The thought of zero period often elicits a sigh of frustration from the students of Berkeley High School. Students may wonder if zero period, which involves waking up early and an additional hour of school, really worth it? However, after careful study, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Zero period presents a variety of opportunities that should not be ignored.
Zero period allows students to deepen their learning. By spending an extra two hours each week studying, students are able to explore content that would have otherwise gone unseen. Additionally, during the school day, science classes can often be crammed with material, leaving little time for questions. Zero period offers a space for students to slow down, ask questions, and receive individual support.
Studies have also shown that more class time can strengthen test results. The Massachusetts Department of Education conducted a study in 2006 which revealed that a 25 percent increase in the school day could improve test scores up to 10 percent While zero period does not increase the school day by that much, the same principle may be applied.
Zero period also offers the opportunity for students to participate in labs and experiments. These experiences solidify concepts while teaching different scientific skills. According to the American Chemical Society, students who engage in hands-on laboratory experiences develop problem solving and critical thinking skills. In addition, labs also cultivate an environment in which students must collaborate in order to succeed, teaching teamwork skills. While labs are educational, they are also fun and novel to students. Amidst stressful exams and textbook readings, zero period labs offer a more active and enjoyable way to study science.
Zero period is not without its nuances and downsides. Waking up earlier can affect students’ sleep patterns and also contribute to caffeine dependence. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that youth between the ages of 13-18 get around eight to 10 hours of sleep every night. Getting enough sleep on zero period days can difficult, and something that is often not entirely realistic. However, for the majority of science classes, zero period is a biweekly occurrence. This means that studentswake up earlier twice a week. With solid time management, the sleep obstacles of zero period can easily be mitigated.
Zero period may cast an intimidating shadow onto students, yet when one looks closely, the education it provides are impossible to ignore. Through deepening learning, improving test results, giving opportunities to gain support, and providing enjoyable lab experiments, zero period offers an incredible amount to BHS’s student body.