Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Richard A. Paselk

Science 331
Fall 2004 Syllabus Office: SA560b
Office Hours: MW 1100-1200, TTh 1300-1400; other times by appointment Phone: x 5719
Home: 822-1116
e-mail: rap1

Fundamental Science Concepts for Elementary Education

Description and Goals: The goal of this course is to build a conceptual understanding of the fundamental ideas in physical science so that the students are prepared to teach physical science in an effective manner at the elementary school level. The course is designed to increase content knowledge in physical science, to build confidence in student's ability to learn and teach physical science and to expose the student to a range of activities for teaching physical science.

The course attempts to lead the student toward a deeper understanding of the physical world by starting with the more concrete concepts before moving on to more abstract reasoning. Students are asked to consider how concepts they are learning can be used to explain the world they observe. The course encourages students to observe how the fundamental concepts (for example energy conservation) connect diverse areas of science (physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, etc.).

Specific goals of this course are to:

  1. increase scientific content knowledge for K-8 education-especially in the physical sciences,
  2. facilitate a deeper appreciation for the process of scientific inquiry,
  3. introduce the Science Framework for CA and link scientific content and methods to them, 
  4. develop communication and technology skills suitable for conveying scientific ideas and teaching
  5. to build a professional collaborative environment of science educators.

Course Prerequisites

Required Resources

Format: This course meets twice weekly for 2 hours each session and will include a mix of interactive direct instruction, collaborative group work and discussion, and most importantly, lab activities. Students will engage in both instructor­guided and open-ended hands-on lab activities and exercises that are designed to include the full range of science process skills. Pre-instruction peer interviews will be conducted with the aim of understanding how others conceive of natural phenomena and to provide a basis for exploring the conceptual hierarchy of scientific ideas. Mathematical concepts and the use of technology will be integrated into the course activities and assignments, including the exploration of resources on the internet. Outside of class, students are expected to keep a portfolio of class activities, assignments, plus other resources, and complete assigned reading and prepare brief lab reports.

Tentative Course Topics: Properties of Matter, Elements, the Periodic Table, Physical and Chemical Changes, Molecules and Compounds, Solutions, Mixtures, and Chemical reactions, Forms of Energy (as needed to understand chemcal phenomena. A more detailed exploration of energy will be presented in the other haldf of the course. Additional topics may include: the Nature and Practice of Science; Experimental and Non-experimental Approaches to Scientific Inquiry; Scientific Presentations.

Evaluation: The grade for the course will be based on approximately 500 points in the following areas below. Minor adjustments to points may be made as the semester unfolds.

One Quiz @ 50 points 50 pts 11%
Lab activities and assignments 200 pts 44%
Project 100 pts 22%
Final Exam (Chem section) 100 pts 22%

Course Webpage: Communication from the instructor that is intended for all students will generally occur via the course webpage. This will include important information about assignments and activities, additional reading, scheduling, resources, and other messages. Check the webpage a couple of times a week. You are responsible for posted material and messages.

Electronic correspondence: E-mail is the most convenient mode of communication for this course. From time to time, I may send email to the entire class. These messages go to your "Preferred" email address, as per HSU records indicated on Web Reg. Questions pertaining to your class performance will not get a reply unless it is sent from your "preferred" email account. Be sure your "Preferred" email address is current!

Late Work: Assignments and other project work that is turned in or completed after the due date will have points deducted. Should unforeseen circumstances occur, please consult with the instructor.


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© R A Paselk

Last modified 13 October 2004