Physics 206 — Mechanics

Texas A&M University, Fall 2023

All University Physics Sections

Dept of Physics & Astronomy » PHYS 206 common webpage

Important dates

Add/drop deadline 5:00 pmFri Aug 25
Exam I 6:00 pmFri Sep 15
Exam II 6:00 pmFri Oct 13
Exam III 6:00 pmFri Nov 10
Q-drop deadline 5:00 pmWed Nov 15
Comprehensive 7:00 pmFri Dec 1

Course Core Objectives

At the end of the semester a student is expected to master the following core objectives:

  • Critical Thinking: the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication.
  • Communication: to include effective development and interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral, and visual communication
  • Empirical and Quantitative Skills: to include the manipulation and analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions
  • Teamwork: to include the ability to consider different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal

Course overview

Physics 206, Newtonian Mechanics for Engineering and Science, is the first semester of a two-semester sequence in introductory physics, intended to introduce students to the basic principles of Newtonian mechanics and harmonic motion. We will cover topics in mechanics, Newton's Laws, the concepts of energy and work, conservation of energy and momentum, rotational motion, gravity, harmonic motion and waves. This corresponds to chapters 1–11, 13 and 14 of Young and Freedman's University Physics. The course is taught with pre-lectures, lectures, recitations and in-class particpation. The pre-lectures present the core concepts prior to class and allows more time for problem-solving strategies in class as compared to traditional lectures. The recitation is meant to practice problem-solving and to sharpen your reasoning about physics in a smaller class-size setting than the main lecture (which will have close to 150 students in it). The material is presented at a level that requires signficant algebra and trigonometry, as well as some basic calculus.

Upon successfully completing this course, you will have come to understand the basic principles governing the motion of objects, learned to think more critically/scientifically, and developed the skills needed to attack difficult problems. These are all skills that will serve you strongly in your future courses and careers, even if you never again consider a block sliding down an incline.

Course Schedule

The weekly class schedule gives an outline of the course, but is by no means definitive; check with your professor for a more complete schedule of your specific sections. Your online homework and pre-lecture assignments are listed in Mastering; the homework will generally be a chapter a week, while the pre-lectures will likely be due closer to your class (due dates will depend on your section/instructor). These assignments may be adjusted as the semester progresses to accomodate the pace of the class, so you should refer back to these calendars often to make sure you don't miss a deadline or extension. Information about the format of the recitations as well as problem sets used by your recitation leader may be found here: recitations.shtml.


Name Sections Lectures Syllabus E-mail
Kocharovsky 519–523 MPHY 203 MWF 3:00 pm3:50 pm
Kamon 525–529 MPHY 204 MWF 8:00 am8:50 am
May 531–536 MPHY 203 TR 9:35 am10:50 am
Kaya 537–541 MPHY 203 TR 5:30 pm6:45 pm
  • §519–523 | MPHY 203
  • MWF  3:00 pm–3:50 pm
  • §525–529 | MPHY 204
  • MWF  8:00 am–8:50 am
  • §531–536 | MPHY 203
  • TR  9:35 am–10:50 am
  • §537–541 | MPHY 203
  • TR  5:30 pm–6:45 pm



Course Components

Math preparation
Learning objectives
MyLab & Mastering (homework and pre-lectures)
iClicker (participation)

Course Evaluation

Exams 70% (all sections)

As listed on the class schedule, there are 3 common midterms on the evenings of Fri Sep 15th, Fri Oct 13th, and Fri Nov 10th. In addition, we will be having a common comprehensive exam covering all of the material in the course on Dec 1st, the Fri before classes end. All exams will be in person and are multiple choice. Exams are graded in terms of learning objectives. The complete list of learning objectives that a student is expected to master at the end of the semester is posted at In the end, the final overall exam grade will be based on the fraction of learning objectives achieved. Any LO with a passing grade in the comprehensive exam will trump the results for that LO from the 3 midterms. However, if a LO is not passed in the comprehensive exam, it will count just like other midterms in the cumulative passing criteria.

Online homework 6% (5% for honour sections)

Submitted and graded using MyLab & Mastering.

Recitations 6% (5% for honour sections)

The grade for recitations is based on participation. See this page for more information. We strongly suggest you be an active learner and actively participate in the discussions of these smaller class-sized recitations.

Pre-lectures 6% (5% for honour sections)

This course uses the pre-lecture videos and follow-up assignments from within Pearson's MyLab & Mastering. The online videos are meant to introduce you to upcoming concepts, and follow up with short conceptual questions to assess how well you grasped the core physics concepts.

i>clickers 6% (5% for honour sections)

A personal response system used for in-class participation and/or quizzes.

Concept Quizzes 6% (5% for honour sections)

The concept quizzes are available to take in canvas. The quizzes can be taken as many times as desired and the highest score will be kept as a grade.

Honours assignments 5% (honours only)

Only applicable to sections 213–218. The instructor will provide details in class.

Resources available to you

Course strategies: A link to (Dr. Melconian's) advice you may find useful …?
Office hours: Hopefully all of you feel comfortable taking advantage of your professor's office hours if you have any questions.
Supplemental Instruction: The Academic Success Center at TAMU will be providing free weekly supplemental instruction led by a student who recently completed (and did well in!) PHYS 206. Quoting a pamphlet about this program: SI is a program in place to help students succeed in historically difficult courses (no, this isn't an "easy A" course). It has been proven that students who regularly attend SI sessions score 1/2 to a full letter grade better in the course.
Information regarding this year's SI leader and sessions will be posted here once the schedule has been finalized.
Recitations: Your teaching assistant (TA) should be an invaluable resource for you! Go to recitations armed with questions (just like you should come to the lectures!) and get the TA to help clear up any misconceptions or difficulties you may have. Another person explaining another way (and also who was more recently in your shoes) may resonate better with you; this is, after all, the whole point of the recitations.

Mechanics Scholars Competition

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, it is unclear yet whether the Mechanics Scholars Competition will be held this semester. If not, those enrolled in PHYS 206 may take it next time it is offered. This page will be updated as soon as there is any more information.

Further information

Math readiness: link to some simple quizzes to test how prepared you are in math.
Custom pre-lectures: videos we made to supplement the ones you normally do. We cannot embed them in Mastering, so these are not worth points; but you may find them useful. They follow Prof. Melconian's lecture notes very closely.
Formula sheets: link to the formula sheets that will be provided to you for each midterm and the comprehensive exam.
Previous exams: link to the exams from PHYS 206 last year (with answer keys). Note that this course adopts a common midterm exam policy: all sections of PHYS 206 will write the same midterms at the same time; your professor is only one of a number of faculty that will be contributing problems to the midterms.
Academic calendar: link to the Registrar's academic calendar. Includes important dates, holidays and deadlines. Note that all sections of PHYS 206 write a comprehensive exam the evening of Fri Dec 1 (6:30–9:30 pm). Therefore we will not be having a final exam during finals week.
Canvas: Texas A&M's centralized learning management system.

Academic Integrity Statement and Policy

"An Aggie does not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do."

"Texas A&M University students are responsible for authenticating all work submitted to an instructor. If asked, students must be able to produce proof that the item submitted is indeed the work of that student. Students must keep appropriate records at all times. The inability to authenticate one's work, should the instructor request it, may be sufficient grounds to initiate an academic misconduct case" (Section, Student Rule 20).

You can learn more about the Aggie Honor System Office Rules and Procedures, academic integrity, and your rights and responsibilities at

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy Statement

Texas A&M University is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. If you experience barriers to your education due to a disability or think you may have a disability, please contact Disability Resources in the Student Services Building or at (979) 845-1637 or visit Disabilities may include, but are not limited to attentional, learning, mental health, sensory, physical, or chronic health conditions. All students are encouraged to discuss their disability related needs with Disability Resources and their instructors as soon as possible.

Title IX and Statement on Limits to Confidentiality

Texas A&M University is committed to fostering a learning environment that is safe and productive for all. University policies and federal and state laws prohibit gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

With the exception of some medical and mental health providers, all university employees (including full and part-time faculty, staff, paid graduate assistants, student workers, etc.) are Mandatory Reporters and must report to the Title IX Office if the employee experiences, observes, or becomes aware of an incident that meets the following conditions (see University Rule 08.01.01.M1):

Mandatory Reporters must file a report regardless of how the information comes to their attention – including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Although Mandatory Reporters must file a report, in most instances, you will be able to control how the report is handled, including whether or not to pursue a formal investigation. The University's goal is to make sure you are aware of the range of options available to you and to ensure access to the resources you need.

Students wishing to discuss concerns in a confidential setting are encouraged to make an appointment with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Students can learn more about filing a report, accessing supportive resources, and navigating the Title IX investigation and resolution process on the University's Title IX webpage.

Statement on Mental Health and Wellness

Texas A&M University recognizes that mental health and wellness are critical factors that influence a student's academic success and overall wellbeing. Students are encouraged to engage in proper self-care by utilizing the resources and services available from Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS). Students who need someone to talk to can call the TAMU Helpline (979-845-2700) from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. weekdays and 24 hours on weekends. 24-hour emergency help is also available through the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255) or at