Over the past few months, the science department has been hard at work rearranging the science curriculum and planning classes. All students are currently required to complete Earth Science (which they can test out of), Biology/Biology Honors, and Chemistry/Chemistry Honors before being given the choice of several science classes, including but not limited to Environmental Science AP, Marine Biology, and Zoology. However, as of the 2017-2018 school, the department will be adopting a program entitled Physics First, which aims to do exactly what its name implies: prioritize physics. Under this program, all students will take a basic Physics course as freshmen, and then move on to upper level classes.
Mr. Yav, one of the current regular-level physics teachers, explained that this program puts a focus on physics because it’s a good foundational course. “It allows students to be able to build their basic understanding of natural laws and basic physics concepts that can be applied to some of the upper level sciences,” Mr. Yav said.
Despite rearranging the order of classes, the program does not affect the upper level sciences or students’ selection of courses. “Students can still take biology or chemistry and then if they really like physics they can take it their junior or senior year, and they’ll have the same options. They can take Physics C if they want to study science or engineering in college, or AP Physics 1 for pre-med or business,” Mr. Yav added.
Furthermore, freshmen will not simply be dropped into a physics course designed for upperclassmen. Mr. Yav said, “The math will be tailored towards the math most freshman are at— mostly algebra, light trig. In general the math component will be very light.” This component is yet another way that Physics First prepares freshmen for other science classes, as it gives them more opportunities to use math than Earth Science or Biology classes do. “The program gives them some math practice, utilizes some math equations, and teaches them to apply or be able to analyze data and trends in graphs and interpret the graph based off their results.”
Overall, Physics First aims to prepare freshmen for advanced science classes by helping them obtain basic science concepts and math skills as early as possible.