Required Essay In Physics Classes

In summary, this teacher asks their honors physics students to enter the DuPont essay contest, but recommends that other students do not write a major writing project in science class.
  • #1
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
32,820
4,717
Now to be fair, this teacher isn't advocating such essay in all high school physics classes. In fact, he doesn't think it is practical. Still, he asked his honors physics class students to enter the DuPont essay contest.

Still, Linz has had success requiring his honors physics students to enter the DuPont Challenge, an annual competition requiring a researched 1,000-word science essay. I have never encountered a science teacher who insists on a major writing project, but it works for Linz. He likes the essay contest much better than the science fair. To him, competing experiments mean stacks of liability forms and debates about outside help. “I got tired of judging parents’ work,” Linz said.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/class-struggle/2010/10/required_essays_in_a_physics_c.html

Zz.
 
Science news on Phys.org
  • #2
We used to have to write up formal lab reports in my high school physics class. It wasn't practical for every lab, but two or three a year is something the teacher could keep up with and incorporate writing assignments into the science classroom. We did the same when I taught general biology many years ago...two formal lab reports were required each semester. When students came to me complaining about having to write in a science class (and yes, we graded grammar and spelling along with the science), I just pulled out journal articles and showed them how much writing scientists need to do in their profession. It shocks me when I meet grad students who can't write, and it does them no favors that they weren't required to write outside of their English courses as an undergraduate.
 
  • #3
I am in the aforementioned International Baccalaureate program - my junior year - and have to write a formal lab write up (but on a relatively short lab) once a week. I'm also going to be partaking in the 4,000 word paper due at the end of next year, but I have to begin my planning and experimentation now (although I hope to do the essay on a topic involving more theoretical physics.) Personally, I don't mind the extra work.
 
  • #4
Hi I'm applying to grad school in University of Connecticut. They are asking for a writing sample/ Research essay. what is that? I'm new to the forum so don't know where to post my quetion . please help.
 
  • #5


I understand the importance of effective communication in the field of physics. While I can appreciate the effort of this teacher to encourage his students to develop their writing skills through the DuPont essay contest, I do have some concerns about the impact of such a requirement in a high school physics class.

Firstly, I believe that the primary focus of a high school physics class should be on developing students' understanding of fundamental concepts and principles, as well as their ability to apply these concepts to real-world problems. While writing skills are certainly important, I do not believe that a 1,000-word essay is the most effective way to assess a student's understanding of physics. This could potentially take away valuable class time that could be better spent on hands-on experiments and activities.

Furthermore, requiring students to enter a competition may create a sense of pressure and competition among the students, which could be counterproductive to their learning and overall experience in the class. Physics is a subject that requires a lot of critical thinking and problem-solving, and I believe that this should be the main focus of a physics class rather than a writing competition.

Lastly, I have concerns about the practicality of this requirement. Writing a 1,000-word essay requires a significant amount of time and effort, and adding this to an already demanding high school curriculum may not be feasible for all students. Additionally, not all students may have access to the necessary resources or support to complete such an assignment, which could create an unfair advantage for some students.

In conclusion, I believe that while writing skills are important, they should not be the main focus of a high school physics class. Instead, the emphasis should be on developing students' understanding and application of fundamental concepts. While the DuPont essay contest may work for some students, I believe that it should not be a requirement in all high school physics classes.
 

Related to Required Essay In Physics Classes

1. What is the purpose of a required essay in physics classes?

The purpose of a required essay in physics classes is to enhance students' understanding and critical thinking skills by applying their knowledge of physics concepts to real-world scenarios. It also allows students to practice scientific writing and communication skills, which are important in the field of physics.

2. How long should a required essay in physics classes be?

The length of a required essay in physics classes can vary depending on the instructor's specific guidelines. However, it is typically around 1000 to 1500 words, which is equivalent to 4-6 pages double spaced. It is important to follow the length requirements as it shows the student's ability to concisely and effectively convey their thoughts and ideas.

3. Can I use outside sources for my required essay in physics classes?

Yes, incorporating outside sources is encouraged in a required essay in physics classes. However, it is important to properly cite and reference any information or ideas taken from external sources. Plagiarism is not tolerated in academia and can result in serious consequences.

4. Is the required essay in physics classes graded solely on content or also on writing style?

The required essay in physics classes is typically graded on both content and writing style. It is important to have a clear and logical structure, use appropriate scientific terminology, and follow proper grammar and punctuation rules. A well-written essay shows the student's ability to effectively communicate their ideas and understanding of the topic.

5. Can I choose any topic for my required essay in physics classes?

In most cases, the instructor will provide a list of topics to choose from for the required essay in physics classes. This ensures that the chosen topic aligns with the course objectives and material covered. However, if a student has a specific topic in mind, they can discuss it with the instructor to see if it is appropriate for the assignment.

Similar threads

  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
6
Views
964
  • STEM Educators and Teaching
Replies
15
Views
3K
  • STEM Career Guidance
Replies
5
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • New Member Introductions
Replies
1
Views
249
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
2
Replies
56
Views
5K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
13
Views
3K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
1
Views
870
Back
Top