A spin on physics

Luke Todd Hammett, Senior Staff Writer

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Recent staff addition Kevin Leineweber has made an adjustment to the way he runs things this semester. Instead of a book-focused, lecture-ridden, note-heavy class, he went with a different approach, allowing the kids to choose a topic their passionate about and relate it to physics.

“It is the way that I like to teach, but I needed to be at Cascade HS for a semester to “feel it out” and make sure that it would work here,” said Leineweber.

So for me this means I get to focus on basketball all semester and enjoy my time in physics. Instead of equations on the horsepower of a small engine, now I can calculate the horsepower of LeBron James on the fastbreak. It’s really exciting and engaging for me.

Contrary to most classes I’ve taken, I feel like I get to decide my semester course content myself. I get to decide if I want to do math related problems or email the head coach of a g-league team. It’s incredibly exciting to make strides in a field that I am actually interested in.

One of the requirements of the semester project is to hold a community event of some sort that deals with your area of study by either teaching a lesson or holding some sort of community seminar.

It’s a cool way to involve the community in a project with the students. Mr.Leineweber said in years past his student did some awesome things for the semester end. For example he told us a story in class about a girl who held a community event focusing on her semester project of archery. Hundreds of kids showed up to the event.

Another thing students are required to do is talk to an expert in their subject. From emailing a professor to going to talk to a coach you can do a lot of different things. For me that means I get the chance to conduct an email interview with the president of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and their coach. As a basketball fan it is super cool to get to talk to people that hold positions I’m interested in.

Leineweber said he likes this style of class because “It is sometimes difficult to motivate high school students, especially upperclassmen during the spring semester. The passion based projects make it easier for the students to stay motivated throughout the semester. Another benefit is that students get to learn physics in order to support their specific learning goals and not just the topics that I pick as the teacher.”

One final thing the project requires is a field work experience. Again, this is a cool way to learn about your passions and really see how it works. It is one thing to read online about what you do and it is another to go shadow someone who does it, or to go get a tour of the workings of the business itself.

All in all I think it’s a great change up on the usual structure of a class. It feels different and unique compared to everything I’ve done in school thus far. Thanks to Mr.Leineweber, physics classes have an awesome opportunity at impacting our community.

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