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(66,708 posts)
Wed Feb 21, 2024, 07:33 PM Feb 2024

Local HS Adjusting Science Curriculum

I substitute there. Sizeable district of around 500 students per grade.
For 5 years, I've been telling that that I thought it was unwise to have freshman taking chemistry.
I could tell that many were absorbing nothing because of the abstraction involved.
Well, yesterday I found out that the faculty advisory board voted to move chemistry to sophomore year. (I still think that's too early, except maybe for the Honors kids.)
Since thus year's frosh already took chem, they'll still have to take biology next year. But, so will the incoming freshmen.
Not sure how they're going to do it. Chem teachers teaching biology for a year?
So, they listened to me even though they didn't listen to me.

6 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Local HS Adjusting Science Curriculum (Original Post) ProfessorGAC Feb 2024 OP
I agree with you! QED Feb 2024 #1
Good to hear they listened to you! elleng Feb 2024 #2
They Didn't Really Listen To Me ProfessorGAC Feb 2024 #3
gotcha elleng Feb 2024 #4
Wow IbogaProject Feb 2024 #5
I'm Just A Sub ProfessorGAC Feb 2024 #6


(2,793 posts)
1. I agree with you!
Wed Feb 21, 2024, 07:47 PM
Feb 2024

I taught HS Chem for 20+ years. Juniors can handle on-level Chemistry but Sophomores not so much. It's a matter of concrete thinking as well as maturity.

I retired last May but earlier this school year I did a long-term sub job at a school in my district. At this school sophomores took on-level Chem while at the school I retired from taught juniors. The juniors were much better able to grasp the abstraction. Maturity was a real issue with the sophomores - fart noises during exams, kicking tables, knocking papers on the floor, leaving a mess behind. I was never so glad to have a job finish - and won't do another long-term sub job. I'm supposed to be retired!

I still sub a couple days a week but that's my limit - unless it's for a teacher in my old department. It's great to be back "home" for a little while but not every day.


(133,150 posts)
2. Good to hear they listened to you!
Wed Feb 21, 2024, 07:48 PM
Feb 2024

Chem not taught in freshman year @ my high school (last year @ the Jr. High school,) do remember not liking chem teacher, creepy guy. Too bad.

Don't recall high school Bio, but did well in freshman college bio class (tho huge class.)


(66,708 posts)
3. They Didn't Really Listen To Me
Wed Feb 21, 2024, 08:00 PM
Feb 2024

They just coincidentally changed what I expressed was an issue, 5 years after I brought it up.
My PhD is in physical organic chemistry so I kind of know the thought processes & the learning sequence that makes sense.
As another reply stated from experience, and from my HS days, chem should be a junior level course.
At least sophomore year is better than the first year.
Biology is likely better, because it helps kids organize concepts & learn the "what" before they take disciplines involving abstraction and "how" things work.
At a few other HS, freshman take Earth Science, which is kind of general science with a little more depth than what they had in junior high. Then, bio, chem & physics in that order.
That makes more sense to me. I might even put physics ahead of chem.


(3,041 posts)
5. Wow
Wed Feb 21, 2024, 09:25 PM
Feb 2024

My kid is doing chem in 10th grade. I did Advanced Bio in 9th, Adv Physics in 10th, Chem in 11th and Adv Chem in 12th. I was out of place doing Physics b4 chem, but I wasn't the average student. Just keep at it and look for supporting information to what you suggest is better for student success.


(66,708 posts)
6. I'm Just A Sub
Wed Feb 21, 2024, 09:28 PM
Feb 2024

I've got no clout. I am subject matter expert, but not an educator.
I just have a personal interest because I see these kids in math & science classes 60 or 70 times a year.
It's just a useful hobby.
I live near Chicago so golf is not a 365 day a year avocation.

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