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A Proposed “Physics First” Pilot Program in Three High Schools in the Baltimore County Public Schools Towson, Maryland presented by George Newberry Coordinator.

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Presentation on theme: "A Proposed “Physics First” Pilot Program in Three High Schools in the Baltimore County Public Schools Towson, Maryland presented by George Newberry Coordinator."— Presentation transcript:

1 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

2 Biology, Chemistry, and Physics – Typical Sequence of Science Courses in High Schools Today ( Recommended by the esteemed Committee of Ten in 1894! ) Now Here’s an Egg of an Idea... Could it Possibly Be Time For A Change ? Change the Course Sequence to Physics, Chemistry, and Biology

3 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 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 Revisions to Core Learning Goals in Science -- Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science

4 A Major Curriculum Recommendation Contained Within All of These Factors... Teach Physics FIRST in the high school course sequence

5 AAPT Statement 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, Preamble “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 AAPT’s goal of ‘physics for all,’ as well as to lay the foundation for more advanced high school courses in chemistry, biology, or physics.”

6 “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 STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FROM THE ENGINEERING SOCIETY OF BALTIMORE

7 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... Baltimore County Public Schools Blueprint for Progress Performance Indicator for Goal All students successfully completing Algebra I, biology, English 9, geometry, and government will pass the Maryland High School Assessment on their first attempt.

8 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 D’s and E’s on the end of year exam in biology. Data Source – BCPS Biology End of Year Exam (Patterned on Biology HSA) THE QUESTION IS

9 Research/Observations on Physics First Physics is the foundation for chemistry, and chemistry is the foundation for contemporary biology. More students enroll in upper level physics. More females enroll in upper level physics. Student achievement in upper level physics is enhanced. The mathematics required is consistent with math offered in grade 9 (Algebra I). Physics topics are of high interest for 9 th grade students.

10 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 Physics Topics include: Speed and Momentum Acceleration Work and Power Machines Newton’s Laws Types of Waves Wave Interactions Energy Transformations Law of Conservation of Energy Electrical Energy and Circuits Chemistry Topics include: Water as Universal Solvent Physical & Chemical Changes\ Law of Conservation of Mass Fluids Classes of Matter The Periodic Table of Elements Chemical Behavior Balancing Equations Concentrations of Solutions Solubility Behavior of Electrolytes Physical Sciences Refresher

11 “Biology used to be about cutting up critters and looking at their innards. Now it’s all molecular. It’s 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 school’s new approach to teaching physics first. Newsweek, April 22, 2002

12 “About 1/3 of the Items in the MSDE Biology High School Assessment are in the area of Biochemistry.” Gary Hedges MSDE Science Specialist for Biology

13 Sample Items from 2001 Biology HSA

14 Another Sample Item from 2001 Biology HSA

15 What’s Required is a Paradigm Shift Physics First, Chemistry Second, & Biology Last

16 Nationally Many high schools have taught physics as the first course in the sequence, followed by chemistry, and then biology.

17 The Principles of Physics course is conceptually-based as compared to physics taught using a theoretical/mathematical approach.

18 Physics Taught at the Theoretical/Mathematical Level T = 2 d g Response Time

19 Physics Taught at the Conceptual Level Response Time T =2 d g

20 Algebra I Principles of Physics New Technology Education Course (designed to support the application of physics concepts and Algebra)

21 Active Physics is the Text Proposed for the Principles of Physics/Algebra I/Tech Ed Curriculum Partnership in Three Pilot Schools for Woodlawn High School Milford Mill Academy Dundalk High School Schools

22 “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.” Bob Lane National Board Certified Physics Teacher Active Physics Pilot Teacher at Suitland High School, PG Co

23 “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.” Eleanor Smith Earth Science Teacher, PG Co Active Physics Pilot Teacher

24 What Does This Look Like Beyond Grade 9 ?

25 Chemistry in Grade 10 Acids and Bases Atoms Bond Geometry, Bond Tension Chemical Reactivity and Relationship to Structure Equilibrium Fundamental Reactions Kinetics Organic Chemistry Oxidation - Reduction Periodicity Radioactivity, Atomic Stability Simple Chemical Bonding Thermodynamics Supported by Geometry and ChemTech

26 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 Evolution Heredity Interdependence Among Biota/Abiota Levels of Organization: Cells, Tissues, Organs, etc. Macromolecules – DNA/RNA, Carbs, Lipids, Proteins Photosynthesis Reproduction Trends and Cycles Water Chemistry Supported by Algebra II and BioTech

27 Earth and Space Science in Grade 12 Tools and Techniques of Investigating Earth and the Universe Gravity and Microgravity Environments Formation of the Universe and Solar System Sun - Earth Connections Interactions of Sun - Earth - Moon System Atmospheric and Oceanic Circulation Climate Structure of Rocks and Minerals Rock Cycle Plate Tectonics Geologic Time Supported by other mathematics, science, and technology electives.

28 “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world!” Albert Einstein,

29 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

30 “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.” Hameed Sharif Science Teacher Coordinator PG Co

31 “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.” Earline Richardson Science Teacher Coordinator Bladensburg High School, PG Co


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