So, what do I do when a student asks about taking AP physics B?
Then, for either the honors or not-honors math student, I ask the following questions.
1. Can you solve this system of equations for x and y?
3x - y = 5
2x + y = 3
2. Can you find the length of the side labeled x in this triangle?
Most of the students I talk to nearly laugh... they say "of course I can," or simply, "yes." I don't make them actually solve; I just want them to tell me that they CAN find a solution.
I then explain that they have just seen the deepest math that they will see all year in AP physics. It's amazing how students who had approached me trepidatiously walk away from our discussion with confident body language.
Convincing even one rising senior that he can, in fact, handle the AP physics course can have deep resonance within the class. That one senior will encourage his friends to sign up, or at least to talk to me, so I can have the same conversation. The end result is a well-subscribed AP course, and, hopefully, a significant number of students passing the exam next year... when the recruiting process starts all over again.