Natural Science 261L is a physical science class for K-8 pre-service teachers. The class is multi-disciplinary covering standards-based content in physics, earth science and astronomy. Lab and lecture are combined in two 2.5 hours classes. Instructional strategies include lecture, hands-on activities, demonstrations and inquiry-based research projects. In the past year, I have focused on using geology as a gateway and framework for understanding basic physics concepts and processes.
For Dr. Nyman's reflections on the course and its design, see Physical Science: Role in the Program.
Content goalsAt the conclusion of my class in Physical Science:
- Students should be able to analyze their understanding of standards-based content in the disciplines of physics, geosciences and astronomy including evaluating changes in content knowledge.
- Students should be able to synthesize and see correlations between concepts in each of these disciplines.
- Students should be able to interpret different data sets including visual displays of data (maps), graphs, and raw data (such as earthquake epicenter locations).
- Students should be able to apply skills learned in the class to addressing other science concepts through development of a scientific test.
Skills GoalsAt the conclusion of my class students should gain or improve on the following skills:
- Writing coherent and mistake free essays on scientific concepts and investigations.
- Develop and work on metacognitive skills such as addressing preconceptions, investigating their own learning processes and promoting change where required.
- Improve on skills related to group work.
- Peer-teaching and oral communication
Attitudinal GoalsAt the conclusion of my class I want students to have the following attitudinal changes:
- Less fear and more wonder about science
- More confidence in their own ability to do, understand and teach science
- A sense of the importance of science and scientific thinking in addressing social and technological issues
For a full example activity from this course, see Earth Observations: Pattern Recognition of the Earth System.
- Laboratory reports
- Miscellaneous writing assignments (including KWL formatted essays)
- Grading of student presentations and projects
- Midterm and final student portfolio (this is the major assessment piece)