Physics First

McGill-Toolen High School

Timeline

Date(s)Activity relating to Science Sequence
 13,699,998,000 B.C.Physics is used from the initial “Big Bang” with high temperatures, density and relativistic speeds (based on standard model & background radiation readings.)
 13,699,618,000 B.CChemistry useful at estimated time of the formation of the atom (mostly Hydrogen based on simulations using the standard model of early universe).
 3,499,998,000 B.CBiology useful from estimated time of simple single cell organisms called prokaryotes (from earliest fossil evidence).
1893Committee of Ten states optimal instructional order of sciences in United States Secondary schools to be Biology, Chemistry and then Physics
1896McGill-Institute founded by Felix McGill with initial site at Chandler residence on Government Street.
1903Photoelectric Effect paper by Einstein lays groundwork for physics explaining chemistry, electron ejection energies and spectral analysis.
1906American Societies for Experimental Biology formed to advance the sciences of bio-chemistry and molecular biology using experimental method.
1928Bishop Toolen High School (for girls) formed by Bishop Thomas J. Toolen
1973McGill-Toolen Catholic High School formed by merger McGill & Toolen
1975-1982“Inquiry Physical Science” (IPS) program for MT freshman) appeared associated with achievement as indicated (by Mr. Bill Lee, former principal)
1984Physics before Chemistry article proposing high school science sequence change (The Physics Teacher, Haber-Schaim)
4/4/06Exploration 1:  “Physics First” mentioned in meeting with Principal (M.Haas) and President (Fr.Shields) who agreed change go through appropriate channels.
11/18/06New Building:  Architect liason describes science building plan with one physics lab.  One more room for physics requested based on current curriculum.
 9/18/2007Research Request:  President Bry Shields requests investigation of “Engineering the Future” based in the Boston Museum of Science.
10/10/07Research Trip:  Science Co-Chair (TB) observes classes in Boston Public Schools using “Engineering the Future Materials” & meets with project presenters.
12/13/2007Exploration 2:  MT President (FBS), Principal (MH), Teacher (RF), Science Co-Chair (TB) & Curriculum Supervisor (KA) discuss feasibility of science curriculum change at MT to “Physics First.”
12/13-15/2007Exposure:  Email to staff specifically describes new sequence of Physics First.  Personal discussion.  Websites and research notations provided.
1/2/2007Formal Research Presentation I:  Presentation of research to science staff and counselors. “Physics First” curriculum (PFC) with emphasis on experience (at local schools), research (in journals) and on a school implementing PFC similar to MT (Clayton High, MO).  Open Discussion
1/8/2007Formal Presentation II:  Presentation of research to science staff after school (some chose to attend differentiated learning session.)  Presentation focused on research from journals and opponent views of  “Physics First Sequence”.  Open Discussion
1/24/2007

Final Presentation & Staff Vote: Formal presentation of research to science staff, administrative staff (Chair of Mathematics) and counselors. Counselor Ellen Falzini presented expected student routing through the curriculum proposed.  Open Discussion provided & Vote by Science Staff Only:                                              

Physics Freshman Level Course?  Yes:12    No:0

Year to Start?               07-08:4   08-09:8    09-10:0

Committee Implementation?          Yes:10     No:1

Implementation                Immediate:8    Phased:3

Sequence (Full=Ph-Ch-Bio)        Full:1    Partial:1

1/25/2007Presentation to Theology Chair: Described sequence to Theology Chair (PA)  Sequence fits with Biology parallel to Moral Theology (gr 11).
1/31/2007Research New Sequence Burn In: Science teacher (BS) provides analysis of subject by level enrollment over for the 4-year implementation period . 
2/9/2007Selection II: Principal (MH) directs Co-Chairs to plan assignment changes & training given inverted sequence projections.  
2/10/2007Architect Liason (SD) informed of new sequence (with expected student load changes.)  Physics labs increased to 3of 8 rooms in new building.
2/16/2007Central Office curriculum supervisor (KA) advised about timeline, state course of study, projected plans for new sequence mailed and emailed
3/1/2007Teachers Recruited: Teachers (DM, DB and BS) volunteer as freshman physics teachers committed to summer training in 2007-8  + implementation duties.
5/16/2007Final Training Budgets planned with curricular supervisor  for summer training over a 3 weeks in Physics content and methodology.  Teachers provided expenses (to be reimbursed.)
5/18/2007Training commitments:  (DM) agrees to 3 weeks of modeling.  One staff member elects to complete Masters Degree (BS)  3rd staff member declines to go based on payment reimbursement arrangements.
6/7-7/1/2007Teacher Trained: D.McEnery trained in content and pedagogy appropriate to high school freshman for a minimum of 3 weeks during the summer of 2007 (ASU)
8-12/2007Curriculum & Textbook Selection: Physics First Teachers discuss textbooks. Highest rating goes to “Physics: A First Course” published by CPO Science
10/22/2007Publicity Charge:  Science staff wants information regarding “Physics First” getting to parents and community.  Articles, brochure & website
11/27/2007Brochure: “McGill-Toolen Physics First” brochure designed over three week period by input of staff & final version approved by Fr. Shields.  Sent of for printing by Development office.
1/10/2008Central Office Requests: Principal contact by central office (KA) informed that approval still pending: (1) state course alignment (2) national standards alignment  (3) more detailed curriculum description (4) detailed text ratings (5) course description
1/11/2008Response to Central Office: Science Co-Chair mails out (1) state course alignment with new course in tabular format (2) national standards alignment with new course in tabular format (3) detailed curriculum description provided using modeling units from kinematics through modern physics  (4) detailed information by staff &category of textbook ratings for all texts considered (5) exact course
1/15/2008Science Department Meeting:  Science staff members strongly confirm (without dissent) 2008-9 first year implementation of science sequence change 
1/24/2008Central Office Approval: Principal (MH) phoned by central office staff (KA) and informed that approval was granted for the new sequence & course
1/25/2008

*”McGill-Toolen Physics First” brochures mailed to feeder school and leadership,

*“the Link” (Winter 2008) newsletter with Physics First sequence description mailed out to all parents, staff, coaches & supporters.

*“Course Description” of freshman physics course released to guidance for new course description booklet & upcoming registration

2/16/2008Training commitment in Curriculum Mapping for instructional leader (Tim Burgess) in Utah during July.  Staff will map freshman physics in first year of district wide curriculum mapping project.
2/16/2008Training commitment in Modeling One staff member to ASU in June (DM) 6/16-7/3/08. Second staff member to Briarwood Academy in Birmingham (DB)  6/16-7/2/08.  All do week modeling  at MT 7/7-11/08
3/24/2008Physics First Website put on line: http://home.comcast.net/~physicsfirst
 
 
McGill-Toolen Science Department