Teachers adapt classes to online environment

Teachers adapt classes to online environment

Peter Shen ’22 tries a classic physics experiment with materials sent by his teacher for his Honors Physics I class. This fall, many teachers are exploring creative ways to engage their students at home. Credit: Peter Shen, used with permission.

Although many educational institutions have considered incorporating in-person teaching in the fall, many have opted to host school classes and events online for the upcoming academic year instead.

On-campus events that would typically occur at the beginning of the school year are now all taking place online, such as Sophomore Orientation, Convocation, Back to School Day and Fast Start.

Since the school plans to conduct classes online for the majority of the upcoming academic year, some classes and subjects have asked students to take home additional materials.

For example, Honors Physics teachers asked students to go to campus to pick up a variety of items that they will need for the class, including a ramp, springs and 20 washers.

With both the challenges of COVID-19 and the limited number of items they could place in the box, science teachers encountered the dilemma of which labs to keep, modify and cut. Science teacher Richard Vo also said that there were a variety of other factors besides the space limitations that they had to consider when discussing the feasibility of labs.

“[The issue of labs] was something we were already really thinking hard about, like what labs were essential and really focused on the topics we really cared about, what labs were useful for students in terms of getting an idea that was hard to get unless the lab was hands-on, what labs kids liked, right?” Vo said. “What the pandemic forced us to do was really add another layer [of thinking], like how do we modify this so that it’s safe for students?”

Science teacher Heather Audesirk said all materials were not sent home for classes due to the potential hazards of certain labs. Because of this, some labs have also been substituted with online simulations.

“For A.P. Chemistry, we didn’t send home any materials because the labs we do in A.P. Chemistry are too complicated and too dangerous to try to replicate at home,” Audesirk said. “This led us to do more filming of the labs, and also we’re having [the students] spend more time figuring out how to do the experiment and less time actually doing the experiment.”

In addition to Honors Physics, Chemistry Honors teachers have also asked their students to pick up a box of materials, which includes several graduated cylinders and mystery chemicals that will be used in labs throughout the year.

For now, classes are being conducted online but will be subject to change depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic progresses over the course of the school year.

For more information regarding the school’s reopening plans click here. 

You must be logged in to post a comment Login