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placeholder Fatima, Lourdes, Spain: Marian pilgrimage sponsored by The Catholic Voice

In their own words:
High school leaders: What prospective students should know about their school

Maker Lab spurs creativity at Moreau

SJND seniors connect faith, service

Carondelet adopts 'Physics First' inspire students in math, science

School of the future rises in STREAM Innovation Center 6

Building people of faith at St. Elizabeth High School

Catholic ministry at Cal State East Bay

New International Student Program

Four named National Merit semifinalists

Bishop blesses, dedicates O'Dowd's Center for Environmental Studies

Holy Names interim principal proponent of all-girl school

Richmond Ceasefire walk brings message of love, forgiveness

Blessings of the animals, 2014

Police chaplain role grew from informal to active for Father Richter

Three questions:
All about the Blue Mass

Cemetery celebrates 100th anniversary

Rev. Schall: 'Everything fits together,' has purpose for being

Bishop celebrates Mass for SPRED community

Fair Trade: Change the world one cup of coffee at a time

Whitaker's music to fill cathedral

Brother Stephen Cox

Oakland judge edits 'Black Domers' book

placeholder September 22, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
Catholic High Schools Information Guide

Student Nadya Jatoft and teacher Janis Allocco in the physics lab of Carondelet High School.
Courtesy photo

Carondelet adopts 'Physics First'
inspire students in math, science

In a move designed to excite more young women about science, Carondelet High School in Concord this year has become the first school in the Oakland diocese to implement an innovative science curriculum called "Physics First."

First year students at the all-girl school now start their science studies with a conceptual, hands-on course called Physics 9 before moving to Chemistry and Biology in subsequent years — a reversal of the curriculum traditionally offered in most US high schools.

"We decided to make this change after conducting extensive research, much of which indicated that offering Physics first provides students with the foundation to better understand and appreciate the more abstract sciences," said Nancy Meyerhofer, director of curriculum innovation. "Because of Carondelet's focus on women-centered education, we were especially swayed by studies that show that girls who take Physics in their ninth grade year are more likely to continue to higher level math and science courses later in their educational careers."

The "Physics First" approach was first proposed by educational scholars in the 1990s, but has only recently begun to be adopted by high schools across the country. The idea is to expose freshmen to an introductory physics course that emphasizes investigation and problem-solving, enabling students to learn firsthand about the scientific method and real-world applications of mathematics.

Carondelet principal Nancy Libby said she is proud to have Carondelet be among the early wave of adopters of Physics First.

In the early weeks of the school year, Carondelet freshmen seem to be responding well to the new Physics 9 coursework. On Wednesdays of each week, students in Physics 9 focus on "investigation," discovering and exploring firsthand the core principles of physics. Science department chair Merrilee Silveira said, "we hope this inquiry-based way of learning will help our young women find the confidence to move forward in science, math, engineering and other fields."

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