Physics First

McGill-Toolen High School

Common Questions


EPerSpL4      MTSNotC     

What will be the sequence of science courses for the high school?  

Physics is taken the freshman year.  Chemistry is engaged the sophomore year.  Biology is required of all students the junior year.  Senior choose an elective science the senior year.


What is meant by a coherent sequence of the sciences?  

A coherent sequence is the order in which the science learned builds on earlier understandings.  A coherent science sequence would first establish a fundamental understanding of energy and then gradually arrive at the advanced processes (invovling energy) found in biology.   Physics provides an understanding of energy.  Energy is involved in all chemical reactions.  Chemical reactions are the basis of all biological functions.  


Will this limit the number of science courses a student may take?  

No. The new curriculum will allow students to take an elective science at the the senior level.  Advanced Placement Sciences (including Biology, Chemistry, and Physics), Organic Chemistry, Advanced Physics, Marine Science, Anatomy, Physiology and other courses will be available the senior year based on student interest.  Some students may elect to take senior level electives in the junior year in addition to the junior level biology course.


Why is the change occurring now?  

The Science Department recognized an opportunity to change the sequence in light of the success of the capital fund drive to provide state of the art science facilities.  The new science building was designed to facilitate the new science sequence and the projected changes in student course selections.


How will students be placed at different levels each course in the sequence?   

The McGill-Toolen guidance and science departments will work to place students where they will be challenged and successful.  The school will offer honors, college prep, and general studies level classes at all levels of science in the school.


Will the students be prepared for the math required for the freshman Physics course?  

The math requirements will be carefully matched to the skills of the student in the classroom.  One advantage of this sequence is an increased opportunity for mathematical reasoning skills that help enhance student math skills and abilities (based research over a number of years) .


What textbook will be used?    

“Physics: A First Course” textbook published by CPO Science (2005).  Note:  "CPO Science" is the new name for the company formally known as "Cambridge Physics Outlet".


Who will be teaching this course?   

Teachers of science (presently on staff) who have volunteered and have received special training will be teaching this new freshman level physics course.  The training includes the development of teacher skills in both the appropriate content and the most effective instructional strategies useful in freshman physics classes.


How does this affect current students at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School?   Current students will continue with the current curriculum:  Biology for the sophomores, Chemistry for the juniors and then Physics, Anatomy and Physiology, Marine Science or the AP courses for seniors.   


If you have more questions please feel free to contact the Science Department Co-Chairs:

       Dr. Tim Burgess at 251 432 0784 ext. 2868 

          or via e-mail:

McGill-Toolen Science Department