Freshmen get ball rolling on physics

Freshmen get ball rolling on physics

There are 13 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from May 12, 2008, titled Freshmen get ball rolling on physics. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Bucking tradition about how science is taught, several Chicago-area high schools are reshuffling courses to begin freshman year with physics.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

Paul

Melrose Park, IL

#1 May 12, 2008
Basic calculus is required to understand any level of physics, and I don't think many high school freshman are able to understand basic calculus. It's too bad that they are breaking it down to such a level that such a young age group can understand it.
Statistics101

Thornton, IL

#2 May 13, 2008
Paul wrote:
Basic calculus is required to understand any level of physics, and I don't think many high school freshman are able to understand basic calculus. It's too bad that they are breaking it down to such a level that such a young age group can understand it.
Your elitist attitude is part of what is wrong with science teaching today. If you are an example of the attitude within the older generation, it is no wonder kids turn their backs on science so early in their lives. All fields of the sciences have the "nerd" label attached to them. Hopefully this program will help dispel that. You certainly aren't going to help.
Dr Kenneth Noisewater

United States

#3 May 13, 2008
As I recall, high school Physics is not Calculus based. It does, however, require Algebra and some basic Trig. This is why I think it makes more sense to teach Biology and Chemistry first.
LuV

Mason, MI

#4 May 13, 2008
When I took AP Physics back in 1993, I remember we all complained when we learned that some of the concepts our teachers taught us in bio and chem were not accurate - and then relearned them through a physics lens. Though we had no real problems with the bio-chem-physics sequence, we agreed that it might have made sense to learn physics first.

I understand the concerns about having strong enough math skills to handle physics and think schools should offer the physics-chem-bio sequence to students who can handle it.

Since: Oct 07

Clay, NY

#5 May 13, 2008
Paul wrote:
Basic calculus is required to understand any level of physics, and I don't think many high school freshman are able to understand basic calculus. It's too bad that they are breaking it down to such a level that such a young age group can understand it.
No it is not needed. A lot of low end physics is algebra based.
YMH

United States

#6 May 13, 2008
Paul wrote:
Basic calculus is required to understand any level of physics, and I don't think many high school freshman are able to understand basic calculus. It's too bad that they are breaking it down to such a level that such a young age group can understand it.
Basic calculus is not required for high school physics. You can get by in physics in high school with learning Algebra I.

The only thing you need basic calculus in is if you are taking a Structures course or an engineering course in college. And Physics is required in order to take those courses.
sciencedoc

Evergreen Park, IL

#7 May 13, 2008
I prefer to start big, then go small. The Physics First program is designed to have more students take physics. You need three years of a lab science to get into any state school in Illinois so it really doesn't matter what the order is if you require three years of a science. Schools only requiring two years are not providing their students with enough credits to go to an Illinois college.

And, conceptual Physics is not Physics--sorry. Why not prepare students to take a real physics class?
Paul

Melrose Park, IL

#8 May 13, 2008
I never said the kids had to understand how to do multivariable calculus, but a very basic understanding is required. The algebra/trig you all are talking about that is required for basic physics is completely derived from calculus (which was basically "discovered" to explain physics).

It's not elitist. I've been through high school and college basic physics, and it is important to understand the derivative/antiderivative relationship between position, velocity, and acceleration. Good luck getting 9th graders to understand it when many 11th and 12th graders have trouble.
Paul

Melrose Park, IL

#9 May 13, 2008
And also, these comments show the sad state of this country. That when being better able to understand an academic subject is considered "elitist."
Paul

Melrose Park, IL

#10 May 13, 2008
And by being better able to understand, I mean better equipped with the tools that are required to understand it.
WYHS did it first

Chicago, IL

#11 May 13, 2008
Why is this story considered news? The Physics First program has been around for a LONG time. I was a freshman in high school in 1998, and quite a few people in my class at Whitney Young took physics as freshmen.
Physics Teacher

United States

#12 May 13, 2008
I teach physics in the Chicago area. My physics classes are calc free. Yes, calc was developed (not the present notation although) by Newton to explain physics. Most physics taught in HS is not cal based. I also teach a freshman science course that is all physics first semester changing into atomic physics and chemistry. As far as I know the school I teach at has been using this freshman physics stated science for well over 10 years.
Student

Bothell, WA

#13 Aug 15, 2008
I'm a high school Sophomore and I am allowed to take AP Physics. AP Physics is a predominant senior course, however I am ahead in math. I will be taking Pre Calculus concurrently. You do not need any knowledge of Calculus for AP Physics B, but you do for AP Physics C.

Funny that it says that high school Freshman can't understand basic calculus. Well, Pre Calculus is senior course and I am in that as a Sophomore... But I am not the furthest ahead in the world.

I know kids at my school who were in AP Calculus BC as Freshman. That isn't even 'basic calculus' and Freshman can understand it.

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