Benjamin Studevent-Hickman, Science and History


My main responsibility is to teach Conceptual Physics, in most cases to students in their first year at St. Francis.  Conceptual Physics stresses the fundamentals of physics, the level of math varying by class.  It provides the introduction to the science curriculum at the high school -- a foundation for Chemistry and Biology, which students take in subsequent years.  

I also teach AP (Advanced Placement) Physics.  The AP program, run by the College Board, has four classes in the subject, each with an accompanying exam in May.  Those include Physics I and Physics II, which are algebra based, and two calculus-based courses designated Physics C: one in Mechanics and one in Electricity and Magnetism.  AP classes are, in principle, structured with those exams in mind; passing them can generate college credit (acceptance of AP courses varies by college).  I presently offer the C courses only, with Mechanics and E&M alternating year to year (Mechanics is being offered during the 2015-2016 school year).  For students who are interested in physics but not quite ready for the C courses, I offer what I call the Physics Phiesta, an extra-curricular event, usually meeting twice weekly, to prepare students for the Physics I and Physics II exams.

Like my colleagues, Luke Johnson and David Word, I occasionally teach science electives as well.  To date these have included a course entitled Light and Optics, which deals with the nature of light and its manipulation by optical instruments.  Other offerings are in the works, including Astronomy I: The Solar System (slated for spring 2016), the Physics of St. Francis Sports, and a History of Science.

Owing to my graduate work, I also offer electives through the History Department.  At present, these include a Senior Seminar called Visible Language, and an elective called, simply, Babylon.  The former provides an introduction to the scripts and writing systems of the world, and to literacy in general (especially the cognitive science behind reading and writing).  The latter looks at the social, economic, and political histories of the city of Babylon, with particular attention to its contributions to the arts and sciences, its legacy in the West, and its importance for the cultural heritage of Iraq.

For links to my class pages, with further links to syllabi, reading materials, etc., please see the sidebar.