Oh yeah, one more goal … Create new physics class!

My original post about my goals for the year  focused on my professional development goals – things I need to work on to improve my teaching and that I need to document for my teaching license.

I left out one big thing I will be working on this year – a new Physics class!

I am completing my on-the-job student teaching in physics during the spring semester and to do that I will be teaching a course that my school has never offered before – a semester long physics/math hybrid to seniors. (I teach at an all girls school with a heavy focus on religious education over secular studies.)

Let me first say that I am so glad my school is letting me do this for several reasons:

  1. I can student teach where I work and still get paid for it.
  2. We definitely need to offer physics to these girls (I had a past student who had entertained going into engineering – we have to at least offer an intro to physics!!).
  3. Ditto on offering math for seniors. (I’d really prefer it be a whole year-long (in fact a year of physics and a year of math would be best – but that’s a thought for another day!)).

So now to start putting together a plan for the class.  In my very early thoughts on the subject, I have considered doing a quarter (or a bit more) of typical mechanics, then following with some waves…  This way I’d be able to work in some trigonometry (which I know they have not seen other than sine, cosine, and tangent for right triangles).  I might even try to hint at derivatives with distance, velocity and acceleration – although I’m not sure how ready for that they will be.  It will be modeling based, and the students are some of my former chemistry students.  So at least they will be ready for whiteboarding and experimenting off the bat.

I’ve heard of at least one person who has put together a similar type of class.  If you have done something like this or know someone who has and would be willing to share, I’d love to have some ideas of what has worked well.

Obviously, this is a beginning idea – future posts to come with some actual meat to them!