include information about the title for which you need ancillary materials.

About AP® Physics

AP® Physics is the result of an effort to better serve teachers and students. The textbook focuses on the College Board’s AP® framework concepts and practices.

Alignment to the AP® Curriculum

The AP® Physics curriculum framework outlines the two full-year physics courses AP® Physics 1: Algebra-Based and AP® Physics 2: Algebra-Based. These two courses focus on the big ideas typically included in the first and second semesters of an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course. They provide students with the essential knowledge and skills required to support future advanced coursework in physics. The AP® Physics 1 curriculum includes mechanics, mechanical waves, sound, and electrostatics. The AP® Physics 2 curriculum focuses on thermodynamics, fluid statics, dynamics, electromagnetism, geometric and physical optics, quantum physics, atomic physics, and nuclear physics.

AP® Science Practices emphasize inquiry-based learning and development of critical thinking and reasoning skills. Inquiry-based learning involves exploratory learning as a way to gain new knowledge. Students begin by making an observation regarding a given physics topic. Students then explore that topic using scientific methodology, as opposed to simply being told about it in lecture. In this way, students learn the content through self-discovery rather than memorization.

The AP® framework has identified seven major science practices, which are described using short phrases that include using representations and models to communicate information and solve problems, using mathematics appropriately, engaging in questioning, planning and implementing data collection strategies, analyzing and evaluating data, justifying scientific explanations, and connecting concepts. The AP® framework’s Learning Objectives merge content with one or more of the seven science practices that students should develop as they prepare for the AP® Physics exam.

Each chapter of AP® Physics begins with a “Connection for AP® Courses” that explains how the content in the chapter sections align to the Big Ideas, Enduring Understandings, Essential Knowledge, and Learning Objectives of the AP® framework. These sections help students quickly and easily locate where components of the AP® framework are covered in the book, as well as clearly indicate material that, although interesting, exceeds the scope of the AP® framework.

Content requirements for AP® Physics are prescribed in the College Board Publication Advanced Placement Course Description: Physics, published by The College Board (http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter112/ch112d.html#112.64 and http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter112/ch112d.html#112.65).

Pedagogical Foundation and Features

AP® Physics introduces topics conceptually and progresses to more detailed explanations and analytical applications (problem solving). The analytical aspect is tied back to the conceptual before moving on to another topic. For example, each introductory chapter opens with an engaging photograph relevant to the larger conception of the chapter, which also helps students relate course concepts to the real world.

The textbook’s features include the following:

  • Connections for AP® Courses introduce each chapter and explain how its content addresses the AP® curriculum. Some more advanced chapters are beyond the scope of the AP® curriculum, as indicated in this section.
  • Worked Examples promote both analytical and conceptual skills. They are introduced using an application of interest followed by a strategy that emphasizes the concepts involved, a mathematical solution, and a discussion.
  • Problem-Solving Strategies appear at crucial points in the text where students can benefit most from support in devising strategies for solving physics problems.
  • Misconception Alerts address common misconceptions that students may have about the material.
  • Take Home Investigations provide the opportunity for students to apply or explore what they have learned with a hands-on activity.
  • Real-World Connections highlight important concepts and examples in the AP® framework.
  • Applying the Science Practices includes activities and challenging questions that engage students while they apply the AP® science practices. These activities engage students in inquiry and discovery-based learning on topics they are currently studying.
  • Things Great and Small explain the submicroscopic phenomena that underlie macroscopic phenomena students are learning about.
  • Simulations direct students to further explore the physics concepts they have learned about in the module through the interactive PhET physics simulations developed by the University of Colorado. These interactive experiences provide a “sandbox” in which students can experiment with complex physical systems or simulate the use of actual experimental methods and equipment in a consequence-free environment. These interactives are, therefore, another major component of inquiry-based learning implemented throughout AP® Physics.


AP® Physics offers a wealth of assessment options:

  • End-of-Module Problems include conceptual questions that challenge students’ ability to explain what they have learned conceptually, independent of the mathematical details. Other problems and exercises challenge students to apply both concepts and skills to solve mathematical physics problems.
  • Integrated Concept Problems challenge students to apply concepts and skills to solve a problem. Within these problems, Unreasonable Results components encourage students to analyze the answer with respect to how likely or realistic it really is.
  • Construct Your Own Problem requires students to construct the details of a problem, justify their starting assumptions, show specific steps in the problem’s solution, and discuss the meaning of the result.
  • Test Prep for AP® Courses consists of end-of-module problems that include assessment items with the format and rigor found in the AP® exam to help prepare students for the test.

Core Reviewers

Fatih Gozuacik, Harmony Public Schools

Fatih Gozuacik holds master’s degrees in physics and atomic physics from Texas A&M Commerce and Sakarya University in Turkey. In addition to teaching AP and College Physics at Harmony Public Schools, he is a mentor for the Physics Bowl and the Science Olympiad, and serves as a college counselor for junior and senior students. Fatih was named the 2015 STEM teacher of the year by Educate Texas.

Marie Ispkunwu, Cedar Ridge High School

Marie Ispkunwu teaches AP Physics and on-level Physics, as well as Engineering Design in Round Rock ISD. She is deeply involved in STEM-related student activities and professional development, including sponsoring the Engineering Club and the Women in Engineering Club. She also coaches her school’s robotics team, and serves as the STEM academy lead.

The concept map showing major links between Big Ideas and Enduring Understandings is provided for visual reference.