A Proposed “Physics First” Pilot Program in Three High Schools in the Baltimore County Public Schools Towson, Maryland. presented by George Newberry Coordinator of Secondary Science and Hays B. (HB) Lantz, Jr., Ed.D. Director of Science PreK-12 February 2004.
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A Proposed Physics First
Pilot Program in Three High Schools
in the Baltimore County Public Schools
Coordinator of Secondary Science
Hays B. (HB) Lantz, Jr., Ed.D.
Director of Science PreK-12
Biology, Chemistry, and Physics
Typical Sequence of Science Courses
in High Schools Today
(Recommended by the esteemed Committee of Ten in 1894!)
Now Heres an Egg of an Idea . . .
Could it Possibly Be Time For A Change ?
Change the Course Sequence to
Physics, Chemistry, and Biology
What Factors Provide the Rationale for this Change?
Maryland High School Assessments
Existing Biology Assessment and NCLB Legislation
Proposed Physics, Chemistry, and/or Earth Science Assessments
Revisions to Core Learning Goals in Science -- Chemistry, Physics,
and Earth Science
Initiatives from State and National Science Education Organizations
Maryland State Department of Education
National Science Foundation
American Association for the Advancement of Science
National Science Teachers Association
National Research Council
American Renaissance in Science Education (ARISE)
Changes in the Nature of the Discipline of Biology
Integration with other areas of science, mathematics, and technology
Emphasis on abstract principles and concepts
A Major Curriculum Recommendation Contained
Within All of These Factors . . .
Teach Physics FIRST
in the high school
on Physics First
The following statement was adopted by the Executive Board of the American Association of Physics Teachers at its meeting in College Park, MD on April 13, 2002.
The Executive Board of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) recognizes that teaching physics to students early in their high school education is an important and useful way to bring physics to a significantly larger number of students than has been customary. This approach -- which we call Physics First -- has the potential to advance more substantially the AAPTs goal of physics for all, as well as to lay the foundation for more advanced high school courses in chemistry, biology, or physics.
STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FROM THE ENGINEERING SOCIETY OF BALTIMORE
We are supportive of the proposal for Physics First as a part of a grade
nine aligned curricular program with math and technology education, and are looking forward to the participation of our members in the final design of the total curricular experiences.
Mr. Michael Dick
President, Engineering Society of Baltimore
Baltimore County Public Schools
Blueprint for Progress
Performance Goal 1
By 2007, all students will reach high standards, as established by
the Baltimore County Public Schools and State proficiency levels
in reading/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies...
Performance Indicator for Goal 1
1.13 All students successfully completing Algebra I, biology,
English 9, geometry, and government will pass the
Maryland High School Assessment on their first attempt.
THE QUESTION IS
How would we do if passing the
Biology High School Assessment were required for graduation today ?
Approximately 65% of ninth grade students today are receiving Ds and Es on the end of year exam in biology.
BCPS Biology End of Year Exam
(Patterned on Biology HSA)
Research/Observations on Physics First
Physics is the foundation for chemistry, and
chemistry is the foundation for contemporary
More students enroll in upper level physics.
More females enroll in upper level physics.
The mathematics required is consistent with math
offered in grade 9 (Algebra I).
Student achievement in upper level physics is
Physics topics are of high interest for 9th
At least one major textbook publisher has acknowledged that students need a background in physics and chemistry in order to understand biology.
Holt Biology 2004
by Raven and Johnson
Physical Sciences Refresher
Biology used to be about cutting up critters and looking at their innards. Now its all molecular. Its about DNA and double helixes . . . .
Chemistry is the foundation for modern day Biology.
Richard Taylor, Dallas High School science teacher, in
support of the high schools new approach to teaching
Newsweek, April 22, 2002
About 1/3 of the Items in the MSDE
Biology High School Assessment are
in the area of Biochemistry.
MSDE Science Specialist for Biology
Sample Items from 2001 Biology HSA
Another Sample Item from 2001 Biology HSA
Whats Required is a Paradigm Shift
Many high schools
have taught physics as the first
course in the sequence, followed
by chemistry, and then biology.
The Principles of Physics course is conceptually-based
as compared to physics taught using a
Physics Taught at the
Physics Taught at the Conceptual Level
Principles of Physics
(designed to support the application of physics concepts and Algebra)
Active Physics is the Text Proposed for
the Principles of Physics/Algebra I/Tech Ed
Curriculum Partnership in Three Pilot Schools
The content of Active Physics is very appropriate
for ninth grade students. In fact, I sometimes use
Active Physics with my upper level physics classes
to help them understand the physics concepts
before they use and apply the formulas.
And, yes, this is real physics.
National Board Certified Physics Teacher
Active Physics Pilot Teacher at Suitland High School, PG Co
If you have taught middle school science or are science trained, then teaching the content of physics first poses no real problems. I have had no problems understanding and teaching the content.
Earth Science Teacher, PG Co
Active Physics Pilot Teacher
What Does This Look Like Beyond
Grade 9 ?
Chemistry in Grade 10
Acids and Bases
Bond Geometry, Bond Tension
Chemical Reactivity and Relationship to Structure
Oxidation - Reduction
Radioactivity, Atomic Stability
Simple Chemical Bonding
Supported by Geometry and ChemTech
Biology in Grade 11
Atoms (Phosphorus, Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, etc.)
Behavior of Organisms
Biological Diversity; Genetics, Species, and Ecosystem
Cell Structure and Function
Energy, Flow of Matter and Energy
Interdependence Among Biota/Abiota
Levels of Organization: Cells, Tissues, Organs, etc.
Macromolecules DNA/RNA, Carbs, Lipids, Proteins
Trends and Cycles
Supported by Algebra II and BioTech
Earth and Space Science in Grade 12
Tools and Techniques of Investigating Earth and
Gravity and Microgravity Environments
Formation of the Universe and Solar System
Sun - Earth Connections
Interactions of Sun - Earth - Moon System
Atmospheric and Oceanic Circulation
Structure of Rocks and Minerals
Supported by other mathematics, science, and technology electives.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world!
Albert Einstein, 1879-1955
DID YOU KNOW THAT . . .
In the Baltimore County Public Schools,
we have more teachers certified to teach
physics than to teach earth science.
Hays B. Lantz, Jr., Ed.D.
Director of Science PreK-12
Two physics teachers are currently using
Active Physics materials at my high
school with ninth grade students.They like
the materials, particularly the activity based
approach, which is very consistent with
the 5E model.
Science Teacher Coordinator
All ninth grade students (24 classes) at Bladensburg High School this school year are taking Conceptual Physics using the Active Physics materials. The students are very positive about being involved in an activity- based program. We have seen a decrease in student behavior problems because of this. The students are doing much better than they would have in Earth Science. Teachers are adapting well.
Science Teacher Coordinator
Bladensburg High School, PG Co