Page prepared for SERC by Sadredin C. Moosavi and John McDaris.

Weather for K-8 Preservice Teachers

Course Type:
Science Education

Course Size:
Lecture/Lab 24/24

Course Summary

Weather for K-8 Pre-service Teachers is the atmospheric science content course in the integrated science teacher development sequence. The course uses hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory experiments in a combined three-hour lecture/lab format that introduces students to weather, to the climate and human interactions with it and to dependence on the atmospheric system. A constructivist pedagogical approach to teaching is modeled for students who have not yet had an introduction to the practice of education at this point in their program. Students prepare a detailed classroom lesson related to the course content, but do not actually engage in clinical activities with students at this point in their program.

For Dr. Mattox's reflections on the course and its design, see Weather for K-8 Teachers: Role in the Course.

Course Context:

Students in this course can be at any point in the pre-service science course sequence, as it assumes no content background knowledge beyond high school. Freshmen and sophomores typically dominate the course, though juniors and seniors are also present. The course is taken before the pedagogy component of the student's program.

Course Goals:

As part of the teacher preparation sequence, this course seeks to:
  1. Increase content knowledge about the atmosphere, weather, and climate.
  2. Increase confidence in presenting science in the classroom.
  3. Increase knowledge of methods used to teach science and assess learning.
  4. Compile existing teaching resources and develop new inquiry-based classroom activities.
  5. Make students fluent in Michigan science standards and familiar with the MI Educational Assessment Program.

Course Content:

This course focuses on the atmospheric science aspect of the geosciences. Students study the origin and evolution of the atmosphere, atmospheric circulation, processes behind regular and severe weather, and the controls on climate and climate change. Human interaction with atmospheric science concepts is emphasized. Students also develop a classroom lesson based on this content.

Teaching Materials:

Materials available for this course on this website include:


Assessment in this course focuses on objective multiple choice, short answer, essay exams, laboratory exercises and development of a classroom lesson related to the atmospheric science content. The grading scale is weighted more heavily toward the exams in order to avoid grade inflation issues and insure content coverage remains the focus. Assessment of the lesson uses a detailed rubric that evaluates both the science content and its delivery.

References and Notes:

This course is part of a 12-credit series of four courses designed as a group in accordance with Michigan standards, which encourage the teaching of integrated science with a balance of biological, earth, space and physical sciences. These courses were designed specifically for pre-service teachers instead of using pre-existing general education courses to cover science content