Course Description

Course Requirements

Grading Policy

Due Dates for Major Projects

Additional Resources

Class Schedule 586

Class Schedule 587

Assignments 586 & 567

Class Notes 586

Class Notes 587

Our Resources



EDTEP 586-587
Teaching Science in the Secondary School


The College of Education prepares caring, knowledgeable, and reflective practitioners grounded in the best practices and dedicated to meeting the needs of all students.



EDTEP 586, 587 - 5 credits Autumn; 3 credits Winter

I. The Course: Aims and Overview

I am excited to share the experiences of this course with you. I look forward to introducing you to the world of science teaching. This course goes beyond simple “techniques” for instruction— we, as co-learners, will be involved in helping each other develop an understanding of how the world of the student and the world of science intersect. You will participate in the best practices of science teaching and reflect on these practices in order to understand them and adapt them as necessary.

These best practices are essential to teaching science as inquiry, and to promote science as an active investigation of the world rather than an accumulation of isolated facts.

A primary assumption of this course is that learners construct the world around them. That is, they struggle to impose order on their worlds by interpreting all new experiences in light of their existing knowledge—knowledge that is always mediated by the cultural particulars and language with which they have learned to make sense of the world. We will explore in depth what these assumptions imply for the way science can be taught.

 The themes for the course are:

1)     teaching for understanding

2)     listening and encouraging student discourse

3)     fostering communities for all students to learn science

4)     becoming culturally responsive science teachers

5)    becoming a good colleague  

These ideas will permeate the activities and the conversations of our time together!

My goals for you are based on recommendations from the National Science Education Standards, State of Washington WACs, and on foundational principles of this teacher education program. You will understand:

·    what makes science a unique way of knowing the world,

·    how to examine the culture of science classrooms and cultural connections and disconnections these create for students,

·    methods for providing equal access to science learning in the classroom,

·    how the concerns of science, technology, and society are interrelated,

·    how constructivist methods of instruction connect the everyday experiences of learner to the world of scientific thought,

·    how to apply principles of inquiry teaching in a science classroom,

·    how to design lesson, unit, and year plans based on Washington’s Essential Academic Learning Requirements,

·    how to identify science curricula that engages learners of all cultural backgrounds, and,

·    how to manage a safe science classroom.


This course is offered over two quarters. At the end of the first quarter (Fall), a grade of “N” will be given to all students making satisfactory progress. A course grade for all 8 credits will be given at the end of the second quarter (Winter). The class also includes a technology component in the fall.

Everyone is expected to attend all class sessions unless there are extenuating circumstances and you make me aware of the circumstances ahead of time. If you must miss a class, you are responsible for having a classmate get the next session’s readings for you and inform you about class activities.

If you have any concerns about the class, please feel free to contact me. All conversations will be held in strict confidence. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor, or are not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the Chair of Curriculum and Instruction. If you still are not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the head of Teacher Education.



II. Course requirements / Major projects (includes both fall and winter quarters, details of projects 2 and 4 are described in attachments to this syllabus)

General specifications for all written work: Always type (word process) your work. Submit it on the date due with a cover page showing your name, the date, the course and grade level for which you have prepared the work, and the title of the assignment. Pay attention to clarity and form. Clear descriptive headings are very important along with a distinct separation of parts. You will receive examples for all lesson plans.


1. (Fall and winter quarters) Daily assignments and participation: In addition to readings for each class, other brief assignments will be given on a regular basis. You are expected to complete all readings assigned from the text and from other sources, and to participate in discussions on those readings. You are also expected to have all other types of assignments ready on time.


2. (Fall quarter) Lesson plans: Three times during fall quarter you will produce a lesson plan, teach from it, and revise the plan based on your teaching experience. Each of these three times you will turn in the revised version with all revised text in bold type and a reflection on the lesson. Samples of lesson plans will be distributed in class beforehand as models.


3. (Fall quarter) Technology-related assignments: You will be given assignments regularly; this portion of the class will be pass/no pass. Any work that results in a “no pass” must be revised until it receives a passing mark.


4. (Fall quarter) Inquiry Project: Many teachers have never had the opportunity to generate their own inquiry question and conduct a study to answer that question. To better understand the perspectives of your own students (when they conduct inquiry themselves), you will be given the opportunity to engage in an independent inquiry experience and share the results of that inquiry with peers.


5. (Winter quarter) Teaching Practicum: You will design a series of lessons to be taught during your winter quarter field experience. You will debrief with the TA after the teaching experience.


6. (Winter quarter) Unit of instruction: You will design a two to three week unit of instruction on the topic of your choice. You will integrate the relevant Essential Learnings into the unit.



III. Grading:

1. Daily assignments, participation in discussion     10%    

2. Lesson plans, revisions, reflections (fall)             30%

3. Technology-related assignments (fall)                  P/NP

4. Inquiry project (fall)                                              20%

5. Teaching Practicum (winter)                                 20%

6. Unit of instruction (winter)                                    20%




IV. Due Dates for Major Projects (subject to some adjustments)

• Revised lessons plans & reflection             Due the period after you do your microteaching

• Inquiry project (after presentation)             December 14th

• Teaching practicum                                     Due one week after winter teaching

• Unit of instruction                                       Monday of finals week, winter quarter



V. Additional Resources

 These are books, articles, journals, and Web sites that have valuable information beyond what is offered in our text. I urge you to investigate these.

 1. National Science Education Standards: National Research Council, (1996).

 2. Publications from the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

AAAS, Science Literacy for a Changing Future (Project 2061), 1994.

AAAS, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, 1993.

AAAS, Science for All Americans (Project 2061), 1990.

 3. Inquiring Into Inquiry Teaching and Learning (2000) by Jim Minstrell and Emily van Zee. AAAS Publishing.

 4. The Science Teacher (507 ST in library): This is a practitioners journal aimed at secondary science teachers.

 5. Science and Children (LB 1585.S34 in library): This is a practitioners journal aimed at elementary science teachers.

 6. The Physics Teacher (physics-astronomy periodicals  530.5 PHYT)

 7. Science Scope (NSTA publication for grade 5-9) (LB 1585.3.M52)

 8. Journal of Chemical Education (Chemistry periodicals   540.5 JOR)

 9. The American Biology Teacher (natural science periodicals 570.7 AM)

 10. Chemistry  The "organ” for student science clubs of America (undergrad periodicals   QD1.C74)

 11. Web sites: I will also supply you with bookmarked sites during our technology class...

            http://www.nsta.org/  (National Science Teachers Association)

            http://www.ospi.wednet.edu/ (Washington State’s office of Public Instruction homepage)