Wednesday, April 30, 2008

And the winner is...

The San Juan Unified School District Physics Adoption Committee met for the last time and rendered its decisions on the textbooks to be used for the next six or seven years.

Physics and Honors Physics. The wisdom in some aspects of San Juan's adoption process is quite finite. Case in point: the title adopted for Physics must also be used for Honors Physics. Every bit as counter-intuitive as many classic physics demonstrations. But we settled on the 2009 edition of Paul Hewitt's Conceptual Physics. I of course could not speak on behalf of this title. But I didn't need to. The book spoke for itself. The new edition has a dynamic range and flexibility that surprises teachers who give it a thorough evaluation.

One school dissented and would prefer to adopt Holt's Physics text. I hope the district will have the wisdom to allow them to.

Advanced Placement Physics. We went with Serway and Vuille's Essentials of College Physics. It's a slimmed down version of the classic College Physics by Serway and Faughn that retains that title's chapter sequence. But the book is attractively thin and light, shedding some of the applications, depth, and end-of-chapter questions of College Physics. For high-schoolers in AP Physics, the Essentials book is deep enough.

Some details remain: the selection of some supplemental workbooks and wading through all the ancillaries. But the adoption decisions are in. And both titles are the ones I would have chosen for my own program, so I'm happy with the outcome.

For more info on either textbook, click their cover.

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