Palo Alto High School is offering a new hybrid Chemistry class this year, which gives students more options throughout the course.
The hybrid class has a mix of students who signed up for either Chemistry Honors or Chemistry. According to Chemistry teacher Ron Bowditch, students get to choose which level of work they want to do.
“We have honors students and regular students in the same class,” said Bowditch.”Honor-level students still do honor-level chemistry work. In fact, the same stuff they do in Honors class. Regular Chemistry students still do the same stuff as regular Chemistry.”
According to Science Instructional Supervisor Kelli Hagen, the new class offers students the ability to experience Chemistry Honors without fearing its academic rigor.
“It’s our [Hagen and Bowditch] belief that students are afraid to take Honors because they’ve heard that it is really hard and scary,” Hagen said. “Truly there’s not a big jump between [Chemistry] Honors and regular Chemistry.”
Sophomore Nandini Relan said, “I took the hybrid class because I had been in Biology Honors and I wasn’t sure which lane I wanted to take. I signed up for Chem but I wasn’t sure if I should’ve or shouldn’t have. The hybrid class ended up solving that problem.”
If the students decide to stay in the hybrid Chemistry class, they can get credit depending on which work they do, according to Bowditch.
“We also have quizzes every Wednesday and there is an honors and a regular quiz.” sophomore Nandini Relan said. “you do have to do specific work to get Chem H credit.”
The students also have the opportunity to move up into Chemistry Honors or move down into regular Chemistry if they would like. Six students have already taken advantage of this opportunity, according to Hagen.
“What we were hoping was more students move into the Honors direction and that is what has been happening,” Hagen said. “We are four weeks in and we have six students that want to move up. They … want to move up because they are seeing this [Chemistry Honors work] and they are saying, ‘I can do this too.'”