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written by Dr. Laura Lising, Ann Craig, and Denise Pfaff
This presentation outlines the approach used to introduce education students to science teaching methods. It emphasizes the use of inquiry-based activities in the classroom. A link to the materials used is provided.
published by the Physics Teacher Education Coalition
The past few decades have seen an explosion of research-based physics curricula and teaching methods that replace traditional didactic instruction with more interactive, student-centered teaching methods. Teachers who use these strategies can transform their students from passive acceptors of knowledge to active investigators who are deeply engaged in their own education. And not only will students learn more, but they may come out with a more positive attitude towards physics. This site gives examples of which modifications to make, as well as of other institutions which have already undergone course transformation.
written by Paul Hickman
The Physics First program leads to a higher proportion of students who maintain an interest in science after completing high school, presumably leading to a similarly increased number of physics majors at university. It is difficult, however, to maintain the program without an active faculty advocate, especially as it is often opposed by parents, administrators, and school boards.
written by Stephen J. Robinson, Fred Goldberg, and Valerie Otero
In accordance with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act of 2002, it will soon be required that all elementary students are assessed in science content by the end of their fifth grade year. It is recognized that few elementary teachers are prepared for this, especially in the physical sciences. Realizing this, many teacher preparation programs are replacing traditional science requirements for pre-service elementary teachers (usually a two semester sequence in any single lab science) with a cluster of one-semester content courses, including one in physics or physical science. Thus university physics departments are increasingly being called upon to implement a course exclusively for this audience. This can be quite a challenge since this is not the audience to which physics courses are traditionally targeted and it is desirable that such a course model the inquiry-based pedagogy that elementary teachers are expected to use in their own classrooms. Further, physics faculty may be unfamiliar with these inquiry-based methods of teaching. The Physics for Elementary Teachers (PET) curriculum has been designed to address this challenge.
written by Lillian C. McDermott, Paula Heron, and Peter Shaffer
The Physics Education Group at the University of Washington (UW) has been conducting special courses for K-12 teachers for more than 30 years. They have developed a sequence of academic-year courses for prospective elementary and middle school teachers and another sequence for prospective high school teachers. They also conduct an intensive NSF-funded six-week Summer Institute for Inservice Teachers that has similar goals. The materials used in both the preservice and inservice courses are drawn from Physics by Inquiry, a self-contained, laboratory-based curriculum that has been developed for use in university courses to prepare K-12 teachers to teach physics and physical science. The emphasis in this paper is on elementary and middle school. However, most of the discussion is applicable to the preparation of high school teachers.
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