The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Asian American Lit, AP Physics 2 courses planned for 2024-25


Two new courses are being added to the course catalog for the 2024-25 school year: Asian American Literature, in which students will analyze Asian American experiences through novels, biographies and more, and Advanced Placement Physics 2, in which students will learn algebra- based physics focused on electricity and magnetism.

Asian American Literature, a semesterlong English elective offered for juniors and seniors after successful completion of English 9 or 9A and English 10 or 10A, will focus on Asian American experiences ranging from immigration to discrimination. English teacher Diane Ichikawa, who proposed and is leading the implementation of Asian American Literature, says that the English department lacks books about Asian Americans, although Gunn’s student population is 46.4% Asian, according to the Gunn 2023-24 school profile.

“We don’t really treat Asians as people of color on this campus, so I think it’s important that we see that Asians actually are people of color,” she said. “We need to find a space for those discussions, and this could be a class where you could have those conversations.”

The curriculum will draw from texts such as Thi Bui’s memoir “The Best We Could Do” and essays from Eric Liu’s “The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker.” Students will practice writing memoirs and understanding the use of figurative language in non-English languages.

Sophomore Joyce Wong, who is interested in taking Asian American Literature, considers it an opportunity to gain insight into issues that Asian Americans face.

“Reading literature written by Asian Americans (can) offer a really refreshing perspective on controversial or historical events,” she said.

In addition to Asian American Literature, Gunn will also be offering AP Physics 2, a yearlong algebra-based physics course for juniors and seniors who have successfully completed AP Physics 1. The course provides a nonvisual approach to electricity and magnetism, in contrast to its mechanics-focused prerequisite, AP Physics 1.

According to physics teacher Christina Norberg, the science department decided to add the course for students who wish to continue learning physics after AP Physics 1, but may not want the rapid pace of calculus-based AP Physics C. The yearlong mechanics course will no longer be offered, but students can still take AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism as semesterlong classes.

The curriculum, based on the College Board’s AP Physics 2 Unit Guides, features units on thermodynamics, electricity, geometric optics and atomic physics, which are not covered in AP Physics C: E & M. According to Norberg, students will use skills such as scientific argumentation, collection of evidence and experimental design to build a mathematically rigorous perspective.

Reading literature written by Asian Americans (can) offer a really refreshing perspective on controversial or historical events

— Sophomore Joyce Wong

“When you talk about electricity and magnetism, a lot of those different topics you need to be able to model effectively in a way that you can’t actually see,” Norberg said.

Junior Daniel Zhang, who is currently in AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, is considering taking AP Physics 2 next year.

“I’m thinking of taking AP Physics 2 because it covers the sound unit, which seems really interesting,” he said.

With the addition of AP Physics 2, Gunn will now offer all of the College Board’s AP Physics courses. Students who are in or have taken regular, college-preparatory physics may take AP Physics 2 with approval from the science department.

Asian American Literature and AP Physics 2 will only run if there is enough enrollment. Students can learn more about these courses by reading the 2024-25 course catalog or contacting Ichikawa or Norberg.


Asian American Lit Books

  • Thi Bui’s “The Best We Could Do”
  • Min Jin Lee’s “Pachinko”
  • Kathryn Ma’s “The Chinese Groove”
  • Eric Liu’s “The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker”

AP Physics 2 Topics

  • Fluids
  • Thermodynamics
  • Electric forces
  • Electric circuits
  • Magnetism and electromagnetic induction
  • Geometric and physical optics
  • Quantum physics


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About the Contributor
Fiona Xiong, Online Editor
Senior Fiona Xiong is a online editor in The Oracle. During her free time, she enjoys listening to music, painting and napping.
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