1 SCIE381 Middle School Science Teaching Methods Course Description We have designed SCIE381 based on research about how preservice teachers learn to teach middle school science and the difficulties they encounter, our own K-12 science teaching experiences, and our previous work with SCIED 381 preservice teachers. Our shared work in the course provides multiple opportunities for you to learn essential knowledge and practices to support your students' science learning. Our goal is for you to be so knowledgeable, enthusiastic and skilled that your students can enjoy, understand and apply their scientific knowledge and habits of mind to their own lives and to the world around them. Course Objectives Aligned with the NSTA Standards for Science Teacher Preparation & InTASC Model Core Standards (attached to this syllabus, you will learn Learn how to learn scientific concepts with understanding, and recognize the importance of self-motivated learning, subject matter knowledge, "big ideas," and unifying themes Develop understandings of research-, standards-, and inquiry-oriented teaching strategies (versus traditional lecture), and be reflective about your practice and that of others Develop research- and standards-based assessments: before, during, and after teaching and learning Assess, support and monitor the development of children's scientific ideas Understand and use appropriate scientific representations (models, charts, graphs, etc.) Use scientific talk and understand its role in learning Understand and use evidence-based explanation in science Implement appropriate national and state academic standards for science Create, adapt and critique curriculum resources Develop an orientation toward explanation-driven scientific inquiry using the Essential Features of Classroom Inquiry Plan and prepare for science instruction using the Essential Features of Classroom Inquiry (Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards), the four strands of scientific proficiency (RSS), and the 5E Instructional Model
2 Create, value, and maintain a collaborative classroom community in SCIED 381 and in your placement classroom Create classroom learning environments that value, foster and support diversity(e.g., gender, race, socioeconomic status, ELL, differently abled, and exceptional learners). Develop understandings of how to use technology tools for supporting science teaching and learning and scientific inquiry. Develop an orientation for reflective practice and continuous professional learning. ** NOTE: Full participation means doing all the readings on time, contributing often and thoughtfully to class discussions, completing assignments on time, doing your fair share of small-group work, and working as hard as you can, both in our SCIE 381 classroom and in your placement classroom, so that children will benefit from your learning and teaching. Required Course Textbook: Michaels, S., Shouse, A. & Schweingruber, H. (2008). Ready, Set, Science! Putting Research to Work in K-8 Classrooms (RSS) - hard copy available or free use online at ( Settlage, J. and Southerland, S Teaching Science to Every Child. New York: Routledge. ** Available in PSU bookstore. National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning (INSES) - hard copy available or free use online at ( Grading Points Professionalism 20 Homework 10 5-E Lesson Plans 30 Reflection on Teaching Experience 20 Final Paper 20 Total Points 100
3 Evaluation Final Course % Grade A A B B B C C D < 60 F Grading Policy Your final grade for SCIE381 will be based on your performance as demonstrated by a collection of evidence you assemble in a web-based portfolio (on BlackBoard), your personal science blog/portfolio, science notebook, and your participation and performance in class. There will be NO EXTRA CREDIT opportunities. Preparation for and participation in assignments, both in and out of class, are part of your professional responsibility. LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AND WILL RECEIVE A ZERO, except for extraordinary extenuating circumstances as agreed upon, in writing, by your instructor. You may turn in assignments early for feedback, on BlackBoard, until the due date. After that time, no further revisions will be accepted. Cheating and Plagiarism Policy It is expected that students will use the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th Edition, (APA format) for referencing all sources used in submitted work. It is also expected that students abide by common academic integrity standards. Please be advised of Towson University s Academic Integrity Policy. The policy description can be found on the following website:
4 Students With Disabilities This course is in compliance with Towson University policies for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with Disability Support Services (DSS), 7720 York Road, Suite 232, 410/ (Voice or TDD). Students who suspect that they have a disability but do not have documentation are encouraged to contact DSS for advice on how to obtain appropriate evaluation. A memo from DSS authorizing your accommodation is needed before any accommodation can be made. Diversity Mission Statement The Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences, in accordance with the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics Diversity Plan ( and with the Towson University Strategic Plan, believes that we must support initiatives that promote diversity among FCSM faculty, staff and students while continuing to meet the workforce needs of the State of Maryland. To fulfill that vision, we are committed to increasing the quality and diversity of our students, faculty and staff while increasing retention and curriculum initiatives. NSTA Standards for Science Teacher Preparation Standard 1: Content Teachers of science understand and can articulate the knowledge and practices of contemporary science. They can interrelate and interpret important concepts, ideas, and applications in their fields of licensure; and can conduct scientific investigations. They are prepared in content. Standard 2: Nature of Science Teachers of science engage students effectively in studies of the history, philosophy, and practice of science. They enable students to distinguish science from non-science, understand the evolution and practice of science as a human endeavor, and critically analyze assertions made in the name of science. They are prepared to teach the nature of science. Standard 3: Inquiry Teachers of science engage students both in studies of various methods of scientific inquiry and in active learning through scientific inquiry. They encourage students, individually and collaboratively, to observe, ask questions, design inquiries, and collect and interpret data in order to develop concepts and relationships from empirical experiences. They are prepared to teach through inquiry. Standard 4: Issues Teachers of science recognize that informed citizens must be prepared to make decisions and take action on contemporary science- and technology-related issues of interest to the general
5 society. They require students to conduct inquiries into the factual basis of such issues and to assess possible actions and outcomes based upon their goals and values. They are prepared to engage students in studies of issues related to science. Standard 5: General Skills of Teaching Teachers of science create a community of diverse learners who construct meaning from their science experiences and possess a disposition for further exploration and learning. They use, and can justify, a variety of classroom arrangements, groupings, actions, strategies, and methodologies. They are prepared to create a community of diverse learners. Standard 6: Curriculum Teachers of science plan and implement an active, coherent, and effective curriculum that is consistent with the goals and recommendations of the National Science Education Standards. They begin with the end in mind and effectively incorporate contemporary practices and resources into their planning and teaching. They are prepared to plan and implement an effective science curriculum. Standards 7: Science in the Community Teachers of science relate their discipline to their local and regional communities, involving stakeholders and using the individual, institutional, and natural resources of the community in their teaching. They actively engage students in science-related studies or activities related to locally important issues. They are prepared to relate science to the community. Standards 8: Assessment Teachers of science construct and use effective assessment strategies to determine the backgrounds and achievements of learners and facilitate their intellectual, social, and personal development. They assess students fairly and equitably, and require that students engage in ongoing self-assessment. They are prepared to use assessment effectively. Standard 9: Safety and Welfare Teachers of science organize safe and effective learning environments that promote the success of students and the welfare of all living things. They require and promote knowledge and respect for safety, and oversee the welfare of all living things used in the classroom or found in the field. Standard 10: Professional Growth Teachers of science strive continuously to grow and change, personally and professionally, to meet the diverse needs of their students, school, community, and profession. They have a desire and disposition for growth and betterment. Principle #1: Inquiry-Based Learning Begins with an Inquiry Question. Each lesson seeks to answer one or more inquiry questions about concepts or relationships in science. Inquiry questions (e.g., What kinds of materials stick to a magnet? ) provide an overall
6 purpose for the entire lesson, and may be generated by the teacher or the students. These questions should be explicitly stated using language that is easily understandable. Corollary 1.1: In general, since inquiry-based science is not intended to be a review of familiar ideas, students should not already know the answers to the inquiry questions. Corollary 1.2: Inquiry questions are different from the questions that teachers routinely pose to the class or to individual students during an inquiry science lesson (e.g., "What do you know about magnets?", "Why do you think that happened?"). Principle #2: Inquiry-Based Learning Is Student Centered. Students are the center of the learning process. The instructor provides varying degrees of structure and guidance during the lesson (e.g., by providing materials, asking good questions, and holding discussions). However, it is the students (individually, as a small group, or as an entire class) who are ultimately expected to answer the inquiry question(s) on their own. In addition, whenever possible, the teacher allows students to engage in hands-on scientific activities themselves, rather than doing these for the students as a demonstration. Corollary 2.1: The teacher does not explain answers to inquiry questions (e.g., via lecture or reading books) for students prior to students answering the questions for themselves. Corollary 2.2: The students must be allowed sufficient time for discussion and reflection to formulate their own answers to inquiry questions. Corollary 2.3: The teacher provides explanations and answers only when absolutely necessary. After the students have already come to a consensus on the answers to the inquiry question, it is appropriate for the teacher to help the class clarify and elaborate upon these answers, as well as to introduce scientific terminology and definitions. Such clarification or elaboration may take a variety of forms, including short lecture, reading books, or watching videos. Principle #3: Inquiry-Based Learning Involves Deep Thinking about the Answers to Inquiry Questions. Lessons should prompt students to think deeply about scientific concepts and relationships. This can be accomplished through small-group and whole-class discussions, hands-on experiments (which are often cooperative), reading texts to generate questions, and other means. Corollary 3.1: Deep thinking should occur in all aspects of inquiry-based science, including the sharing of initial ideas, participation in hands-on science activities, the presentation and discussion of scientific observations (i.e., scientific data), and the eventual answering of the inquiry question(s).
7 Corollary 3.2: Scientific experiments are not the only activities that can support deep thinking. For example, having students draw and discuss space suit design is a perfectly acceptable avenue for thinking about the properties of space in an inquiry-based manner. Corollary 3.3: Inquiry-based lessons should not solely or primarily consist of hands-on activities that do not support deep thinking about science. For example, while making mobiles about the stages of frog growth may be an appropriate part of a science lesson on frog development, in and of itself it would not constitute an inquiry-based lesson. Corollary 3.4: Inquiry-based lessons do not focus on the memorization of right answers and vocabulary words. Principle #4: Inquiry-Based Learning Emphasizes Evidence-Based Reasoning. Students are encouraged to provide evidence and reasoning for their predictions, observations and their answers to inquiry questions. This evidence will draw upon everyday experience, experimental data, common sense, and prior knowledge. Students are frequently asked to answer questions like, "Why do you think that?" or "Can you explain your reasoning?" Corollary 4.1: One purpose of encouraging students to use evidence during scientific experimentation is to revisit and revise their scientific ideas. Corollary 4.2: Teachers should ask students to share evidence both verbally and in written form. Standard #1: Learner Development InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences. Standard #2: Learning Differences The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards. Standard #3: Learning Environments The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation.
8 Standard #4: Content Knowledge The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content. Standard #5: Application of Content The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues. Standard #6: Assessment The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher s and learner s decision making. Standard #7: Planning for Instruction The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context. Standard #8: Instructional Strategies The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways. Standard #9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner. Standard #10: Leadership and Collaboration The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.