Conceptual Physics can be Phun

cut from next years curriculum

Photo courtesy of West Linn High School

Photo courtesy of West Linn High School

When conceptual physics is cut, a decision has to be made about where the students who already forecasted for conceptual physics will go. Not having much time for preparation, students who forecast for conceptual physics now will be put in physics, and then later chemistry.  

“Science is not a very strong suit for me,” Megan Stewart, junior said. “So I was like, ‘I’m not ready to go into physics.’”

Conceptual physics is designed to be approachable from a basic algebraic level. The A and B separation is meant to fit the conceptual physics curriculum. Not only does this affect students, but teachers as well who have been teaching conceptual physics for years.

“Science teachers work hard to develop a strong science program, and to have a class vaporize out of nowhere–what kind of message does that send?” Anonymous teacher said.

One popular theory, the VARK model, identifies four primary types of learners: visual, auditory, reading and writing and kinesthetic. Each learning type responds best to different methods of teaching.

Visual learners prefer to see info, to visualize the relationships between ideas. Auditory learners prefer to hear information, rather than reading it or seeing it displayed visually. The reading and writing learners like to interact with text. While kinesthetic learners are best categorized by experimenting, they learn the best by doing.  

“I’m a visual learner,” Maddy Tabor, sophomore, said. “I find it easier for myself if things are taught physically so I can see it.” 65% of people are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network.

“There’s definitely that divide between visual and physical learners,” Mason Price, sophomore, said. “And I think it’s important to keep [conceptual physics] for those hands on learners.”

The labs in the curriculum are designed to be hands on. At times you even get to go outside for labs so you can visually see the concept.

“When it comes to learning things, I’m a lot better in the hands on field,” Stewart said. “Where we’re going out and applying what we learn to something that matters in the real world.”

Some students like Price think it’s a good class to have, he believes the choice should be available if students want to take it.

“There is so much to learn in conceptual physics classes,” Tabor said. “Getting rid of them would be sad.”