What is First year physics: Definition and 23 Discussions

Physics First is an educational program in the USA, that teaches a basic physics course in the ninth grade (usually 15-year-olds), rather than the biology course which is more standard in public schools. This course relies on the limited math skills that the students have from pre-algebra and algebra I. With these skills students study a broad subset of the introductory physics canon with an emphasis on topics which can be experienced kinesthetically or without deep mathematical reasoning. Furthermore, teaching physics first is better suited for English Language Learners, who would be overwhelmed by the substantial vocabulary requirements of Biology.
Physics First began as an organized movement among educators around 1990, and has been slowly catching on throughout the United States. The most prominent movement championing Physics First is Leon Lederman's ARISE (American Renaissance in Science Education).
Many proponents of Physics First argue that turning this order around lays the foundations for better understanding of chemistry, which in turn will lead to more comprehension of biology. Due to the tangible nature of most introductory physics experiments, Physics First also lends itself well to an introduction to inquiry-based science education, where students are encouraged to probe the workings of the world in which they live.The majority of high schools which have implemented "physics first" do so by way of offering two separate classes, at two separate levels: simple physics concepts in 9th grade, followed by more advanced physics courses in 11th or 12th grade. In schools with this curriculum, nearly all 9th grade students take a "Physical Science", or "Introduction to Physics Concepts" course. These courses focus on concepts that can be studied with skills from pre-algebra and algebra I. With these ideas in place, students then can be exposed to ideas with more physics related content in chemistry, and other science electives. After this, students are then encouraged to take an 11th or 12th grade course in physics, which does use more advanced math, including vectors, geometry, and more involved algebra.
There is a large overlap between the Physics First movement, and the movement towards teaching conceptual physics - teaching physics in a way that emphasizes a strong understanding of physical principles over problem-solving ability.

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  1. Y

    Other Trouble recalling details from first year Physics

    Hey everyone! So, I’m starting my second year of physics this Wednesday ,but I have a bit of a problem. I’m having trouble recalling concepts and fundamental details from first year. I took a full year physics course in 1st year (divided into kinematics/ dynamics -first half and Electricity...
  2. astroman707

    I What math topics should one master for first year physics?

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  3. M

    Intro Physics Suggestions for a 1st Year Physics Book/Program for Small ND School

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  4. J

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  5. T

    Intro Physics Seeking a good Undergraduate physics textbook

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  6. DanielleG

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  7. gauss44

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  8. H

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  9. C

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  10. N

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  11. M

    Motor Principle and Magnet on Balance

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  12. C

    Best open course lectures on first year physics?

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  13. Summer95

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  14. O

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  15. BloodyFrozen

    Find the Best First Year Physics Textbook - Calculus Included!

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  16. A

    Basic Kinematics Questions, first year physics

    An object's motion can be described by a function that relates its position x (in meters) to time t (in seconds). Let this function be x = 6t2 + 2t + 4 What is this object's acceleration? I tried inputting 6, but it counted it wrong...
  17. L

    First Year Physics help regarding waves

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  18. N

    Claim AP cred. for first year physics?

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  19. D

    First-Year Physics: Comparing Tipler, Serway & Jewett, & Young & Freedman

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  20. E

    You're in pretty good shape first year physics textbooks

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  21. L

    Gaining a Head Start with First Year Physics: Resources and Motivation

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  22. H

    Is Algebra-Based Physics Enough for Advanced Level Courses in Second Year?

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  23. T

    First Year Physics Help Needed

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