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WWYD- science sequence suggestions

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What would you do for a STEM-oriented (currently is more interested in the biological sciences than physics or engineering, but too early to tell) ninth grader who has had algebra 1, geometry, and did Conceptual Physics with some additional problem solving at home this year for eighth grade.


Parents feel comfortable with biology and chemistry at home, but would outsource for physics and any AP courses. I feel fairly confident he would double up on sciences for a year or two later in high school. Right now, his interests would direct him to taking AP (or DE) BIo and Chem while in high school.


Should we do

9 Chemistry (concurrently with algebra 2)

10 AP Chemistry (pre calc)

11 Biology and Physics (algebra based but more intensive than CP) or Bio and Anatomy/Phys.

(Calculus concurrent)

12 AP Biology and maybe marine bio or AP Bio and AP physics C (if no physics in grade 9-11)


Or should we do physics again, but honors with Derek Owens or some other online class, and then


10 Chemistry

11 Biology and AP Chemistry

12 AP Biology and ? Elective


There are several things which contribute to my dilemma. The first is, that I just don't feel CP is really a high school level physics class for him. Certainly I won't give high school credit for doing it in eighth grade, and regardless, I know he needs a better physics class during high school at some point.


The second is that the new AP physics choices have me confused. I don't know that this student will want or need to take calculus based physics in high school. I suppose if he doesn't, dual enrollment for physics might be a possibility.


The third is that AP Chem is challenging. I don't know if it is best for him to take it in tenth grade. While he is bright and a strong student, right now he is also in some ways a typical 13 yo boy. It is hard to imagine him studying for an exam like this on his own initiative in a couple of years. I know they do grow up a lot. But it's hard. It seems to be best to take it the year following the first chemistry course, though.


Or we could forget the "physics first" order and do

9 Biology

10 Chemistry (and AP Biology?)

11 AP Chemistry

12 AP Physics, one or both of the C courses or maybe one of the other ones (which I am still confused about) or regular honors physics and AP Bio

Edited by Penelope
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I'd require chemistry, biology and physics in high school. For your son, I'd lean toward doing bio and chem early which will open the option of taking a more advanced AP version later. I wouldn't do physics first as he just did a conceptual physics course and would need at least an algebra/trig based physics course next.


I try not to plan too far out as things change a lot from year to year.

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I would start by saying, any of your sequences will work. I would choose science for next year and worry less about sequence. Having just done Physics, I'd probably have him do Bio followed Chem. Which would he like to take next year? Really, it doesn't matter, let him choose. 


Since he is interested in science and has already had an intro to physics, I would require Chemistry and Biology in the next two years (any order) and let him decide if he wants to add a second science to those years (maybe a more challenging Algebra based Physics). Then the last two years he can pick the AP level sciences he'd like to do.


There is no wrong answer here. He is in a great place to start the high school science sequence with both a solid math and science background. Let him make some choices and good job for having him ready!

Edited by Momto2Ns
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I was thinking AP Chem should follow Chem. Maybe because that's the way I took them, and still thought AP Chem was more challenging than AP Physics. But I can't base everything on my own experience, which is why I ask for other opinions.


I do know from experience that the science APs are very helpful for prep (not replacement for) for sciences at university. So I do think he should take as many as he can fit in. It's just a matter of how to fit them all in.


I have heard of students taking AP Bio without a bio prerequisite; thanks for reminding me about that.

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I have heard of students taking AP Bio without a bio prerequisite; thanks for reminding me about that.


I think any of the APs could be taken without a prerequisite; it really depends on the student's background as far as science (and, to an extent, math) and motivation. We used K12 science for many years, which was excellent prep. She also did an online biology and chemistry class in 6th and 7th grade...I wish I could remember now what it was called, because it was simple, but made for a wonderful foundation! I got it through that homeschool discount website years ago!

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