Let’s Get Physical: New AP Physics class “attracts” students

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This year, there is a new physics class on M-A’s campus. Last May, the eight juniors in AP Physics asked Jeff DeCurtins to teach another year of physics in order for them to go deeper into the subject. The new class, AP Physics Electricity and Magnetism, is officially an independent study, in which the eight students read portions of a textbook on their own. Once per week, the class meets in C-3 during sixth period to review the material with DeCurtins.

This class offers a new way to explore a specific field within physics, and allows students looking at a career in science or engineering to develop a solid educational foundation. Max Fors, a senior taking Electricity and Magnetism said, “I am planning on going into some sort of engineering field, so having this extra class […] helps me […] prepare myself.” In addition to pushing these eight students forward and giving them a more advanced background when they enter college, Electricity and Magnetism offers independent study credits for graduation. In the spring, all students will take the AP test and potentially gain credit or placement for college.

When choosing which science class to take last year, the eight juniors from AP Physics collectively decided that they would rather take another year of physics than anything else. Dante Paquin said, “I wanted to do another physics course because it’s fun for me, I love physics.” Alex Pinto, another senior, mentioned that he “needed another AP Science and we decided that physics would be the best way to go.” These seniors have a passion for physics, and this class has opened a great opportunity for them to deeply discuss a topic they enjoy so much.

According to DeCurtins, the class covers “charge particles like electrons and protons, what kind of electric field they generate and how they behave when they move through materials.” The seniors consider this class to be pretty relaxed. As Fors said, “We all sit down and we have refreshments and we do a lab and watch videos and take notes. It’s a very relaxed class, with almost no homework, so it makes it easier to have a lackadaisical sixth period.” A small time commitment is a major advantage to taking this class, allowing seniors to enjoy their final year of high school.

Although Electricity and Magnetism offers many advantages for those who take it, the class will most likely not be returning next year. There are only four juniors in AP Physics this year, compared to last year’s eight. DeCurtins has stated that he doesn’t know if he would go to so much trouble for only four students, but he is having fun so far this year. While there is a possibility that the class could return in a later year, it is more likely that Electricity and Magnetism was a special circumstance specifically for these eight seniors.

Sarah Orttung is a senior in her third year on the staff. She likes to write features and opinions to bring attention to issues that may otherwise be overlooked. She hopes that the Chronicle can be a force for social change, and is excited to help others on their staff use their voices in an influential way.

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