One of the latest trends in education (supported by research) is the concept of teaching around "Big Ideas." According to early childhood expert Christine Chaillé, "A big idea is an overarching idea that unifies, inspires, and resonates with children, an idea that is rich with possibilities and permits teachers and children to work together in many ways."1
At Physics Prep we believe that this concept is true for learners of all ages. The important work of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe expressed in their groundbreaking work, Understanding by Design, lays the foundation for "big ideas" through the concept of "essential questions."2 They say that essential questions refer to "core ideas and inquiries within a discipline"...and help "students effectively inquire and make sense of important but complicated ideas, knowledge and know-how - a bridge to findings that experts may believe are settled but learners do not yet grasp or see as valuable." You will find that each of our courses make the concepts of "big ideas" and "essential questions" central to learning the objectives set forth by the College Board.
In courses that are perceived as difficult, as AP* Physics courses are, it is very important that the scope and depth of the student learning activities reflect the material that the student absolutely needs to know in order to do well on the end-of-course assessments. I'm sure we've all experienced the frustration of sitting in a classroom and listening to a teacher who constantly goes off on tangents and "teaches" material that is not found on the upcoming tests. This seems to be especially true of college professors. You can be assured that the presentations given through our website reflect the exact learner objectives that the College Board uses to create the AP* Physics tests. Additionally, the presentations found in our courses are designed to be interesting (and paced appropriately) for young adults who are genuinely curious about the physical world. Try unit one of any of our courses free of charge to see for yourself!
1 Chaillé, C., Constructivism accross the Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms: Big Ideas as Inspiration, 2008
2 Wiggins, Grant, and McTighe, J, Understanding by Design, 2nd edition, 2005