By Harry Grigorian '19
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Dogs or cats—which are better? What colors were that dress, blue and black or white and gold? Is there a God? Should high school freshmen take physics or biology? While these existential questions all prompt fruitful debate, Nolan asked me to write about the last one, so that I will.
I guess I’ll be frank. Biology is better for freshmen for a variety of reasons.
First, biology is studying the very basics of human life itself (among other topics). We learn how our bodies work in every aspect, from breathing to our endocrine system. We learn why we need to eat fiber to survive, and how sickle cell and other diseases can affect us. These are all topics pertinent to us. While understanding why a ball dropping goes at a certain speed or how electricity works is certainly interesting, we are not yet academically sophisticated enough as 14 and 15 year olds to learn about the topics in physics that might pertain to our very bodily existence. As we continue to be more curious about our bodies and the life systems around us as we enter high school, a freshman survey course in biology is perfect to quench that academic thirst.
My other point, which I alluded to earlier, is that freshmen are not yet advanced enough in math for a full-year physics course to be worthwhile. Most freshmen have only gotten through Algebra 1 before freshman year, and this seriously hinders a freshman's ability to delve into more challenging topics. In biology however, there is no prerequisite academic requirement for studying challenging topics, as learning advanced biology does not necessitate proficiency in another course. Therefore, why not wait until Junior or Senior year, when students are likely in Precalculus or higher, to take a more advanced level of physics? Quite simply, it allows students to take an unrestricted biology course freshman year and a more advanced physics course as an upperclassman.
And so to answer some of my previous questions: the chicken. Dogs. Black and blue. I think so. Biology.