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  • Writer's pictureMark Schober

A New Physics Curriculum Project

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

Through a fantastic collaboration between STEMteachersNYC and New Visions for Public Schools, I have the great privilege to work with Kelly O'Shea in developing a new high-school physics curriculum. Kelly's leadership in this project has been visionary and the bulk of the credit for what we have produced must go to her. We are bringing together best practices in physics teaching, our own experiences, and insights from our New Visions collaborators, Kiran Purohit and Libby Chatham. 

Beyond the best physics education research inspired practices incorporated into the materials, the curriculum is structured around classroom practices that overtly support and facilitate equity and inclusion. Some of our guiding beliefs are that:

  • Every student can and should learn physics, therefore, classroom interactions must help every student to feel that they belong in the community of physics learners.

  • Every teacher can and should feel confident teaching physics, acknowledging that the majority of new physics teachers are science teachers from other disciplines.

  • Physics is a collaborative endeavor based upon observation and data, and made sense of through reasoned discussion. Collaboration must be taught and practiced in the classroom while downplaying individualistic, competitive behaviors.

The materials are designed to meet the current needs of teachers preparing students for the New York Regents exam in physics while integrating practices and approaches that will enable teachers to prepared their students well for the upcoming revision of the Regents exam that will be based on New York State's version of the Next Generation Science Standards. 

Kelly and I also desire that all the materials be open-access, freely available, and shared under an attribution, non-commercial, share-alike creative commons license. Complete this brief form to get access to the materials, which are accessible through the New Visions site. We thank New Visions and STEMteachersNYC for supporting us as we develop materials to be freely shared. This is a super-exciting project, but very much a work in progress. I'll post progress reports as we develop these materials. Progress reports:

  • As of July 2018, seven learning cycles for force and motion (version 0) have been posted and we've run a three-day workshop for a dozen New York City teachers. 

  • As of October 2019, learning cycles for Momentum, Energy, and Electric Circuits have been posted.

  • Kelly and I have offered a number of day-long workshops through New Visions to test the materials and to show teachers how these materials could be used with their students.

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