Helping Preservice Teachers Implement and Assess Research-based Instruction in K-12 Classrooms

written by Donna Messina, Lezlie S. DeWater, and MacKenzie R. Stetzer

The Physics Education Group at the University of Washington offers special physics courses for preservice teachers. The three-quarter sequence helps prospective teachers develop an in-depth understanding of some of the important basic concepts they will teach. The guided-inquiry pedagogical approach provides them with an opportunity to learn as they will be expected to teach. As a result of the course, preservice teachers also come to recognize some conceptual and reasoning difficulties commonly encountered by students. A culmination of their experience is a teaching practicum in which the preservice teachers apply what they have learned to instruction in middle or high school classrooms. Observations of the preservice teachers as they design, teach, and assess their lessons contribute to our understanding of the type of preparation needed for them to be able to teach physics and physical science by inquiry.

Resource Materials for Teaching Science Inquiry Methods

written by 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.

Course Transformation: Strategies

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.

The State of High School Physics and Physics First

written by Paul Hickman
published by the Physics Teacher Education Coalition

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.

Physics by Inquiry: A research-based approach to preparing K-12 teachers of physics and physical sci

written by Lillian C. McDermott, Paula R. L. Heron, and Peter S. 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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