College Physics A Strategic Approach, 4th Edition, AP® Edition © 2023

College Physics: Explore and Apply encourages taking an active role in the learning process through a user-friendly approach.

  • This is the first text to use an investigative learning approach to teach physics. 
  • Allows student to practice scientific skills such as observing, analyzing, and testing, and to build scientific habits of mind. 
  • Prepares students for success in the AP® course and on the AP® exam. 
  • Consistent with the goals of the Next Generation Science Standards and the AP® curriculum. 
  • This program is accompanied by Pearson's Mastering® Physics with eText.

Focus on the Why of Science with a Contemporary AP® Physics Curriculum

Deepen students’ understanding of basic physics through relatable scenarios and research-driven learning.


Prepared and Confident

By building big-picture understanding and critical thinking skills with real data and engaging materials, students come to class ready to participate.


Maintaining Interest

The combination of relevant stories and visually impactful materials drives comprehension and a sense of achievement that motivates students throughout the course.



Lesson plans pull from biology, chemistry, and other familiar scientific fields to show how they are tied to physics. College Physics leverages student knowledge to push it forward.


Get the Most from Your Class Time

The Mastering® platform provides a hub for students and teachers to find assignments and the resources that motivate curiosity and individual growth throughout the course.

AP® Physics Teaching Solutions

  • Real-World Connections Make Physics Relatable
  • Understanding the Big Picture
  • Developing Strategic Problem-Solving Skills

Real-World Connections Make Physics Relatable

  • Practical Applications
    New material stresses the application of physics to life sciences, covering structural color in animals and plants, the electric sense of different animals, the circulatory system, and others.
  • Real-World Data
    Expanded usage of exclusive real-world data in hundreds of new end-of-chapter questions and problems help students make sense of answers grounded in the real world. Physics is shown at work in realistic, interesting situations that pair with equations, ratios, and graphs to test and develop different kinds of reasoning at varying levels of difficulty.
  • Interesting and Realistic Situations
    Examples throughout the book use the chapter concepts to explore interesting, realistic situations, from how bees use electric fields to locate promising flowers to how a study of force and torque in the jaw explains why dogs have snouts and cats don’t.
  • Connection to Other Courses
    The curriculum connects physics to other courses students are likely to take. For example, a new section links the concept of the conservation of energy to topics from chemistry, including ionization energy and the role of a catalyst in reactions.

Understanding the Big Picture

  • Learning Objectives
    Learning Objectives are keyed to relevant end-of-chapter problems. They help students check their understanding and guide them to choose appropriate problems that optimize their study time.
  • Enhanced Chapter Previews
    Enhanced Chapter Previews focus on the three most important ideas and align to specific learning objectives. In addition, they explicitly mention the one or two most important concepts from past chapters.
  • Stop to Think Questions
    Stop to Think questions give students a chance to build on their knowledge from previous chapters and integrate it with what they are about to read.
  • Pre-Lecture Videos
    30 Pre-Lecture Videos cover key concepts with demonstrations that illustrate how to solve a typical problem in a real-life situation.

Developing Strategic Problem-Solving Skills

  • STRATEGIZE Examples
    STRATEGIZE step in examples shows students the “big picture” view before going into details. Tests of this feature proved popular with students and an effective tool in teaching problem-solving skills.

Take a Deeper Look at College Physics: A Strategic Approach


Mastering® Physics from Pearson


Mastering® Physics from Pearson delivers self-paced tutorials that teachers can assign so students focus on concepts to help them succeed in the classroom.

More About College Physics: A Strategic Approach

  • Randy Knight Author Bio
    Randy Knight taught introductory physics for 32 years at Ohio State University and California Polytechnic State University, where he is Professor Emeritus of Physics. Professor Knight received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics before joining the faculty at Ohio State University. It was at Ohio State that he began to learn about the research in physics education that, many years later, led to Five Easy Lessons: Strategies for Successful Physics Teaching and this book, as well as Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach. Professor Knight’s research interests are in the fields of laser spectroscopy and environmental science. When he’s not in front of a computer, you can find Randy hiking, sea kayaking, playing the piano, or spending time with his wife Sally and their five cats.
  • Brian Jones Author Bio
    Brian Jones has won several teaching awards at Colorado State University during his 30 years teaching in the Department of Physics. His teaching focus in recent years has been the College Physics class, including writing problems for the MCAT exam and helping students review for this test. In 2011, Brian was awarded the Robert A. Millikan Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers for his work as director of the Little Shop of Physics, a hands-on science outreach program. He is actively exploring the effectiveness of methods of informal science education and how to extend these lessons to the college classroom. Brian has been invited to give workshops on techniques of science instruction throughout the United States and in Belize, Chile, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Mexico, Slovenia, Norway, and Namibia. Brian and his wife Carol have dozens of fruit trees and bushes in their yard, including an apple tree that was propagated from a tree in Isaac Newton’s garden.
  • Stuart Field Author Bio
    Stuart Field has been interested in science and technology his whole life. While in school he built telescopes, electronic circuits, and computers. After attending Stanford University, he earned a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, where he studied the properties of materials at ultralow temperatures. After completing a postdoctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he held a faculty position at the University of Michigan. Currently at Colorado State University, Stuart teaches a variety of physics courses, including algebra-based introductory physics, and was an early and enthusiastic adopter of Knight’s Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Stuart maintains an active research program in the area of superconductivity. Stuart enjoys Colorado’s great outdoors, where he is an avid mountain biker; he also plays in local ice hockey leagues.
  • Table of Contents

    PART I Force and Motion

    • Representing Motion
    • Motion in One Dimension
    • Vectors and Motion in Two Dimensions
    • Forces and Newton’s Laws of Motion
    • Applying Newton’s Laws
    • Circular Motion, Orbits, and Gravity
    • Rotational Motion
    • Equilibrium and Elasticity
    PART II Conservation Laws
    • Momentum
    • Energy and Work
    • Using Energy
    PART III Properties of Matter
    • Thermal Properties of Matter
    • Fluids
    PART IV Oscillations and Waves
    • Traveling Waves and Sound
    • Superposition and Standing Waves


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