COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

 

DEPARTMENTAL COURSE SYLLABUS

 

 

The College of education is dedicated to the ideals of Collaboration, Academic Excellence, Research, and Ethics/Diversity.  These are key tenets in the Conceptual Framework of the College of Education.  Competence in these ideals will provide candidates in educator preparation programs with skills, knowledge, and dispositions to be successful in the schools of today and tomorrow.  For more information on the Conceptual Framework, visit: www.coedu.usf.edu/main/qualityassurance/ncate_visit_info_materials.html

 

 

1.      Course Prefix and Number: SCE 4320

2.      Course Title: Teaching Middle Grade Science

3.      Regular Instructors: Elaine Howes, Ph.D.

4.      Course Prerequisites (if any): 26 semester hours in science, meeting Florida content standards for middle grades ëgeneralí science.

5.      Course Description: Survey techniques and materials unique to science, grades 5-9.

 

Prepares pre-service middle grade (5-9) science teachers to teach science skills and content. Addresses the interrelationship and applications of ëbasicí knowledge to science as a human endeavor. Emphasis upon the nature of science and its instructional methods as exemplified in grades 5-9, but also overlaps high school grades (6-12), including the nature of scientific inquiry, the development of science process skills, integration of subject areas (science and other fields) and the evaluation of student progress in the science classroom.

 

6.      Course Goals and Objectives: Upon completion of this course the students will:

 

      1) understand the relation of science instruction and the cognitive development of children.

 

      2) demonstrate skill in performing the processes of science.

 

3) integrate scientific processes and science content knowledge acquisition and dissemination procedures with social science, mathematics and language instructional activities and instructional objectives as an interrelated and interconnected aspect of the overall middle/secondary curriculum.

 

      4) develop assessment strategies related to student outcomes in science processes and the scientific method.

 

7.      Content Outline: The content of this course includes: the cognitive development of middle/high school students and its relation to science content and skills, the processes of science including observation, measuring, classifying, defining operationally, formulating hypotheses, identifying and controlling variables, predicting, application of mathematics, application of language skills, interpreting data, experimenting, content selection  strategies, and student outcome evaluation strategies.

 

8.      Evaluation of Student Outcomes: Students will demonstrate their understanding of science content and teaching by written examinations, submitting science/teacher related projects, and class participation activities. Specific lists of graded assignments with due dates, while always reflecting the course goals and content outline listed above,  may vary on given terms. Therefore, each student will be given a specific, updated list of course assignments and a class calendar for the given term at the first class meeting.

 

9.      Grading Criteria: All class tests and assignments will be assigned points relative to the scope and importance of the activity. The accumulated points will be converted to percents. The following grading criterion will be used to determine the studentís final grade (percent): A=93-100, B= 85-92, C= 77-84, D= 70-76, F= 0-69.

 

10.  Textbooks and Readings: There is no available text which adequately addresses the content in SCE 4320. In addition, it is important that science teaching divorces itself from reading/reciting text content. This is a highly hands-on course. Students may, and are encouraged to use a variety of texts, journals and internet sites as sources of information. Recommended sources related to teaching elementary grade science may include: Journal of Elementary Science Education, Science Education, School Science and Mathematics, Elementary School Science, Journal of Science Teacher Education, Science and Children. The specific journals required will depend upon student and instructor selected assignments, and will reflect accomplishment of the course goals and content outline listed above.

 

11(a)    ADA StatementStudents with disabilities are responsible for registering with the Office of Student Disabilities Services in order to receive special accommodations and services.   Please notify the instructor during the first week of classes if a reasonable accommodation for a disability is needed for this course.   A letter from the USF Disability Services Office must accompany this request.

 

11(b).   USF Policy on Religious Observances: 

Students who anticipate the necessity of being absent from class due to the observation of a major religious observance must provide notice of the date(s) to the instructor, in writing, by the second class meeting.

 

 


SCE 4320, Teaching Middle Grade Science

Attachment I, Departmental Syllabus

 

Rationale for Setting Goals and Objectives: Sources are available nationally and in Florida which identify the general outcomes, skills and knowledge base expected of teachers of science in the middle/high school grades. A partial list would include: NSTA ìStandardsî for teacher preparation (CASE, 1998),  Science for all Students (Florida DOE, 1993), National Science Education Standards, (National Science Foundation, 1995-1996). In addition, the State of Florida requires all teachers to pass a content area test for certification purposes, providing a list of teaching and subject area competencies which are tested for all certification applicants. SCE 4320, Teaching Middle Grade Science, was designed to educate and evaluate preservice science teachers regarding these standards. Students commonly report that a minimum of 20-25 percent of the Florida Middle Grades General Science ëSubject Areaí test is covered in this class. In addition, students who are seeking high school certification in Biology, Chemistry or Physics (all of the USF degree areas) report that significant portions of the high school content area examinations are included in this class. The primary instructor for this course was an active participant in the construction and validation of Floridaís science ëSubject Areaí examinations, and this course is reflective of those standards.

 

List Specific Competencies Addressed by Relevant National Guidelines: The complete list of Floridaís ëcontent areaí teacher competencies is available in a published ëStudy Guideí. There is considerable overlap between the various national sources of guidelines for science teacher preparation, therefore the most recent  (Fall 1998) ìStandardsî identified by the National Association of Science Teachers will be included here. The ìindicatorsî identified are given for the Preservice, Induction and Professional levels of teacher certification. The preservice ìStandardsî  applicable to the preparation of science teachers include sections on: Content, Nature of Science, Inquiry, Context of Science, Pedagogy, The Science Curriculum, The Social Context for Teaching Science, Professional Practice, Learning Environments and Assessment. In the published ìStandardsî there are the following lists of ìindicatorsî, summarized here due to their length. Each of these topics/indicators is addressed in SCE 4320, Teaching Middle Grade Science.

 

        Content- Strong conceptual framework; thematically unified framework of concepts across science disciplines; understanding of laboratory activities, investigating and problem solving; ability to apply mathematics and statistics, analyze and explain data; knowledge of application of science to personal, social and technological issues.

        Nature of Science- Understand ënatureí of science; ability of differentiating scientific and non-scientific ëways of knowingí; ability to plan and implement exploratory, correlational and experimental studies; identify changes of scientific knowledge over time; compare and contrast basic, applied science and technology; use scientific terms and language with accuracy.

        Inquiry- Plan developmentally appropriate lessons; uses effective questioning strategies; encourage peer interactions which facilitate inquiry; encourage students to reflect upon scientific findings; relate processes of scientific inquiry to other life dimensions.

        Context of Science- Identifies appropriate problems and issues in science and technology, incorporating them into science instruction; distinguishes science from technology; engages students in long term projects; engages students in small/large group discussions; incorporates science/technology/social issues.

        Pedagogy- Incorporates science teaching strategies appropriate for diverse learners; use group teaching activities; relate teaching strategies to student needs; apply appropriate technology into instruction; identify common student misconceptions and how to deal with them.

        Science Curriculum- Relates instructional goals and materials to professional standards; apply a variety of instructional materials/sources; develop lessons with clear goals/objectives; relates science to other school subjects; utilizes community resources; relates experiences in science to the community and workplace.

        Social Context- Collaborates with other preservice teachers; identifies members of community who can assist in teaching science; utilizes data from community; involves families in the learning process.

        Professional Practice- Develops and states a personal philosophy of science based upon current principles of the science education community; understands the community of learners, including peers; documents personal strengths and weaknesses to improve teaching skills; takes personal responsibility for professional growth; demonstrates ability to handle problems/tension; participates in students associations, workshops; reads professional journals.

        Learning Environments- Identifies/utilizes exciting/stimulating classroom experiences; demonstrates knowledge and implementation of safety standards; demonstrate safe and ethical use/care of animals; uses appropriate technology in the classroom.

        Assessment- Identify most appropriate evaluation methods; alters teaching to reflect student assessment; evaluates learning at various cognitive levels; uses valid assessment methods; specifies weights/emphasis used to establish student grades; uses student reflection in assessment; uses multiple information sources in student evaluation.

 

Field Based Experiences Required in Course: There are significant field based experiences required in the USF degree programs, with specific field experiences coordinated through a university coordinator and in-field cooperating teachers. While students are urged to use the content of this course in concurrently registered and future field experiences, the nature of the science teacher preservice programs generally precludes specific field requirements for every student in this course. History has demonstrated that approximately 20 percent of the clientele are in-service teachers, for which field experience requirements may be impossible or unnecessary. For the preservice students registered in SCE 4320, field experiences are implemented through the designated university coordinator and the school systems.

 

Use of Technology in this Course: While used to some extent, the course content does not place major emphasis upon technology in the college classroom.

 

Florida Adopted Subject Area Competencies Addressed in Course: The following Competencies/Skills are addressed in SCE 4320, Teaching Middle Grade Science. A wide variety of science content areas are applied in the class activities, but only the significant competencies/skills related to the nature and methods of science related to its effective teaching are listed here. Our students are required to learn specific science topics in their science classes, and to learn how it may best be taught in SCE 4320, Teaching Middle Grade Science.

 

        ìMiddle Grades General Scienceî, Grades 5-9: Competency/Skill 1, Knowledge of scientific processes and the laboratory: (1.1 Apply knowledge of the primary processes of science: observing, inferring, measuring, communicating/graphing and classifying, 1.2 Apply knowledge of the integrated processes of science: forming hypotheses, manipulating variables, defining operationally, interpreting data and using indirect evidence and models, 1.3 Apply knowledge of designing and performing investigations)

 

In general, all prospective secondary science teachers in USF programs are required to complete SCE 4320, Teaching Middle Grade Science. Therefore competencies/skills listed for the ìhigh schoolî science subjects are also included in the outcomes.

 

        ìBiologyî, Grades 6-12: Competency/Skill 1, Knowledge of the nature of science: (1.1 Recognize the difference between science and pseudoscience, 1.2 Recognize criteria used by scientists for judging the validity of knowledge in science, 1.3 recognizing that criteria used by scientists for judging the validity of knowledge in science change over time, 1.4 Recognize fundamental assumptions that underlie scientific work, 1.5 Define theory, law, hypothesis, 1.7 Identify the relationship between theory and hypothesis, 1.8 Recognize the current limitations of science, 1.9 Recognize that conclusions are limited by the nature of the data) Competency/Skill 2, Knowledge of the investigative processes in science: (2.1 Recognizing the elements of a well-designed controlled experiment, 2.2 Differentiate between various types of research paradigms, 2.3 Recognize the relationship between two variables that can be used to make a prediction, 2.4 Recognize the systematic and objective nature of science as it applies to hypothesis testing by experimentation, 2.5 Identify metric units, 2.6 Use metric units of measure, 2.7 Determine the appropriate use of quantitative and qualitative data)

 

Designated competencies/skills in Chemistry, Earth-Space Science and Physics broadly include the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, but are not arranged as directly with the outcomes of SCE 4320, Teaching Middle Grade Science, as are those specified for Biology, Grades 6-12.

 

        ìChemistryî, Grades 6-12: Various sub-competencies requiring the collection, treatment and interpretation of data (gas laws, reading graphs and tables, describing physical and chemical properties, classification of materials, experimentation)

        ìEarth-Space Scienceî, Grades 6-12: Various sub-competencies requiring the collection, treatment and interpretation of data (inference from data, reading graphs and tables, describing physical and chemical properties, classification of materials, experimentation)

        ìPhysicsî, Grades 6-12: Various sub-competencies requiring the collection, treatment and interpretation of data (inference from data, reading graphs and tables, applications of mathematics, experimentation)

 

Sunshine State Standards Addressed in Course: SCE 4320, Teaching Middle Grade Science, is not primarily a content area course. It does, however, contain a number of illustrative science activities which are related to specific content information, though somewhat greater emphasis is placed upon the processes and nature of science (with stress upon teaching methods) within these activities. The following Florida Sunshine State Standards are exemplified in the course as a basis for the understanding of science teaching methods:

 

        Grades 6-8- Nature of Matter Standard 1 (The student understands that all matter has observable, measurable properties), Energy Standard 1 (The student recognizes that energy may be changed in form with varying efficiency), Force and Motion Standard 1 (The student understands that types of motion may be described, measured and predicted) and Standard 2 (The student understands that the types of force that act on an object and the effect of the force can be described, measured and predicted), Earth and Space Standard 1 (The student understands the interaction and organization in the Solar System and the Universe and how this affects life on Earth) and Standard 2 (The student recognizes the vastness of the universe and the Earthís place in it), Processes of Life Standard 1 (The student describes the patterns of structure and function in living things), Nature of Science Standard 1 (The student uses the scientific processes and habits of mind to solve problems) and Standard 2 (The student understands that most natural events occur in comprehensible, consistent patterns)

        Grades 9-12- Nature of Matter Standard 1 (The student understands that all matter has observable, measurable properties), Energy Standard 1 (The student recognizes that energy may be changed in form with varying efficiency), Force and Motion Standard 1 (The student understands that types of motion may be described, measured and predicted) and Standard 2 (The student understands that the types of force that act upon an object and the effect of that force can be described, measured and predicted), Earth and Space Standard 1 (The student understands the interaction and organization in the Solar System and how this affects life on Earth) and Standard 2 (The student understands the vastness of the universe and the Earthís place in it), Processes of Life Standard 1 (The student describes the patterns of structure and function in living things), Nature of Science Standard 1 (The student uses the scientific processes and habits of mind to solve problems) and Standard 2 (The student understands that most natural events occur in comprehensible, consistent patterns)

 

While the same science ìStandardsî are addressed in grades 6-8 and 9-12, the specific subcategories listed for each are different in the two levels. The content of SCE 4320, Teaching Middle Grade Science, generally includes activities based upon both levels of ìStandardsî.

 

 

 

 

 



 

SCE 4320, Teaching Middle Grade Science

Course Matrix, Attachment I, Departmental Syllabus (continued)

 

Course Objectives:

(as listed on Departmental Syllabus)

Topics:

(Correlated from Departmental Syllabus)

Evidence of Achievement:

Predominant Accomplished Practices:

Upon completion of this course the students will understand the relation of science instruction and the cognitive development of children.

 

 

 

 

content selection strategies (including Piagetian development and knowledge of childrenís learning styles and levels), review of research in teaching science.

 

Examination items, class papers/reports.

Practice #1- Assessment

 

Practice #5-Diversity

 

Practice #7- Human development and                                         learning

 

Practice #10- Planning

 

Upon completion of this course the students will demonstrate skill in performing and teaching the processes of science.

 

 

observation, measuring, classifying, defining operationally, formulating hypotheses, identifying and controlling variables, predicting, application of mathematics, application of language skills, interpreting data, experimenting.

 

Examination items, class projects requiring use and application of the processes.

Practice #2- Communication

 

Practice #4- Critical Thinking

 

Practice #8- Knowledge of subject matter

 

Upon completion of this course the students will integrate science with other content areas.

 

 

 

observation, classifying, defining operationally, predicting, applications of mathematics, interpreting data.

 

 

 

 

 

Application of various content area skills/knowledge into science lessons, activities produced for class (including applications of technology).

Practice #2- Communication

 

Practice #4- Critical thinking

 

Practice #10- Planning

 

Practice #12- Technology

Upon completion of this course the students will develop assessment strategies related to student outcomes in science.

 

 

 

 

 

Content evaluation  strategies.

Application of evaluation criterion to examples of student projects or test responses.

Practice #1- Assessment

 

Practice #4- Critical Thinking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT II

 

Departmental Course Syllabus

 

Preprofessional Benchmarks for the Accomplished Practices

 

 

Practice #1 -- Assessment:    The preprofessional teacher collects and uses data gathered from a variety of sources.  These sources will include both traditional and alternate assessment strategies.  Furthermore, the teacher can identify and match the studentís instructional plan with their cognitive, social, linguistic, cultural, emotional, and physical needs.

 

Practice #2 -- Communication:  The preprofessional teacher recognizes the need for effective communication in the classroom and is in the process of acquiring techniques which she/he will use in the classroom.

 

Practice #3 -- Continuous Improvement:  The preprofessional teacher realizes that she/he is in the initial stages of a life-long learning process and that self reflection is one of the key components of that process.  While her/his concentration is, of necessity, inward and personal, the role of colleagues and school-based improvement activities increase as time passes.  The teacherís continued professional improvement is characterized by self reflection, work with immediate colleagues and teammates, and meeting the goals of a personal professional development plan.

 

Practice #4 -- Critical Thinking:  The preprofessional teacher is acquiring performance assessment techniques and strategies activities designed to assist all students in demonstrating their ability to think creatively.

 

Practice #5 -- Diversity:  The preprofessional teacher establishes a comfortable environment which accepts and fosters diversity.  The teacher must demonstrate knowledge and awareness of varied cultures and linguistic backgrounds.  The teacher creates a climate of openness, inquiry, and support by practicing strategies [such] as acceptance, tolerance, resolution, and mediation.

 

Practice #6 -- Ethics:  The preprofessional teacher adheres to the Code of Ethics and Principles of Professional Conduct of the Education Profession in Florida.

 

Practice #7 -- Human Development and Learning:  Drawing upon well established human development/learning theories and concepts and  a variety of information about students, the preprofessional teacher plans instructional activities.

 

Practice #8 -- Knowledge of Subject Matter:  The preprofessional teacher has a basic understanding of the subject matter and is beginning to understand that the subject is linked to other disciplines and can be applied to real world integrated settings.  The teacherís repertoire of teaching skills include a variety of means to assist student acquisition of new knowledge and skills using that knowledge.

 

Practice #9 -- Learning Environments:  The preprofessional teacher understands the importance of setting up effective learning environments and has techniques and strategies to use to do so including some that provide opportunities for student input into the processes. The teacher understands that she/he will need a variety of techniques and is working to increase knowledge and skills.

 

Practice #10 -- Planning:  The preprofessional teacher recognizes the importance of setting high expectations for all students.  The preprofessional teacher works with other professionals to design learning experiences that meet studentsí needs and interests.  The teacher candidate continually seeks advice/information from appropriate resources including feedback, interprets the information, and modifies her/his plans appropriately.  Planned instruction will incorporate a creative environment and utilize varied and motivational strategies and multiple resources for providing comprehensible instruction for all students.  Upon reflection, the teacher continuously refines outcome assessment and learning experiences.

 

Practice #11 -- Role of the Teacher:  The preprofessional teacher communicates and works cooperatively with families and colleagues to improve the educational experiences at the school.

 

Practice #12 -- Technology:  The preprofessional teacher uses technology as available at the school site and as appropriate to the learner.  She/he provides students with opportunities to actively use technology and facilitates access to the use of electronic resources.  The teacher also uses technology to manage, evaluate, and improve instruction.