New courses are added to Amador’s curriculum, others taken away


Emma Ka

Andrea Yang (‘23) scrolls through the course selection spreadsheet which lists all the classes for each grade provided by Amador.

Emma Ka, Staff Writer

As the deadline to select courses for next year draws closer, one new course has been added for the 2022-2023 school year: Earth and Space taught by Mr. Becker. Meanwhile, three have been removed: English Literature/Advanced Composition, Botany, and Conceptual Physics. 

Some students have found these niche courses such as Conceptual Physics to be very helpful in improving their understanding of certain subjects. 

“I switched out of regular Physics to this class, and we don’t focus on the math portion as much, but instead, more on how things work and why they work, which is nice. For the projectiles unit, I was able to use my knowledge about parabolas, gravity, and velocity in a concept that we see play out in daily life,” said Simran Pandey (‘23).

Conceptual Physics was previously taught by Mrs. Barnett Dreyfuss. The reason it was taken away this year is that even with the limited mathematics component in the curriculum, it is still challenging for the younger students to master these skills. Instead, this course has been replaced by Earth and Space, taught by Mr. Becker and Mr. O’Dea, which is open to all grades and covers general topics such as Earth’s structure, climate and meteorology, geology, and formation of the Solar System. 

Since the course is in the process of being developed, specific laboratory investigations are still being investigated, [but] students can expect hands-on activities such as learning about and using a telescope, construction of a star constellation locator, creation of weather maps from actual data, and various activities on rock and mineral identification,” said Phillip Becker

Amador already provides many basic science courses and their advanced levels, in turn promoting a strong foundation for future STEM pursuits. However, Earth and Space seeks to offer something new and special. 

“For students well-versed in Biology, Chemistry and/or Physics, Earth and Space will round out their science education by applying key concepts from their stand-alone science classes to applications specific to the Earth and Universe,” said Becker.

Thus, this new course is a good option for students who are specifically interested in the field of astronomy, or who want to explore a new physical science. 

“The class sounds interesting, especially since I want to pursue a career in astronomy and maybe work at NASA in the future,” said Nathan Lin (‘23).

In addition to this change, the eight English electives that were previously offered to seniors have been reduced to seven with the removal of English Literature/Advanced Comp. Despite this, there are still many interesting options such as African American Literature for students to explore. Finally, Botany was removed two years ago. It originally allowed students to delve into topics such as plant nutrition, genetics, reproduction, ecology, and evolution. Overall, there is a wide variety of courses offered here at Amador that not only give students background in fundamental subjects such as Biology and Physics, but also more niche avenues to foster their interests.