Principles of Physical Science for Elementary Teachers



This is a class about “physical science,” or basic concepts in physics and chemistry, as the course title suggests.  But what exactly does that mean?  Frankly, I’ve been trying to figure this out for about 20 years now.  We say that physics and chemistry are simply the study of matter and energy, but even that isn’t a very helpful description.  If it were up to me, I’d just say that physical science is the container of all we know about the basic mechanisms of the natural world: how things move, why they fall, what causes them to change, etc.  Yet it’s not just what we know, but how we come to know it.  In this class you’ll get to do the figuring out for yourself, and in the process you should start adding to tools of how we come to understand all this stuff.

This course is also focused on the needs of preservice elementary school teachers – so enrollment preference is given to students in programs directed towards gaining a teaching license for grades 6 and below. Classroom activities and demonstrations involving active student participation are used extensively. Laboratory activities are designed so that they involve the use of materials that are readily available from ordinary retail outlets, and so that they can be easily modified for use in the elementary classroom and made relevant to current (and future) science standards.   

Course content and materials

Our course page hosted on Canvas hosts the syllabus, assignments, calendar, resources, etc.

In addition, I'm working on some course notes as an additional resource to students and an additional fun project for me.