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Page prepared for SERC by Sandra Rutherford of Eastern Michigan University.

Methods for Teaching Secondary Earth Science

Sandra Rutherford
Author Profile

Eastern Michigan University

Course Type:
Capstone teaching methods class

Course Size:

Course Summary

This class will introduce the student to: science content standards, hands-on activities, demos, laboratory organization, projects, assessments, differentiation, writing in science, technology, and homework. The preservice teacher should leave the class feeling prepared to student teach Earth Science. Course Prerequisites: ESSC 212 and CURR 305

For Dr. Rutherford's reflections on the course and its design, see Methods for Teaching Secondary Earth Science: Role in the Program.

Course Context:

This class is a seminar-style course with a prerequisite of a midlevel content class and a curriculum class. The students are all secondary pre-service teachers and are majoring or minoring in Earth Science Teaching or in the Integrated Science Major for Teaching. The class meets once a year in the fall only.

Course Goals:

Students should be able to:

Course Content:

Teaching Materials:

Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 39kB Apr25 07)

For an example activity from this course, see Movie Clip Lesson Plan


The students have a variety of assignments to determine whether they understand earth science content with respect to a lesson plan. They have several opportunities for presentations and for being creative.

Most important are the new assessments they must pass to pass the course for NCATE. There are 4 assessments in this class. A general lesson plan, an inquiry lesson plan, a reflection of their work and their professional behavior disposition form.

References and Notes:

Required Material

My students have a course pack available on the ereserves. This is a collection of material from when I was a teacher. When they leave the class I also give them a CD with everything they have done as well as everything I used in my 8th grade earth science class. All in word files for them to alter.

I train the students in a few GLOBE protocols so they are aware GLOBE exists. They receive material from GLOBE as well. I have many earth science .pdf papers from the Science Teacher on the ereserves as well.

Of course they are introduced to SERC-CARLETON, DLESE and NDSL etc. http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/