Jessie Kong | Staff Editor

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 4.48.55 PMPhoto by Chronicle Staff Writer Asia Porter

To all seventh graders taking physical science next year, may the force be with you.

Eighth grade course options were upgraded three years ago when Physical Science, equipped with Sprint Science, became an available selection. According to Physical Science teacher Dan Little, the opportunity allows middle schoolers to get a push ahead in their high school science path.

“The school district is always looking for ways to offer more learning experiences to students,” Little said. “Physical Science is a class that all (freshmen) at the high school are required to take. In order to give some middle school students a head start in their progression through the high school science courses, the middle school decided to offer this option. By offering this to students who have met the math prerequisites, (the school gives) science-minded students the chance to dig into topics early.”

Sprint is a quick run-down of the standard eighth grade course so that students are ready to take Physical Science, Little said.

“Students taking Physical Science are still required to learn the eighth grade course material,” Little said. “This is why all students who take Physical Science are also enrolled in Sprint Science. (Sprint) Science is an accelerated version of the normal eighth grade course. This means that they will cover the same concepts that are learned in the other eighth grade classes, but they will do it faster than all of the other classes.”

According to Sprint Science teacher Audrey Daubenmerkl, eighth graders taking the class will learn about Earth and life sciences.

“For Earth science, we study the theory of plate tectonics and other forces that shape the land such as weathering, erosion, and deposition as well as geologic history,” Daubenmerkl said. “In life science, we learn about the fossil record and how species have changed over time. We also study the different types of reproduction and how traits are passed from parent to offspring.”

According to eight grader Claire Hu, Sprint Science goes hand-in-hand with Physical Science.

“I had to (take Sprint Science in order to) take Physical Science,” Hu said. “I wanted it to bring me further in the science courses.”

Sprint is a simple class, Hu said.

“I think (Sprint Science is) pretty easy because we get to do readings,” Hu said.

There are a few qualities that students taking Sprint Science should have, Daubenmerkl said.

“A person taking Sprint Science should have a strong work ethic and good organizational and time management skills,” Daubenmerkl said. “Students taking Sprint Science can expect to have homework almost every day.”

Physical Science students will be more successful if they have some distinctive traits too, Little said.

“They should have a strong math background,” Little said. “The first part of the year is really difficult to understand if you struggle in math class. The other qualities that are necessary would be a love for science. You should be curious about our world and universe and you should have an interest in digging deeper into chemistry and physics concepts. People in the class who refuse to give up on themselves will always have the chance to master each objective. So being a hard worker who values their own success is also a great trait to have.”

The physical science course will cover multiple topics that help explain how the world operates, Little said.

“As a general summary, we cover concepts related to motion, force, energy, electricity, waves, classification of matter, atomic structure and the periodic table, and astronomy,” Little said. “Kids taking this class will learn an insane amount about their world and universe and why things behave the way they do. It is a higher level course for eighth grade students and lays a science foundation for students that will help them for the rest of their high school years.”