Intro science classes provide exposure

Last spring, a diverse selection of classes were proposed and introduced to the LOHS student body. Among them were Introduction to Chemistry and Introduction to Physics, each one semester long. As of last week, Intro. to Chemistry has concluded and most of its students are transitioning into the entirely new curriculum of Intro. to Physics.

In order to receive a diploma from the state of Oregon, a high schooler must fulfill three credits of general “Scientific Inquiry” and “Lab Experience.” The state also encourages all students to take a Physics class. Lake Oswego’s requirements, which are more specific, include exposure to “geoscience,” “life science-” and “physical science.” And recently, the district has articulated that physical sciences entail both Physics and Chemistry classes.

Timothy Kay, who teaches both Introduction classes, was able to testify to the change in enrollment over time. “Historically,” he said, “we had kids who would take Chemistry but not Physics … Physics used to be the weaker end.” Since students have had the choice between regular and honors Chemistry but only the option to take honors-weighted Physics, they would more frequently opt to take the former. But now that the Introduction classes provide necessary credit without the intensity of the year-long class’ rigor, students who wouldn’t have normally taken the class have sought to enroll. The Introduction classes, Kay explained, have drawn a “mix of students”: some are looking to fulfill credit that hadn’t been previously fulfilled. Others, though, are simply looking to expand their knowledge.

According to Kay and Dr. Owen Griffiths, who teaches preliminary and AP Physics, the Introduction classes haven’t drawn students from year-long Physics and Chemistry. In fact, the year-long classes have grown in size. Said Kay, this indicates that the Introduction classes have succeeded in their intent: to make the sciences more accessible to all students.