TFCPHYS 91F : Foundation Physics


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An introductory course for students who have not previously studied physics. Topics include the nature of light; wave motion; basic mechanics of motion in a straight line, including the concepts of momentum and energy; an introduction to heat.

Course Overview

Welcome to Physics 91F, Foundation Physics I. This course prepares students who have not previously studied physics for future first-year university physics courses.

We will explore four topics -- mechanics, thermal physics, optics, and waves -- in the context of everyday phenomena and apply mathematical problem solving techniques using algebra and basic trigonometry; we will also highlight topics of interest for those intending to pursue careers in science, engineering or medical sciences.

Course Requirements

Restriction: PHYSICS 92F, 91P

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Apply the laws of physics taught in this course to algebra based problems (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Apply specific skills and methods used in physics to solve problems (Capability 1)
  3. Explain the science of everyday phenomena using important physical concepts. (Capability 4)
  4. Contribute to group-based problem solving and experimental work (Capability 2, 4 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 24% Group & Individual Coursework
Assignments x4 20% Individual Coursework
Tests x2 16% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Assignments x4
Tests x2
Final Exam
You must obtain a pass in the laboratory component.
You need to sit the exam to pass this course.


Tutoring and mentoring for Maori and Pasifika students takes place three times weekly. Details regarding times and rooms will be announced during the first week of instruction.

Key Topics


  •     Image in a plane mirror
  •     Images in curved mirrors
  •     Refraction of light
  •     Refractive index and the speed of light
  •     Images with thin lenses


  •     Types of waves
  •     Refractive index and the speed of light
  •     Refraction of plane waves
  •     Wave interference
  •     Standing waves
  •     Physics of music
  •     Coherence
  •     Standing waves in two dimensions
  •     Young’s double-slit interference experiment


  •     Describing motion
  •     Newton’s laws of motion
  •     Impulse and momentum
  •     Energy (kinematic energy, gravitational potential energy, elastic potential energy)

 Thermal physics

  •     Three states of matter
  •     Heat and temperature
  •     Calorimetry
  •     Density and pressure
  •     Experimental gas laws

Learning Resources

Required course manual can be purchased at the university bookstore UBIQ.

Special Requirements

You must obtain a pass in the laboratory component.
You need to sit the exam to pass this course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, a weekly 2 hour lab, 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Other Information

The Science Faculty Assistance Room (302-170) is available between 11 am-3 pm on Mondays to Fridays for drop-in tutoring. Available in all teaching weeks, except mid-semester break and public holidays.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 12/12/2019 09:25 a.m.