College Board Endorsed Consultant for AP Physics C: Mechanics Online Event 2, Marc Reif

Marc Reif teaches science at Fayetteville High School in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He has been teaching AP Physics since 1998 and has presented more than 50 AP and Pre-AP Science workshops in the United States and abroad. Mr. Reif is a member of the AP Physics 2 Outside Working Group, and an Outside Item Writer for AP Physics C. He authored the AP Physics 2 Curriculum Module on Capacitance and has contributed to other AP Physics publications. He is a past chair of the SAT Physics Subject Test Development Committee and a past member of the College Board Science Academic Advisory Committee. Mr. Reif was a reader for the AP Physics exam from 2002 through 2007. He is the current Vice President of Northwest Arkansas STEM, a grassroots professional development effort. In 2002-2003 he worked with Physics Professors at the University of Arkansas reforming physics and education courses as PhysTEC Physics Teacher in Residence. He served as PhysTEC Visiting Master Teacher from 2011 to 2015. Mr. Reif has presented at national meetings of the American Association of Physics Teachers and Teachers Teaching with Technology. In 2016 he was named the recipient of the College Board Southwest Region AP Award. He holds an MAT in science from the University of North Carolina and renewed his National Board Certification in Teaching Science in 2015.

Calculus-based AP Physics C is a demanding course for teachers and students. Physics at this level requires both conceptual understanding and mathematical dexterity. This institute is designed to help prepare new teachers and to provide additional resources for experienced Physics C teachers. The content coverage is flexible according to participant need with emphasis on topics which are more difficult to teach and more challenging for the students to learn.  This will likely include in mechanics: rotation (rotational inertia, torque, angular momentum, etc.), gravitation, and oscillation, and in E & M: Gauss’s Law, Ampere’s Law, Biot-Savart Law, and Induction. The consultant will share an extensive set of AP problems, quizzes, tests, labs, and other materials.

Participants will * learn content with an emphasis on what is difficult for students * learn to use the new Course and Exam Descriptions, AP Classroom, and other College Board resources * become familiar with College Board expectations of students and teachers * author their own AP-style questions and rubrics * practice a set of guided inquiry labs (including low-tech options, labs for rotation, and “new” labs for students who already had AP Physics 1) * investigate teaching resources developed from Physics Education Research * work collaboratively to share and practice strategies that maximize student understanding Additional topics will include the following: * Developing your own pacing guide * Working with calculus learners * Writing and submitting a syllabus and pacing guide * Building enrollment; matching students with AP courses * Homework for maximum learning and minimum grading * Modifying existing materials to fit the new curriculum framework * Teaching students to think and write conceptually in order to use math correctly * Technology for labs and beyond

C Mechanics Course Description

Why should I take this?

  • This APSI is a fast-paced, intensive introduction to the most important aspects to teaching the course and preparing students for the exam. Teaching AP Physics C Mechanics is both challenging and fun! My emphasis is on sharing and transmitting the Pedagogical Content Knowledge that we all need to be successful in teaching this course. AP Physics C Mechanics has the subject matter of a traditional calculus-based physics course, but it is taught to high school students using guided inquiry.
  • The AP exam contains problems that are both mathematically and conceptually difficult, with many traditional, predictable problems but also some surprises.  By restricting the coverage to only Mechanics, we can go into greater depth than in a “Combined Mechanics; Electricity and Magnetism” workshop.
  • This means we will survey many of the most practical ways to teach content and structure your course along with many extras you may wish to explore later.  Who is this for? This workshop is intended to be especially helpful to new and lightly-experienced teachers, helping them identify the skills and resources they need to be successful in their first years. More experienced teachers will learn new tricks, new labs, new resources and find a chance to collaborate.
  • During content sessions we will address both the conceptual underpinnings of the material and the mathematical complexity of the AP Exam. The workshop structure is intended to be collaborative, flexible, and interactive. During asynchronous sessions, participants may work individually or in small groups, with a choice of subjects. 

What information unique to this course will be addressed?  

  • I have taught students spanning the range of calculus proficiency, from the occasional student who enrolls with no knowledge of calculus to students who have already completed AP Cal BC when they take AP Physics C. There are options for how you deal with calculus learners, and we will discuss several of them.
  • Resources and ideas will be shared that will allow you to structure your course for whatever level of student you have.  The College Board expects us to teach AP Physics with “Guided Inquiry”. Incorporating inquiry into AP Physics is a teaching skill I have worked on for more than 20 years. Inquiry is not just for the lab, but can be incorporated into most aspects of the course. I will model individual, group, and whole-class guided inquiry activities. 
  • AP Physics C is expected to model a college-level lab approach. There are lots of ways to accomplish this, and it does not necessarily mean using the same approach as you did in college. I will present models for inquiry lab work, including ways to structure whole-class labs. We will work on labs that can be taught in a variety of ways: using traditional meter stick and stopwatch tools, computer-based data collection, video resources, or simulations.
    • If you teach Mechanics in a full year, there is time to have students do projects or do extended labs. We will explore options for interesting, open-ended and student-designed labs, as well as experiment problems and challenges.  Resources Shared I will share an extensive collection of classroom-ready resources, including “teacher notes,” labs, quizzes, tests, problem sets for group work, and College Board documents. My goal is to connect you to what you need to teach effectively, wherever you are at right now. I will do my best to find what you need, even if I don’t have it ready at hand. 

Quotes from 2020 APSI Evaluations 


  • “Marc is an excellent instructor. He shares ideas, best practices, and insights he has learned through his own Professional Development, and through administering professional development to others. He goes out of his way to help teachers have what they need to successfully teach the course.”
  • “Marc Reif was an excellent instructor, very engaging.”
  • “The instructor was amazing. He seemed genuinely concerned if participant was struggling with logging in to the class at anytime. He worked well with any technology set back. I think I received more content by learning online.”
  • “Marc Reif was a great instructor. He was very helpful and had lots of resources to share with us. I really enjoyed taking the course with him.”

See Marc Reif’s blog about Physics Teaching at