Physical Science: About This Course
Essential Science for Teachers: Physical Science consists of eight sessions, each of which includes group activities and discussions as well as an hour-long video program. Weekly sessions, which should be scheduled for approximately three hours.
This guide provides activities and discussion topics for pre- and post-viewing investigations that complement each of the eight one-hour video programs.
Ready (Site Investigation)
In preparation for watching the program, you will engage in 60 minutes of investigation through discussion and activity.
Watch the Course Video
Then you will watch the 60-minute video, which includes classroom footage, commentary, science demonstrations, and more.
Further (Site Investigation)
Wrap up the session with an additional 60 minutes of investigation through discussion and activity.
Each session will contain the following homework activities. All participants should complete the assignments marked with * — the Reading Assignment, the Problem Set, the Ongoing Concept Mapping, and Preparing for the Next Session. Participants taking the course for graduate credit must complete all of the listed assignments, including those described in the Graduate Course Requirements section.
Note: Required Hours for Graduate Credit: If you are taking this course for graduate credit, the complete set of homework activities has been designed to fulfill the additional three hours required per session. The time taken to complete each assignment will vary among individuals, so no time estimates have been given. Each assignment will result in some form of evidence of learning. This evidence may be useful in building a portfolio for course assessment purposes.
Reading Assignments will help you to draw connections between the session topics and research on children’s ideas. Readings will be discussed at the session that follows their assignment. The readings can be found in the Appendix.
Physical Science Problem Set*
Each session will be accompanied by a problem set that will reinforce content learning by asking questions that apply or extend physical science concepts addressed in the video. Possible answers for the problem set will be provided at the end of the session materials. It should be emphasized that many questions have a variety of answers – answers that vary depending on the understandings of the person answering the question. The intent is not to give you “right answers,” but to allow you to compare yours with more advanced learners in physical science.
Ongoing Concept Mapping*
Within each session, several fundamental concepts are explored. Beginning with Session 2, the creation of a concept map will provide you with an opportunity to reflect on your evolving understandings of these concepts and their connections to one another, as well as to see how the content in each session relates to that of other sessions. A more detailed explanation of concept mapping is included in Session 2.
Guided Journal Entry
As you proceed through this course, one way of building and connecting understandings is to reflect upon your learning as you go. In each session, one or more questions will be suggested to guide a journal entry. At the end of the course, these entries should help you see how your ideas have progressed.
Guided Teacher-TalkPhysics Posting
Although this is a course designed to help enhance your understandings of physical science concepts, the intention is for you to use this knowledge to inform your teaching. Often, a community of learners who are also teachers can collaborate to support one another in transforming content knowledge into successful classroom action. In each session, one or more questions will be suggested to guide a discussion on Teacher-TalkPhysical to facilitate this type of collaboration among participants.
We strongly recommend that you acquire a college-level physics text to refer to in this course. Reading topics will be listed in each session, and can be located in most textbooks in the Table of Contents or Index.
Preparing for the Next Session*
This section will get you thinking about upcoming topics and remind you to bring materials needed for the next session’s activities.
The following are activities that you should work on between sessions for the duration of the course:
- This site offers additional activities, resources, and discussion through Teacher-TalkPhysicalSci
- You can communicate with other course participants throughout the country via the course’s email discussion list. To subscribe to Teacher-TalkPhysical, visit http://www.learner.org/mailman/listinfo/teacher-talkphysicalsci.