Dear Physics Parents,
Recently in Dietrich, Idaho, a biology teacher is under investigation after several parents complained about a lesson on human reproduction. The parents said they simply wanted more notification about class content. I think such notification is a great idea, and thus my letter to you.
Right before spring vacation, I asked my physics classes what topic they wanted to learn about in the fourth quarter. The students overwhelming chose astronomy. They also made it clear they wanted to learn about how and why the universe works as it does, rather than simply memorizing the phases of the moon and names of the constellations.
As a result, we will be talking about some sensitive topics. You may wish to have your child opt-op of class on those days. These topics include:
Newton’s Theory of Universal Gravity. The driving force behind most astronomical phenomena is gravity. And, of course, it is “just a theory.” There are many problems with Newton’s Theory and it can’t explain everything we observe. I anticipate some of you may wish to pull your children out of class on those days so it doesn’t conflict with the Theory of Intelligent Falling they might be learning at home.
Moon Landings and Space Exploration. This is another controversial topic for some families. A decade-old Fox documentary questioned whether men have really landed on moon. It used physics in an attempt to beat NASA at its own game and show the moon landings were a hoax. I understand if you would like your child to stay home when we talk about the composition of the moon rocks the astronauts brought back and how NASA engineers applied Newton’s Theory of Gravity in order to make those journeys happen.
Giggle-inducing Scientific Terminology. Uranus, excited state, naked singularity, panspermia, ram pressure, Trojans, black hole, galactic bulge, hadron, space probe, parsecs, and 21-centimeter emission, to name a few. These are not “dirty words.” They are official scientific terms and we will need to use them in class.
Despite these sensitive and controversial topics, I do hope you’ll still keep your child in class. It’s always best to know both sides of an issue in detail.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesistate to contact me.