The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Physics B AP May Replace Physics Honors

The Science Department hopes to introduce a new AP Physics class, AP Physics B, and integrate AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism into the current Physics C class by the next school year.

“Currently at this school we only offer one AP Physics class … AP Physics C, Mechanics,” AP Physics teacher Adam Randall said. “Next year the school, Superintendent Barry Groves and [principal Wynne] Satterwhite are going to propose to the school board that we offer AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism as well as Mechanics.”

The Physics Honors class will be replaced by an AP Physics b course.

“The issue with AP Physics C is that it is a calculus-based course, so many students are concurrently enrolled in calculus as they take AP Physics C,” Randall said. “But we use [calculus] from the very beginning, so it’s difficult if you’re just learning the language of calculus and have to depend on using it on a regular basis right away.”

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Unlike course C, course B will utilize trigonometry and algebra and is intended for those who have not taken calculus.

“[Students will be] getting an exposure to similar material as they were in a regular Physics but at a higher content level … and a broader range of material,” Randall said.

Randall said that course B will be “a significant step” away from the Honors curriculum. because the school only teaches the mechanics portion of course C, students are limited to taking the Mechanics AP exam.

By adding course C electricity and Magnetism to the current Physics C curriculum, the Science Department hopes to provide students with the opportunity to take both tests.

Randall anticipates that both AP additions will help the school.

“The students benefit from having more access to more rigorous scientific curriculum,” Randall said. “…as a whole the school has more AP test offerings and the [school’s] API score benefits from students taking more tests.”

Randall said that both he and physics teacher Karen Davis are willing to take on the work necessary to teach the new courses.

To fund the courses the school must invest $20,000 into the course C electricity and Mechanics program and what Randall estimates to be $5,000 into the course B program.

The funds will be used to purchase necessary lab equipment for both courses.

“It’s pretty exciting that the school is financially supportive and the superintendent is enthusiastic about making that change,” Randall said.

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