Physics for freshmen

Dr. Leon Lederman, 1988 winner of Nobel Prize in Physics discusses teaching physics first

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an article about the Missouri Physics First program, which encourages and trains high school science teachers to teach an introductory, hands-on physics course for freshmen.

❝Physics drives chemistry and biology," said Sara Torres, director of a program at the University of Missouri in Columbia that trains future ninth-grade physics teachers. "To understand chemistry, you need physics, and to understand biology, you need chemistry. So it makes sense to teach physics to ninth-graders.❞

The counter-arguement is that students need to use higher-level math to understand physics.

❝Those students don't have a sound enough basis in math skills," said Gwen Thomas, the secondary science curriculum coordinator for St. Louis Public Schools.❞

Since the intro course wouldn't replace a higher-level math-based physics course that many to most (depending on the district) students wouldn't take anyway, I love the idea of an introductory physics course for all students. This would help them see a need for that algebra they're learning, expose them to an area of science they might not see otherwise and help them better understand other branches of science.