Learning about science in high school is different from what students have done at the elementary and middle school levels. Instead of learning a little bit about each topic, students focus on a specific topic each year, such as earth science, biology, or chemistry. By the time they get to twelfth grade science, it will probably not be a required course. However, students have the option of taking a course like physics or advanced placement classes that will count as college credits. While curriculums differ from state to state, these are some general concepts and ideas students will probably study at this level if they are learning about physics.
As always, students will be expected to use scientific inquiry and mathematical analysis to study science. They’ll use reasoning, critical thinking skills, symbolic representations, and research plans. They’ll use various ways to collect, organize, and present data, such as tables, charts, and graphs. They’ll also use technology to find information and prepare presentations. Students at this level will be expected to use their large knowledge base in science, their science and math skills, their extensive database of vocabulary, and their critical thinking skills to advance in science.
Students will explore motion and learn to measure and describe it. They’ll use science vocabulary like time, velocity, and acceleration to explain it and will analyze these components as well. They’ll discuss force and where we encounter force in daily life and will learn to measure it using scientific tools. They’ll use terms like action-reaction and equal and opposite to describe pairs of forces. They’ll look at gravitational force and electric force as well. Students will learn more about energy, including the transfer and conservation of energy. They’ll identify kinetic and potential energy and make calculations to determine the amount of energy. They’ll learn about waves and explore things like reflection, refraction, speed, wavelength, and frequency.
Science vocabulary and science writing are both critical components of the curriculum at this level. Students need to understand and be able to use vocabulary not only to have a thorough grasp on physics concepts, but also to be able to explain those concepts to others. Writing about science includes things like written responses to questions, research projects, and taking notes and at this point students’ writing should be clear and concise.
Whether students are learning about science in school or at home, it requires practice and reinforcement. Practice might include homework, experiments and investigations, and online practice. There are many resources available for more information, including books, magazines, and online sources. Parents can help by encouraging their child to study, practice, and share what he or she is learning. At this level, students can benefit from teaching science concepts to others and parents might enjoy learning something new or having a refresher course!