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Home Blogs Chuck Wood NASA Physics - A New Online Curriculum

NASA Physics - A New Online Curriculum

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Written by Chuck Wood
20 Dec 2013


NASA Physics is a new, free online curriculum for high school physics. NASA Physics was created to encourage more high school students to gain some exposure to this most fundamental science. The course was designed for the two-thirds of American students who usually don't take any physics. It is a one-semester elective course, just as Astronomy, Earth Science and similar science topics often are. In one-semester, only the most important topics typically covered in a yearlong physics course can be included. That is excellent. As the recent Framework for K-12 Science Education advocates, a few big ideas should be taught rather than every minute detail. The mere size of standard high school physics textbooks is intimidating – 944 pages for one widely used book!


NASA Physics does two things, which are illustrated in the image above.  As the name implies it uses examples from NASA’s exploration of the Earth and cosmos to raise the level of interest and, hopefully, excitement about learning physics. Secondly, NASA Physics is short, selecting the most important big ideas so that students come away understanding them even if they may not have been exposed to every detail commonly jammed into a normal textbook. NASA Physics is also meant to startle sometimes; to be unlike a textbook in using interactive demonstrations and videos, and natural ways of communicating, including jokes and humor – at least we think its funny.

NASA Physics includes seven modules – equivalent to chapters in books. Each can stand independently of the others, so an instructor of any length course may select parts that they especially like, and use additional sources for labs and other content. I hope that NASA Physics will infuse new excitement and interest for physics among students who often miss it entirely. 

Visit NASA Physics at

Last update (20 Dec 2013)


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