Physics explains how the world around us works. Students interested in science, engineering, and technology will benefit from learning fundamental physics principles as early as possible. Unfortunately, most high schools do not teach physics until junior or senior year because of the common believe that, as an abstract mathematical subject, physics is too difficult for young students.

Physics Program

Leon Lederman, winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Physics, calls this approach “pedagogically dumb” and advocates teaching physics before chemistry and biology because physics is so fundamental to every other science. (As well as most major technological innovations of the past century) For mathematically talented students who have already developed abstract thinking and mastered advanced math skills, learning physics early makes even more sense.

Why Study Physics at Ardent?

The Ardent Physics Program is designed to yield the following benefits:

  • Learn Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills: Physicists use mathematics to understand the world around them. Through hands-on experimentation and mathematical modeling, we help our students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills that are useful in any career path.
  • Achieve Academic Success: We train students to think in ways that will help them excel on their AP exams and in class. By getting students to think like scientists, we prepare them to do well not only in physics, but also in biology and chemistry.
  • Impress College Admissions Officers: Colleges prefer students who have taken challenging courses over those who participated in an easier curriculum. Physics is perceived as one of the most difficult high school subjects, so a good score on your transcript will make you stand out.
  • Showcase Talent in USA Physics Olympiad: We have uniquely integrated an AP Physics curriculum with preparation for elite physics competitions to achieve synergy while learning. Top students have the opportunity to compete and excel in the USA Physics Olympiad competition.

The shrewd guess, the fertile hypothesis, the courageous leap to a tentative conclusion - these are the most valuable coin of the thinker at work, whatever his line of work. Can schoolchildren be led to master this gift? The schoolboy learning physics is a physicist, and it is easier for him to learn physics behaving like a physicist than doing something else.

Jerome Bruner, Cognitive Psychologist and a pioneer in development of Cognitive Learning Theory.

SAT II Physics and AP Physics Exam

Taking the SAT II Physics Exam and AP Physics Exam and scoring well will give you an advantage when applying to elite colleges or prestigious summer programs. This experience will also be beneficial when taking difficult college classes or conducting research in any scientific field. Taking Honors Physics and AP Physics classes will help you do well on these exams, but we recommend taking advantage of additional learning opportunities to ensure success. Here at Ardent, we provide many such courses that can help you do well on the challenging SAT II and AP tests.

United States National Physics Olympiad Competitions

Physics Olympiad

The USAPhO competition selection process consists of 3 main stages. The first exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions and is known as the ‘F=ma’ contest. Lasting 75 minutes, this test focuses on non-calculus based questions only. The top 300 – 400 students to pass this exam will advance to the free response Semifinal Exam. Material on this two-part test is calculus based and requires an understanding of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, waves and optics, thermodynamics, fluids, relativity, and nuclear and atomic physics. This Semifinal Exam consists of just 6 questions split into two sections.

The top 20 scorers in the Semifinal Exam attend training camp at the University of Maryland. While in Maryland, they will take a series of difficult exams and get experience with hands-on training and theoretical material. The top five students are then selected to participate in the International Physics Olympiad.

Courses

N110 - Experimental Physics in Mechanics

Grades: 6 - 8

Length: Ten 3-hour lessons covered over two weeks during the summer session.

Description: Students use video analysis to study the physical behavior and conduct experiments in free fall, projectile motion, Newton's Law, friction, conservation of energy, and conservation of momentum.

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N120 - Experimental Physics in Electronics

Grades: 6 - 8

Length: This is a 30-week program starts in the fall session.

Description: Students conduct experiments in electric charges, electric field, electric force, ohm's law, and circuit design in addition to the function of electric components such as resisters, capacitors, transistors, diodes, LED, oscillator, and amplifier. They then use these knowledge to build electrical devices such as timers, alarm clocks, digital displays, metronome, and radio.

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N200 - Honor Physics: Concepts, Principles, and Problem Solving

Grades: 6 - 8. Required math skills include proportion and ratio, system of equations, quadratic equations, and graphing of functions.

Length: This is a 30-week program starts in the fall session.

Description: This course focuses on conceptual understanding of physics through hands-on activities and algebra-based physics problem solving. It gives an in-depth coverage of the topics in force, motion, work, emery, momentum, rotation, and nuclear physics while surveying topics in wave, optics, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics.

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N210 - AP Physics 1 and Physics Olympiad 1

Grades: 8 - 10

Length: This is a 40-week program starts in the summer session. An accelerated version of this class will also be offered in the fall.

Description: This beginner-level class focuses on the conceptual understanding of physics principles. It takes an Algebraic approach to physics without trigonometry and calculus. Successful completion of this program will enable students to take the AP Physics 1 exam in Spring.

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N220 - AP Physics 2 and Physics Olympiad 2

Grades: 9 - 10

Length: This is a 30-week program starts in the fall session.

Description: This class focuses on preparing students to take the AP Physics 2 exam in Spring. It also serves as a prerequisite for N230.

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N230 - AP Physics C Mechanics and Physics Olympiad Level 3

Grades: 9 - 12

Length: This is a 30-week program starts in the fall session.

Description: The class focuses on classical mechanics with trigonometry and some basic calculus. Students will participate in the USA Physics Olympiad F=ma competition in January. Successful completion of this class will also enable students to take the AP Physics C Mechanics exam.

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N240 - AP Physics C E/M and Physics Olympiad Level 4

Grades: 10 - 12 Required math skills include proportion and ratio, system of equations, quadratic equations, and graphing of functions.

Length: This is a 30-week program starts in the fall session.

Description: The class focuses on electromagnetism. Students will participate in the USA Physics Olympiad F=ma competition in January. In the past five years, more than 80% of the students in this class qualified for the semifinal round of the USA Physics Olympiad. Successful completion of this class will also enable students to take the AP Physics C Mechanics and E/M exam.

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