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Physics First Also Called “Biology On Top” or “Right Side Up” Presented by: Karen Jo Matsler

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Presentation on theme: "Physics First Also Called “Biology On Top” or “Right Side Up” Presented by: Karen Jo Matsler"— Presentation transcript:

1 Physics First Also Called “Biology On Top” or “Right Side Up” Presented by: Karen Jo Matsler

2 Why do we teach the Biology, Chemistry and Physics sequence? 1893 Recommendation by Committee of Ten Biology was zoology and botany (macro- level) Purpose to train students to observe, describe, and draw for purpose of categorization Biology did not require lab equipment (physics and chemistry did)

3 What has changed in the past 115 years? Biology is no longer merely study of physical characteristics. Biology probes into chemistry and is more complex (micro-level) DNA Cell functions Enzymes, reactions Molecular structures

4 Advantages of PCB Sequence: Physics deals with concepts that can be and typically have been experienced Physics teaches HOW science works Physics empowers predictions Allows for inquiry based teaching Less safety risks Physics provides key concepts for all of chemistry Physics provides 90% of biology, astronomy, earth science, medical science Atoms are first described in physics Physics is considered the “cornerstone” by BSCS (C-to-C) cornerstone to capstone

5 Issues for Cornerstone to Capstone Lack of math sophistication for 9th grade Impact of state assessments Availability of highly qualified physics teachers Lack of appropriate curriculum materials Reluctance of teacher to embrace approach (Note: all but one of these can be addressed. The main reason San Diego was not successful was the state test was not changed)

6 Benefits of C-to-C (According to BSCS) Increased coherence across science courses Increased enrollment in science courses Increased science achievement More positive attitudes toward science

7 BSCS Recommendations for Curriculum Changes Make explicit story lines and connections across disciplines Curriculum framework (rows = 4 years, columns = concepts) Focus on conceptual development Invoke appropriate teaching strategies

8 Models of Implementation (Timeline Options) As proposed by BSCS mmary.pdf mmary.pdf Option 1: Sweeping change Occurs over 3 year period Years 1 and 2 –offer both 9th and traditional (11th) physics, biology is not offered Chemistry offered every year, but must change in year 2 to accomodate sequence

9 Models of Implementation (Timeline Options) Advantages: Accomplished in 3 years Students and teachers experience changes together (cohesive, less fragmentation) Nonphysics teachers are more aware of content in physics, use prior knowledge

10 Models of Implementation (Timeline Options) Disadvantages: Increase need for physics teachers Increase need for materials, classrooms

11 Option 2: Permanent Two-Program Model Implements C-to-C while maintaining traditional sequence Provides students 2 options Completed in 3 years Fewer enroll in biology in 9th, some in physics Year 3=half of 9th and half of 11th take biology Year 2=two different chemistry courses

12 Option 2: Permanent Two-Program Model Advantages Accomplished in 3 years Every discipline is offered every year Less strain on teacher preparation (in disciplines) Provides time for teachers to increase content areas Disadvantages Assumes resources are available Must decide who can enroll in programs

13 Option 3: Phased-In Model Cornerstone to Capstone accomplished in 6 years Begins with small cohort of students Resembles 3 years of Two–Program and 3 years of Sweeping Change Model

14 Option 3: Phased-In Model Advantages Slow implementation allows resources to be focused on need Provides time to acclimate to change Provides targeted evaluation of change process Small adjustments can occur in ongoing manner More cost effective during years 4-6, some of teachers in first half can become leads and coaches Particularly advantageous where there is resistance to change

15 Examples of Physics, Chemistry, Biology Success Glastonbury (1995) moved physics to 8th grade Increased number of females in upper level (AP) physics Upper level physics enrollment increased dramatically Increase in AP scores Increase in number of students in all AP science courses Fred Myers (Farmington, CT) Started in 1993-94 school year and affected freshman class of 1998 Changed sequence to “reflect more logical sequence” Biology discusses principles of chemistry and physics in DNA and photosynthesis

16 Examples of Physics, Chemistry, Biology Success Chemistry discusses electrons, energy levels, electric forces Enrollment in AP science tripled (Received Siemen’s Award for outstanding enrollment and achievement in AP science exams) Enrollment in honors level courses increased Highest score in state on experiment portion of exam Gene Ewald (Ohio) Taught sequence for 18 years Met weekly on Saturdays; biggest changes were in biology Physics starts with a little math/measuring and ends with atomic structure Chemistry starts with review of physics texts, structure of reactions, organic/bio Biology starts with conservations, acids/bases, gas laws, organic, then processes. “they are as ready in 9th grade as they are as seniors”

17 Supporting Research (from O’Brian) 9th graders seem equally ready for physics as College Prep 12th graders Majority of students have misconceptions and few understand Newton’s second law conceptually Existing instructional methods are not very effective at addressing student difficulty with concepts If taught in 9th grade: Needs to have strong conceptual emphasis with less focus on math manipulation Environment needs to be strongly student centered, not teacher centered

18 Supporting Research Keys to success Focused professional development throughout year (Loucks-Horsley, 2003) Content Pedagogy Spiral concepts Well-defined and planned implementation process (Understanding by Design, 1998 and/or CBAM) Needs assessment (Stages of concern (CBAM, Hall & Hord, 2001) Leadership team should involve all representative stakeholders Careful selection of instructional materials (Analyzing Instructional Materials, WestEd and BSCS, 2002)

19 Challenges Some physics concepts are difficult (acceleration) Number of available physics teachers: A few hours “won’t cut it” to retool them

20 Objections/Concerns Based on Role Parent (not the way I learned, has to be difficult to be real...) Teacher (novel approach, want best students, physics isn't for everyone...) Principal (I'm backing my teacher since I don't know anything about Physics or science...) Supervisor (see all the above, not confident enough to lead the way...)

21 Quotes Bernard Khoury (AAPT): “Physics is not just for the best and brightest, it is for everyone”. Leon Lederman (Nobel Laureate) “Physics is overarching discipline. To take chemistry before physics is like taking calculus before algebra”.

22 Textbook Options Text is resource for teachers Text is a tool, the way it is taught is paramount Active Physics; CPO; Conceptual Physics (Hewitt) new book out in July Physics Concepts and Connections, Art Hobson San Diego (2001) Only had one year of transition Did not educate the public for buy-in Had to hire 10 physics and 25 biology/chemistry teachers Did not change the state exam to match the course (you value what you assess) Exam needed more inquiry Exam was targeting 12th graders, not 9th

23 Plan of Action Study research from other districts/states Think outside the box Prepare teachers for a paradigm shift Solicit input from stakeholders Equip classrooms Professional development for all areas Curriculum focus

24 Professional Development Opportunities Physics Teaching Resource Agents (PTRA) Texas Regional Collaboratives (TRC) July 16-20 @ Lee College, Baytown July 30-Aug 3 @ University of Dallas, Irving Handout with information visit and go to Physics for All

25 Important Discussion Findings from the Texas Physics Task Force: All students deserve and should have a full year course of physics. AAPT encourages the Physics first movement. The physics/mathematics coordination is very important. The TEKS for Physics do not include mathematical computation beyond Algebra I. However, the mathematics/science correlation should be strengthened in the elementary and secondary science courses.

26 Important Discussion Findings from the Texas Physics Task Force: A good foundation K-8 is essential to the learning of physics concepts. The TEKS K-8 should be strengthened, clear, and strong all the way through a student’s science education. The integration of physics concepts in all disciplines is to be encouraged. Conceptual physics requires depth of understanding. The conceptual approach to science is encouraged and acceptable for all students.

27 Important Discussion Findings from the Texas Physics Task Force: Conceptual physics should not be a “watered down” version of science but rather a deeper understanding of the concepts through demonstrations, hands on activities, and correlations to everyday life examples. All students should have a coherent sequence of science study in high school that should include physics. If a student takes Physics they should not take PT1.

28 Important Discussion Findings from the Texas Physics Task Force: A good sequence for Physics first, if students choose to take this course, is Physics, Chemistry, Biology and either Earth and Space Science (which should include a strong physics strand since it has a pre- requisite of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics)or AP Physics “Failure is not an option”

29 Resources/Websites Fred Myers. The Right-Side-Up High School Science Sequence: 10 year report Lederman, L. M. (1998). ARISE: American Renaissance in Science Education (FERMILABTM-2051). Batavia, IL: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Retrieved June 15, 2002, from 2051.pdf G.E. Hall, 2001. Implementing change: Patterns, principles, and potholes Loucks-Horsley, 2003. Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics, 2nd edition Love, N. 2002. Using data/getting results: A practical guide for school improvement in mathmatics and science Bybee, R. Learning Science and the Science of Learning 2051.pdf

30 Resources/Websites Wiggins, G.P. 1998. Understanding by Design Curriculum Update, Summer 2004, Shaking Up Science O’Brien, M. 2006. An Investigation into the Effectiveness of Physics First in Maine. BSCS complete monograph Or|119|528|56 7&id=0||119|528|56 7&id=0|capstone_pdfs

31 Resources/Websites BSCS Cornerstone-to-Capstone Conclusion (has several pages of references) BSCS Executive Summary ft/vol_43/iss_5/319_1.html

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