Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Philip Molebash

Second Advisor

Anna Bargagliotti

Third Advisor

Jill Bickett


Efforts to improve science education have resulted in proposed innovative teaching methods and changing course sequences such as the inquiry-based Physics First curriculum. This study examined student and alumni perceptions of a Physics First course in a modified curriculum that inverted the traditional course sequence of Biology-Chemistry-Physics (BCP) to an inquiry-based Physics First (PF) curriculum in which students take an inquiry-based physics course as freshman and chemistry as sophomores. This study explored the experiences of students in their ninth grade physics course and how the Physics First curriculum influenced students’ and alumni future STEM course choices and experiences. The qualitative study included a sampling of 16 male students and alumni selected from students currently enrolled and alumni who graduated within five years of the study. All the students interviewed recalled positive, memorable experiences in their Physics-9 course as they explained in their interviews that they enjoyed their Physics-9 course and remembered details about the engaging, hands-on projects as their favorite activities. Since the adoption of the PF curriculum more students were taking honors and AP science courses and over 90% of the students at the site enrolled in four years of science even though only three years were required. Almost all of the students liked science for the first time because of the Physics-9 course.

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