California State University, East Bay has developed a new, highly-accessible, focused, and standards-based sequence comprised of four online lecture courses and four lab courses designed to prepare teachers to earn address the state’s teaching Authorization in Foundational Level General Science (FLGS). One goal of this program is to support pre-service and in-service teachers in developing the expertise to become authorized to teach science in grades 6 through 8. An additional goal is to enhance K-8 teachers’ content knowledge for delivering high quality science instruction throughout the elementary and middle school grades.
The program’s new courses were developed with the additional goal of providing inquiry-based learning opportunities that demonstrate how scientific principles and mathematical approaches are applied in developing technologies and in achieving advances in engineering disciplines. A key feature of the program was therefore intentional attention to integration of the STEM disciplines and engineering applications.
This was achieved through the collaborative efforts of faculty from science, mathematics, engineering, teacher education, and practicing engineers. Course content was designed to prepare teachers to pass California State teacher licensing exams in science (CSET 118 and 119).
However, because these courses also focus on developing scientific and engineering practices and linking crosscutting concepts, they are fully applicable to the Next Generation Science Standards. Laboratory activities were developed to model inquiry-based learning, rather than “cookbook” approaches that are often used in labs. The labs are sophisticated, content-rich activities that can be adapted to the elementary-or-middle-school science classroom. Lab activities have been developed for Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics.
Examples of these lab activities are: