Physics First

Physics First Rhode Island High School

Reform Initiative

American Association of Physics Teachers takes a position on Physics First


Click here to read the Symposium Flyer

Physics First continues to build excitement
On May 10, 2007 Nobel Laureate Dr. Leon Lederman visited Rhode Island.  He was the featured speaker at a breakfast meeting .......

Portsmouth High School 9th graders Samantha Augustine and Justin Booth visit with Nobel Laureate
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American Association of Physics Teachers takes a position on Physics First

Physics First Teacher Resource page
    Check out the PowerPoints from the summer institute, plus the new PowerPoint used in the workshop on Oct 21, 2006 dealing with Bernouli's Principle

Governor Carcieri visits "Physics First" 9th graders at East Providence High School

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Nobel Laureate to speak at East Bay Educational Collaborative

Nobel Laureate, Dr. Leon Lederman, inspires high school science reform at January 24th reception at the East Bay Educational Collaborative.

"It is, if we do this right, a true revolution in science education.  The integrity of the three core disciplines is preserved, but now with the disciplines correctly organized, they can be connected to form a coherent and overarching wholeness which we call science."
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Dr. Leon M. Lederman
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"Physics First" Teachers Attend 8-day Training

 What is this teacher looking at?
Seven RI high schools kick off training for 9th grade physics teachers
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Media Releases

A New Way To Teach Science, EdWatch by Julia Steiny
Providence Journal, February 19, 2006

"You can't possibly maintain a 21st-century economy with a 19th-century curriculum. But our science curriculum is well over 100 years old.'

The Evolution of Physics
Mike Holtzman, Woonsocket Call, February 8, 2006

"The "Physics First" philosophy is not simply a way of tweaking science classes to make them a bit more interesting for students, said Lederman. "It's far more fundamental for instruction and far-ranging in its impacts."

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future
Having reviewed trends in the United States and abroad, the committee is deeply concerned that the scientific and technological building blocks critical to our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength.
Read the full executive summary

Physics First May Teach Science Best
Cranston Herald, December 22, 2005
No one knows exactly how the current science curriculum came into being – high school students have taken biology, then chemistry, then physics for as long as most people’s memories go back."

Physics First: A new formula for learning science
Woonsocket Call, December 4, 2005
"Next year, when Rhode Island freshmen in selected schools begin a bold and far-reaching initiative studying "Physics First," a national model, Woonsocket and Lincoln high schools will be among the pioneers."

Teaching of Science Reverses Course In Pilot Program
Providence Journal, Lincoln edition, December 1, 2005
"While the high school's new Physics First science curriculum will change how its students learn atomic, biological and chemical science, school officials say the really big bang is saved for the teachers."

Physics Gets Priority in Rhode Island
Providence Journal, November 30, 2005
"A new program at five high schools next fall will have freshmen taking a new physics course rather than the usual biology class."

Office of the Governor
State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, State House, Providence, RI 02903
November 29, 2005
"Carcieri Announces “Physics First Rhode Island” Curriculum At Five High Schools"


Background Information

American Renaissance in Science Education (ARISE) Report
A report from Nobel laureate Leon Lederman on restructuring high school science curriculum

Project ARISE

Statement on Physics First
The following statement was adopted by the Executive Board of the American Association of Physics Teachers at its meeting in College Park, Md., April 13, 2002.
The Executive Board of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) recognizes that teaching physics to students early in their high school education is an important and useful way to bring physics to a significantly larger number of students than has been customary. This approach — which we call “Physics First” — has the potential to advance more substantially the AAPT’s goal of Physics for All, as well as to lay the foundation for more advanced high school courses in chemistry, biology or physics.

Physics First Homepage
For the past 130 years, physics has been an integral part of the science curriculum at the high school level. Its current vertical position, established about 100 years ago, is now strongly challenged. The national reform movements, inclusive in Project 2061 and Standards, and documents such as Nation at Risk (1983), that responded to low science scores and an ever growing gap between science/technology and society, have all been the backbone of Leon Lederman's ARISE (American Renaissance in Science Education) educational reform. Using the theories of hierarchical learning, constructivism, and findings that show that prior knowledge of physics greatly enhances learning in chemistry and that knowledge of chemistry is beneficial to learning biology makes this reform worth examining.                                                                  

A Commitment to America’s Future - Responding to the Crisis in Mathematics & Science Education
A report from the Business Higher Education Forum on the threat to America's future

A History of the High School Science Sequence
Why has biology been taught in the 10th grade for the past 100 years and physics in the 12th grade.

Maryland Studies the Pros of Putting Physics First
Research for Better Schools

Philadelphia - The Effect of Ninth-Grade Physics in One Private School on Students’ Performance on the Mathematics Section of the PSAT

Physics First in Science Education Reform
"Biology first, chemistry second, physics third: The traditional American high school science curriculum follows this order. Education reformers do not believe this needs to be the case. In part due to poor student performance in international science assessments, some educators are rethinking the way science should be taught in the United States.

The Chicken and The Egg
District Administrator Magazine for K-12 Administrators

Physics first, chemistry next, and then biology? Does a science re-evolution make sense for your district? Forget about debating what came first, the chicken or the egg. A new trend in science is to first examine exactly how that chicken crossed the road. In other words, physics ”the exploration of energy and force” is now the first science course taught at some high schools.