An Integrated Earth Science, Astronomy, and Physics Course for Elementary Education Majors
Physical World is a one-semester course designed for elementary education majors, that integrates earth science, astronomy, and physics. The course is part of a four-course set that explores science concepts, processes, and skills, along with the nature of scientific practice, that are included in state and national standards for elementary school science. Geo-science concepts, such as water and seismic waves, are used to illustrate general principles of physics, such as wave transmission, refraction, reflection, and interference. Laboratories are drawn from both introductory physics and earth science courses and have been redesigned to have a strong inquiry component. Pre-assessments were used to evaluate students' prior knowledge of key ideas. The use of pyramid tests measurably enhanced student performance. A major theme of the course is how science is represented (and misrepresented) in the media. Pedagogical challenges encountered in the course are due to various factors, two main ones being lack of previous experience with the natural world among a largely urban student body and the diversity of material that the course covers.
Plotnick, R. E., Varelas, M., & Fan, Q. (2009). An Integrated Earth Science, Astronomy, and Physics Course for Elementary Education Majors. Journal of Geoscience Education, 57(2), 152–158. https://doi.org/10.5408/1.3544251