AP Physics: A New Frontier

Alex Castillo, Copy Editor

As the world continues to go paperless and rely completely on computers for day-to-day tasks, jobs in the sciences are in constant supply for college graduates. Downey High School has paid close attention to these changing times and has decided to offer AP Physics 1, the first AP Physics course in the history of the school.


The class, taught by Mr. Nelson, is already a huge success, with significant interest by students and a solid amount of seats being filled in the class.


Nelson has managed to smoothly integrate AP Physics into his schedule and the class is producing the results he expects.


“They [the students] have taken the challenge on very effectively and done very well with it,” Nelson said. “I’m working with people that are capable and bright, and I know that and they know I know that. We’re taking a little more time to do things to create labs that work.”


As for the students, they feel confident in their abilities and also carry their own sense of self-efficacy and know they can produce results to match the AP standard, even when they are creating their own labs for the first time. With a general outline, Alan Delatorre, 12, along with the other students are able to test their limits and learn new concepts hands-on.


“Generally he [Nelson] tells us what we should be aiming for [and] what our objective should be,” Alan Delatorre, 12, said. “Then from there we decide. It basically works like how it would work in real life. You succeed, or you fail and you try again.”


Joseph Lee, 12, is an experienced AP student, having participated in a myriad of the AP courses offered at Downey High School such as AP English Language and Composition and AP Psychology. He is one of the few who have taken the leap into the new AP Physics 1 course and are now tasked with creating their own labs to verify a concept or equation.


“It gives you a chance to be creative,” Joseph Lee, 12, said. “You can meet the purpose in different ways.”


AP Physics 1 covers a variety of new topics such as thermodynamics and rotational motion, while expanding on topics such as kinematics and electricity. This course is considered essential by most top tier colleges if a student plans to major or work in technology, engineering, computer science, aviation and the military. Now that this class has been implemented in the school curriculum, it is safe to assume that new DHS students will eventually be able to enroll in not just AP Physics 1, but also AP Physics 2 and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism.