Education 310

EDUC 310: Teaching and Learning Elementary Science

Prerequisites: 2.5 GPA

Credit Hours: (3) Three hours lecture

Teacher candidates will learn developmentally appropriate, research based teaching methods for science in the elementary classroom. The pedagogy will build upon the science courses taken by students and will provide concrete experiences for implementation and incorporation of national and state standards in planning and instruction.


Detailed Description of Course Content

I. National and State Science Standards:

            a. National Science Education Standards

            b. Virginia Standards of Learning for Science (Grades K-6)

            c. Virginia Standards of Learning for Technology (Grade 5)

2. Appropriate Teaching and Learning Strategies for Elementary Science

            a. Nature of science

            b. How young children learn science

            c. Multiple instructional strategies for diverse classes

3. Inquiry Learning and Instruction

            a. Concept development

            b. Vocabulary development

            c. Applications of concepts, skills and vocabulary

4. Science Themes

            a. Safety

            b. Instructional technology

            c. Investigation and reasoning

            d. Force, motion, energy          

            e. Life processes and living systems

            f. Interrelationships in earth and space systems

            g. Instrumentation

5. Scientific Process Skills

            a. Observing

            b. Classifying

            c. Inferring

            d. Communicating

            e. Explaining

            f. Measuring

            g. Predicting

            h. Hypothesizing

            i. Experimenting

            j. Analyzing

6. Minds-On, Hands-On Science

            a. Large and small group instruction

            b. Cooperative work

            c. Questioning Skills

            d. Problem based learning

            e. Materials management

            f. Classroom organization for effective science instruction

            g. Adapting instruction for varying ability levels

7. Integration Across the Curriculum

            a. Literacy strategies

8. Authentic Assessment of Children’s Learning

            a. Performance assessment

            b. Rubrics

            c. Checklists


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course is designed to offer concrete experiences for classroom application. Students will use everyday materials to explore and practice effective science pedagogy. Class time will be spent in discussion of the applications of learning theories to science pedagogy and incorporating national and Virginia Department of Education standards in planning and instruction.


Student Goals and Objectives

ACEI – Association for Childhood Education International; VGC -- Virginia Department of Education General Content; VPS – Virginia Department of Education Professional Studies; SIM – Strategic Instructional Model; TSIP – Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel

NCATE – National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education -- standards 1b-Pedadgocial content knowledge; 1c-Professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills for teacher candidates; 1g-Professional dispositions

The Strategic Instructional Model (SIM) is referenced within the above goals and objectives. Their strategies are incorporated throughout the course to address instruction for modifying the experiences to meet the individual needs of children, including children with disabilities, gifted children, and children with limited proficiency in English and children with diverse cultural needs.

By successfully completing this course, preservice elementary teachers will be able to:

1. Incorporate state and national standards in planning and instruction (ACEI 2c, 3a, VGC 1a, 2.d3a, 2.d3c, VPS 2, TSIP V, NCATE 1b)

2. Use the processes of science to sustain intellectual curiosity and problem solving. (ACEI 2c, 3c, 3d, VGC 1d, VPS 2, NCATE 1b)

3. Apply theories of learning and integration to science instruction and incorporating technologies in learning. (ACEI 1, 3a, VGC 1b, 2.d5b, 2.d5f, VPS 2, TSIP I, II, III, NCATE 1b, 1c)

4. Plan instruction and assessments based on research of how children learn to include differentiated instruction for learners at different stages of development, abilities and achievement. (ACEI 1, 3a, 3b, VGC 1c, 1g,VPS 2, TSIP VII, NCATE 1g, SIM)

6. Use concrete manipulative materials effectively in instruction to demonstrate comprehension skills (ACEI 3b, VGC 2.3e, VPS 2, NCATE 1b, 1c)

7. Integrate effective strategies for facilitating the learning of standard English by speakers of other languages as well as strategies to increase vocabulary/concept development while fostering an appreciation of literature in the science curriculum. (ACEI 2b, 3a 3b, 3d, 3e, VGC 2.2c, 2.3b, 2.3f, VPS 2, NCATE 1g, SIM)

8. Select appropriate objectives, activities and teaching materials for science instruction while modifying the experiences to meet the individual needs of children, including children with disabilities, gifted children, and children with limited proficiency in English and children with diverse cultural needs. (ACEI 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, VGC 1a, 1f, VPS 2, TSIP I, SIM)

9. Effectively manage materials and behavior through methods that build responsibility and self-discipline during hands-on learning activities. (ACEI 3c, 3d, VGC 1e, 1f, 2.d3b, VPS 2, NCATE 1b)

10. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of science and their unifying concepts of science such as: scale and model, form and function, organization, interactions, change and conservation. (ACEI 2c, 3c, 3d, VGC 2.d1, 2.d2b, VPS 2, NCATE 1b)

11. Assess both formally and informally to diagnose needs, plan and modify instruction, and record student progress as well as children’s conceptual understanding and communication of science. (ACEI 4, VCG 1g, NCATE 1g, SIM)

12. Understanding the nature of science and scientific inquiry and assess children’s use of science process skills to include prediction, graphical representations. (ACEI 4, VGC 2.4e, 2.4, 2.d2, VPS 2, NCATE 1b)


Assessment Measures

Students will demonstrate understandings and the ability to apply course content through assessment in the form of: class participation, quizzes on content and readings, performance based assessment, science pedagogy, task analysis and lesson plans based on Virginia Science Standards of Learning. In order to pass this course, students must meet the technology competencies listed in this official syllabus.

Task Analysis project is a key NCATE assessment of the Elementary Education program.

The SmartBoard project assesses technology competency for the Elementary Education program.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

Revised April, 2009