Sunday, April 27, 2014

NGSS? AP1? AP2? What physics is covered where?

Here's my first blush attempt to sort out the scope of each flavor of non-calculus high school physics.

One thing I will say about the new AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 is that they are intentionally, deliberately de-emphasizing the notion of content. They've never wanted to really spell out, in detail, the specific topics covered in each course. The College Board is keen to talk for days about the emphasis on inquiry and big ideas. They seem keen to relegate the physics content specifics to the canvas on which inquiry and big ideas are painted.

The old AP Physics B course description detailed the content coverage down to percentages. The new AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 course descriptions mention physics content as if specific topics were but an afterthought. Check out the two-page executive summaries of AP1 and AP2 and see hope much ink is devoted to identifying physics content.

In any case, I did a "back of the envelope" style stream-of-conciousness layout of physics content topics and where—if at all—they are covered in the upcoming NGSS, AP1, AP2 scheme. The green, checked topics are, in my estimation, explicitly called for. The yellow, slashed topics are implied (or, more correctly, inferred by me).

Others may object to my topic list. Ro each, his/her own. Others may read the NGSS, AP Physics 1, and AP Physics 2 descriptions differently. I may read them differently by this time, next year.


cskesler said...

My impressions about implied topics align with yours, as well as the sense of frustration. I am happy at the streamlining of content and will be glad if they do manage to cut down on trivia in favor of big ideas. However, some of these broad areas require a context and background knowledge, and I'd like to have a clearer picture of what my students will need to know to understand the conversation.

Carter in Chino said...

Overall, I agree with your assessment of topic areas, however I believe that rotational motion is a little off. AP Physics B Pretty much only required rotational equilibrium. True rotational kinematics and dynamics will be a new thing with AP Physics 1.