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Coach O, who teaches AP Physics at Westbury Christian, at his desk.
It has been a month since school started here at Westbury Christian. Most students have already adjusted to the fast-paced and vibrant lifestyle present in classes, sports and extracurriculars. Students from one class have demonstrated high enthusiasm and aptitude for learning, partially due to the rigorous standards of AP Physics, but also due to the unique, inquiry-based learning method Coach O incorporates into his classroom.
Ap Physics is an entirely new concept for a few students, but also a wish granted for many. Last year, our school wasn’t able to offer this class for students. But this year, we have a small group of nine students ranging from freshman to senior, taught by our head football coach Mr. Kenneth Okwuonu. Aside from the numerous challenges students are posed with, such a class also provides them with opportunities to establish new and stronger bonds with others.
The first task students were assigned was to build the tallest structure that can support a large marshmallow using a paper bag, string, tape and spaghetti sticks. Supplies were limited, and so was time. 18 minutes passed by with high tension as many ideas were being bounced around. There were three groups competing against each other - nobody wanted to lose.
After the timer went off and results were calculated, the class entered a discussion regarding the difficulties and solutions they encountered during the activity. Students mentioned how Coach O’s unusual silence and refusal to answer questions forced them to interpret the instructions on their own. Thus, the winning group was able to utilize this freedom to their advantage, while others were left in confusion and uncertainty. This was how students were introduced to the learning process of investigation and discovery, which they will get more familiar with as they dive deeper into AP Physics.
Personally, I enjoyed the experience, because it was quite unexpected. Many imagined extensive notes and lengthy lectures about variables, equations and graphs. But during these few weeks I realized that we were not strictly following the College Board course framework, because Coach O’s class is never just about flipping through a textbook.