High School Physics/ Earth
Science Curriculum Choices


Our high school program curriculum options support instruction that prepare students for college, career and life.  All of our curriculum options support the primary content area (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) and integrate a secondary content area (Earth Science).  

Please review the High School Physics/Earth pilot summaries of HMH and STEMscopes below. Then fill out the feedback form. 


Unit 1 Motion and Forces

Anchoring Phenomenon: Forces can set things in motion if unbalanced or can hold things in place if balanced. 

Guiding Questions 

  • How can forces on objects be used to predict the motion of the objects? 
  • How do different forces affect motion when they interact? 
  • How can forces be used to predict stability? 
  • How do engineers use forces and motion to develop solutions to problems? 
  • How do geologic forces affect rock? 

Each HMH Unit consists of an Anchor Phenomena and Unit Opener, a “Can You Explain It” or “Can You Solve it” that students work through during the unit, an evidence notebook, hands-on investigations, activities, research projects, and engineering activities and each unit concludes with a unit project, a performance task, and a Unit Test. 

Unit Project- Designing the Strongest Beam:

Design and test different support beams under load. Using the engineering design process, optimize your design to bear more weight or to balance the same force using less mass.

To access HMH’s unit materials for a deeper look at the unit, please click here.


HS Physics in the Universe: Segment 2: Forces at a Distance- Students investigate gravitational and electromagnetic forces and describe them mathematically. These forces predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system and link the macroscopic properties of materials to microscopic electromagnetic attractions.  

Guiding Questions

  1. How can different objects interact when they are not even touching?
  2. How do interactions between matter at the microscopic scale affect the macroscopic properties of matter that we observe?
  3. How do satellites stay in orbit?

Anchoring Phenomena: The Lucy is expected to launch in October of 2021 to explore six Jupiter Trojan asteroids. The asteroids are trapped by Jupiter’s gravity in two swarms that share the planet’s orbit. 

  • What are the steps that need to be considered as we venture into the exploration of celestial bodies such as asteroids and comets? 
  • What new technologies exist, and how can they be of benefit to these missions?

Mission Briefing: The Young Space Explorers Group (YSEG) is holding a competition for young people to answer key questions about exploration of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids. While engineers at different space agencies have begun looking at plans to explore this asteroid, some vital questions are still pending. The YSEG is challenging up-and-coming, engineering-minded students to think outside the box! Design a graphic presentation to answer some of the key questions still pending.

  • Where is this asteroid? 
  • What path does it travel? 
  • How can we predict where it will be at the time of arrival?
  • Traditional large and bulky chemical rockets were slow to explore space. What does the advent of ion thrusters do for us? 
  • How do ion thrusters work and relate to Coulomb’s law?
  • There are several types of internal asteroid structures (solid, solid with major fractures, rubble pile covered in dust, and gravel conglomeration). If an asteroid is a gravel conglomeration, how does it stay together?
  • There is a risk that arriving at the asteroid will cause damage if the structure is weaker than the force we exert on it. How can we mitigate these effects?

The scopes (Chapters) included in this segment include the following: 

  • Gravitational and Electrostatic Forces 
  • Kepler’s Laws

To access STEMscope’s unit materials for a deeper look at the unit, please click here.

Feedback Form

To provide feedback on the Physics grade curriculum options please click here.  Be sure to select “Physics” on the form!  Para acceder a la página de comentarios en español, haga clic aquí.

To get a deeper look at the curriculum materials from the unit of study being piloted, please click here.