Advanced Physics class prepares students for college
Advanced Physics is a year long class offered mainly to seniors and is taught by instructor Cheryl Shepherd-Adams.
“Physics is the study of everything,” Shepherd-Adams said. “From inside the nuclei, interactions inside the nuclei of atoms, way out to interaction on the big scale, on the scale of the cosmos.”
Physics is mainly taken by seniors but some juniors and occasionally even freshman take it. There is currently only one section offered a year.
“We spend the first three nine weeks getting through the 1600s and 1700s physics,” Shepherd-Adams said. “After that students have their choice of what area they want to study. I give them a survey at the beginning of the second semester to see what they are interested in, what might apply most to the careers they’re looking at. They choose the topics and then I put them in an order that makes sense for the rest of the school year.”
Senior Tanner Eiland said the class involves various labs where the students use math to represent the physical world.
Shepherd-Adams said the students do a lot of practice, board work and labs.
“I teach them where these laws come from,” Shepherd-Adams said. “How they have progressed over time, changing from one form in to another. So, there’s lecture, there’s board work, there are labs and minilabs. Minilabs where they just go over and investigate something really quickly and report back out on it, and formal labs where its more extensive. “
Senior Madison Karlin said her favorite project so far was calculating the coefficient of kinetic friction between a sled and the snow outside after a snow day.
The class also gets the opportunity to do an Angry Birds project, designing a device to launch a water balloon at a stationary target, a teacher.
“They go and recruit the teacher for it but a lot of times it’s Mr. Harris,” Shepherd-Adams said. “It changes up every year, whether they want to make it a catapult, a trebuchet, or a giant slingshot, whatever we can turn it into.”
Several students who choose to take Physics are considering careers requiring some knowledge of physics.
“I plan on getting a major in Chemistry which needs some physics,” senior Ashton Balthazor said.
Eiland said he plans to go into engineering, I.T., or maybe video game design.
“I took physics mostly because I like a smaller, more challenging class and I knew that I’d have to take at least one college level physics class for any of the majors I’m looking at,” Karlin said. “I think students should take Adv. Physics because it is challenging and could really help you learn to visualize mathematic concepts in everyday life.”
Shepherd-Adams said her goal was for students who plan to take physics at the college level will be well prepared and their first semester will be easy.
“I enjoy the class immensely,” Shepherd-Adams said. “It’s my favorite one to teach because it’s not one that you have to take. It’s one that you choose to take. It can be kind of scary sounding, but I hope it’s not. It’s demanding, but it will get your brain ready for college.”