Dr. Charles J. Rop,   University of Toledo

Welcome to Physical Science Concepts, a course designed for those interested in teaching science


This Syllabus is divided into 9 parts. Follow these links

I.    Instructor Information

II.  Course Description

III. Course Goals and Objectives

IV. Course Requirements

V. Grading

VI. General Class Procedures

VII. Assumptions about Computer Technology

VIII. Other Course Materials

IX. Tentative Schedule

Scroll down to read syllabus

I. Instructor Information

Charles J. Rop

338 Snyder Memorial

College of Education

(419) 530-2887

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30AM

II. Course Description

Exploration of physical science concepts and related science curriculum issues, trends and practice.

This is a science course designed for elementary and middle-school teachers to review and update their physical science background. Although this is not a methods class, students will have the opportunity to prepare and field test instructional activities for classroom use.

III. Course Goals and Objectives (Students will...)

Demonstrate familiarity with and skill in the use of Science: Ohio's Model Competency-based Program in planning physical science instruction

Demonstrate a positive attitude towards science and to appreciate the complexity of teaching science

Demonstrate Knowledge and understanding of basic physical science concepts and process skills discussed in class

Demonstrate understanding of the complexity of the social implications of physical science

Demonstrate the knowledge and implications of scientific methods

Demonstrate understanding of the interrelatedness of the different disciplines and academic areas

Demonstrate understandings of the interrelations between science, technology and society

Demonstrate the ability to adapt lessons and lesson plans to varying student needs

Demonstrate the ability to plan and teach a physical science lesson that is centered in student hands-on experiences.

IV. Course Requirements

Writing to Learn: (15% of your grade) Write briefly at least once each week. I will provide more details about this requirement as the term progresses.

Course Readings: (10%) At various times, I will assign articles or children's books to read. You will be expected to read these before the next class session and write a brief annotation or reaction.

Micro-teaching Presentations: (30%) You will be required to design and teach two mini physical science lessons to your peers. The first lesson presentation should last at least 10-15 minutes and will consist of a demonstration and discussion. The second lesson will require the rest of us to do an experiment or laboratory exercise of your design and therefore will take a little more time. In each lesson, be sure to promote critical thinking and problem solving. Both lessons should follow the Ohio Science Model guidelines and include a detailed, written lesson plan. A peer and I will give you written feedback about your lessons. You will also do a self evaluation of your lesson.

Resources Scrapbook, Portfolio, or File: (15%) During this semester, you will collect ideas, activities, web sites, and other local resources you can use in your teaching of physical science. You will develop your own system to organize these resources so that they can be of practical use to you in your career. Your notebook should include the following sections:

1. Table of contents

2. Lesson plans. In this section, include a dozen or more lesson plans that you developed yourself. Follow the lesson-plan format we use for the micro-teaching experience. You may include the two lessons you developed for your micro-teaching requirement.

3. Annotated bibliography of web sites. This will include the site address and a short paragraph describing the site. In a second paragraph, tell if, when and why you will be able to use this site again.

4. Local resources. Include brochures, flyers, and other information about Toledo and Northwest Ohio resources you might use if you taught physical science in Toledo or the surrounding area.

5. Other miscellaneous resources for teaching physical science.

Final Exam: ( 10%) To be discussed later. This will be a take-home writing assignment. You will have the opportunity to draft your own philosophy of science education.

Attendance and Participation (20%) You are expected to come to every class on time and participate orally in class discussions (Note attendance policy below).

Personal Report Card

This report form is supplied for your personal use. Please keep track of your progress through this course and turn your report card in during the last class session. This will give you the opportunity to keep your own records and also to give me comments and feedback.


V. Grading

Evaluation Criteria

This course is taught on a mastery learning basis using the typical U. of Toledo grading system. Therefore, a grade of 3.0 will represent satisfactory demonstration or mastery of the required course learning outcomes. Grades 3.5 and higher will be earned by students who demonstrate very strong and outstanding achievement beyond the basic level which is required.

As in any mastery learning situation, you will have opportunities to continue to develop your work and deepen or extend your projects without grading penalty until both you and I judge them to be at lease satisfactory. Therefore, you are expected to draft and revise your work in order to gradually polish the course projects. As part of this, you may wish to interact with your peers and other group members for feedback as you proceed toward the final product. Please make use of the Writing Center on campus for obtaining good feedback on written assignments. I will also meet with you and/or provide written feedback about your work in process as you request.

General criteria:

• Congruence with the course outcomes, session outcomes, and project criteria as given

• Accurate, clearly organized interconnected and contextual understandings of course content

• Accuracy, organization, and clarity of oral and written communication

• Attendance and participation

Note: Specific criteria will be provided for each of the course assignments and projects

VI. General Class Procedures

General Class Procedures and Logistic expectations

In a course which focuses on best practice in science education, it seems particularly dangerous to imply that there is "one right way" to learn, to be collegial, to collaborate with other educators, and to demonstrate and use what you have learned. Rather, it seems necessary during this course to deliberately use a wide variety of methodologies, materials, activities and assignments as a woven net, so to speak, in an effort to:

• gather and analyze many different kinds of qualitative and quantitative evidence about what physical science education is all about now and should be like in the future as "raw grist" for...

• reflection about your role as science teacher and future leader in educational reform from as many perspectives as possible.

Only in this way, it seems, can we hope to adequately respond to the actual complexity found in us as leader-educators working in diverse settings with specific colleagues, students, and community concerns.

Therefore, the course will consist of an on-going cycle of individual readings, hands-on laboratory experiences, lesson design work, and reflection as well as instructor or guest presentations, whole class discussion and problem solving, and small group collaboration.

Attendance Policy

Due to the nature of the course and the relatively short time we have to learn together, it is highly desirable for participants to attend, actively participate in all class sessions, and successfully complete all assignments. However, it is also recognized that occasional professional and personal responsibilities may hinder attendance. When this happens, [a] if possible, please notify me and a pre-designated learning partner ahead of time, [b] obtain any class session notes and handouts from your partner, and [c] contact me about any aspect of class content which is not clearly understood after talking with your partner. More than one absence will result in a lowered grade.

Standard Resources for Learning

In addition to a small number of photocopied articles I will bring to class, the following books will be used as texts during this course.


Ohio Department of Education (1994) Science: Ohio's model competency-based program. Columbus: OH Department of Education, Document Management Services

[Or, you can download the Ohio Model for Science from their web site. Although this is not as convenient as the book, it is cheaper. Click on Ohio Content Standards]

Stepans, J. (1996) Targeting students' misconceptions: Physical science concepts using the conceptual change model. Riverview FL: The Idea Factory


AAAS (1993) Benchmarks for science literacy: Project 2061. New York: Oxford University Press.

Butzow, C.M. (1989) Science through children's literature. Englewood, CA: Teacher Ideas Press

DeBruin, J. [Any of his Carthage IL: Good Apple books.]

Driver, R. (1994) Making sense of secondary science. New York: Routledge

Hubbard, R. (1990) The politics of women's biology. New Brunswick: Rutgers

Keller, E.F. (1985) Reflections on gender in science. New Haven: Yale University Press

Liem, T.L. (1992) Invitations to science inquiry (2nd Ed). Chino Hills, CA: Science Inquiry Press

Loucks-Horsley, S. (1990). Elementary school science for the 90's. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD

NRC (1996) National Science Education Standards. Washington DC: National Academy Press

Ontario Science Center. (1984) Science Works: 65 experiments that introduce the fun and wonder of science. Reading MA: Addison-Wesley

Stein, S. (1979) The science book New York: Workman Publishing


VII. Assumptions about Computer Technology

Since an important theme for this course is learning to use computer technology to influence student engaged learning, we will make some basic assumptions about your familiarity with or access to computers. If these assumptions are not valid for you, please contact the instructor during the first week of class. We will negotiate some way to make sure you can fully participate in all the course activities.

  1. You have access to a computer that is linked to the internet
  2. You are familiar with basic word processing
  3. You have done email and can attach documents, etc
  4. You can negotiate your way through WWW

VIII. Other Course Materials

Follow This Link to Learning Modules and Other Materials

Lesson Planning Activity

Lesson Planning form

Module 3--Micro-Teaching

NCREL Pathways

IX. Tentative Schedule

Calendar at a glance

Part I Measurement & States of Matter:

Liquids, solids and gases.

Project or Assignment Due Dates
Day 1

Introductions & Toys

Reading & Writing

See agenda

Day 2

Introduction to Matter

Reading & Writing

Begin work on micro-teaching assignment

Begin collecting resources for your scrapbook or portfolio on physical science

Day 3

Density and buoyancy

Reading & Writing
Day 4

Air pressure

Reading & Writing
Day 5 Micro-teaching #1 with peer evaluation


Reading & Writing
Part II Motion and Energy  
Day 6

Introduction to motion

Reading & Writing
Day 7

Electricity & Heat

Reading & Writing
Day 8 Reading & Writing
Day 9


Reading & Writing
Day 10 Micro-teaching #2 with peer evaluation

Sound & light & color

Reading & Writing
Day 11

Energy transformations

Reading & Writing
Day 12

Independent work session

Reading & Writing
Part III Simple Machines  
Day 13

Simple machines are science too

Reading & Writing

Take-home exam question handed out

Day 14

Independent work session

Day 15 Resource Scrapbook or Portfolio is due

Exam discussion

Day 16 EXAMS Exam paper due

Turn in your Personal Grade Report Form

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