Laura Van Wormer
Professor of Physics and Chair
Collaboration with Education DepartmentThe physics department has begun a collaboration with the education department. Conversations about how we might best help with science education have led to the physical science course that all elementary and middle school education majors must take. A physics faculty member now teaches the physical science course, and has been doing physics education research on both content and attitudinal outcomes. The course curriculum (PSET) is entirely guided-inquiry and is taught in a 3 week intensive format.
These students also have to take an Understanding Science course. The instructor for that course has been collaborating with a physics faculty member to make these two courses into a sequence that build on and strengthen each other, with a commitment to inquiry-based learning and addressing the state standards.
The education and physics departments are also beginning conversations on potential summer programs for in-service teachers, focusing on physical science. These may take the form of workshops or be courses offered at the Master's degree level.