If you just can’t get enough physics, there might be good news for you: Chelsea High School students may have to take two trimesters of the class to graduate. In order for Chelsea High School to reach the state’s science academic requirements, some adjustments must be made. In the past, eighth graders were required to take an Earth Science class, which will no longer be offered in coming years. Earth Science is being taken out of the middle school because the state has decided that there are other classes that are priorities before students enter high school. Although the state is now requiring other things in place of Earth Science at the middle school, it still wants students to learn the content of this class. According to Mr. Kapolka, to ensure that students are learning what they would’ve in the eighth grade class, the administration team is thinking about spreading parts of the class throughout all the required science courses. If they were to spread it as evenly as possible, parts of the class would be incorporated in Biology 1A, Biology 1B, Chemistry A, Chemistry B, Physics A, and Physics B. As of right now, students are only required to take one trimester of physics, but with the new state standards, the policy may have to be changed to require students to take two trimesters.
After interviewing multiple people, I have received many different opinions and thoughts on the idea of students being required to take two trimesters of physics. Some people think it is a good idea and others not so much.
For many, physics represents an opportunity to learn valuable content and improve work ethic. Physics teacher Mr. Swager, for example, said, “Physics is a good subject. I think people miss out on things by not taking the second trimester.” He also thinks it would be a good idea because “it will help kids on the SAT and ACT.” Along with Mr. Swager, an anonymous student stated that she thinks two trimesters of physics is definitely a good idea. She said the class “made me work harder in other classes because I was so used to working hard in physics.” She also explained that “taking trimester B was a lot easier because you know what to expect and you know how Swager works.” The class increased her GPA and “it sets you up for college.”
Although there are some people in favor of two trimesters of physics, there are also plenty of people opposed to it. Mr. Kapolka explained some reasons why he is opposed to requiring two trimesters. He said if students were required to take two trimesters of physics, they would have “almost no opportunities to take any science electives.” If a student plans on furthering their education in science, they need to have the option to take as many of those classes in high school as they would like. If a student does not have enough room in their schedule to do so, Kapolka believes this would be a disadvantage for them. Mr. Kapolka also believes there would be “lots of stressed out students because of the perception of the class and because of the amount of homework.” In his opinion, if students are very interested in science classes, they will most likely choose to take AP physics or the two trimesters of regular, but he “does not feel comfortable making all students take two trimesters.” Similarly, an anonymous student stated that physics is “an individualistic class; if you know you won’t need it in your career you shouldn’t have to take it.” She believes that if you are not interested in science classes at all, physics is not something you should have to take twice.
Along with some people who think requiring two trimesters is either a good or bad idea, there are also people who are conflicted and are understanding of both sides. One anonymous student stated that, “it’s good to have it because a lot of colleges look at it, but the tests should be more basic.” She said that many of the test questions were made to be trick questions or were worded in a confusing manner. Another student expressed that requiring two trimesters could offer a chance to “make the class more in-depth or take it at a slower pace.” When I started interviewing people for this article, I was sure that I would be against two trimesters of physics, but after speaking with students and staff, I feel very conflicted. On one hand, I can see why Mr. Swager would say it’s a good idea to take both trimesters, but on the other hand, I am glad I was only required to take one. After going through all the interviews, the conclusion I came to is that I am glad the decision is not up to me.