B.S. Science Education (Secondary Earth Science) Areas of Study

WGU B.S. Science Education (Secondary Earth Science)

The Bachelor of Science, Science Education (Secondary Earth Science) is a competency-based degree program that prepares students to be licensed as secondary earth and space science teachers. All work in this degree program is online with the exception of the Demonstration Teaching and in-classroom field experience components, which prepare teacher candidates for the classroom. Candidates develop and refine their teaching skills through a series of sequential experiences beginning with video-based observations of classroom instruction to prepare candidates for an authentic, collaborative, preclinical teaching experiences in K-12 settings. Clinical experiences culminate with supervised demonstration teaching in a real classroom. The program consists of work in General Education, Foundations of Teaching, General Science Content, Mathematics Content, Geosciences Content, Pedagogy, Science Education, Field Experience, and Demonstration Teaching.

Foundations of Teaching

Foundational Perspectives of Education
This course provides an introduction to the historical, legal, and philosophical foundations of education. Current educational trends, reform movements, major federal and state laws, legal and ethical responsibilities, and an overview of standards-based curriculum are the focus of the course. The course of study presents a discussion of changes and challenges in contemporary education. It covers the diversity found in American schools, introduces emerging educational technology trends, and provides an overview of contemporary topics in education.

Psychology for Educators
This course prepares candidates to meet the expectations of society and prepares future educators to support classroom practice with research-validated concepts. The course helps future educators to create a framework for refining teaching skills that are focused on the learner, through engaged inquiry of integrating theory, critical issues in psychology, classroom applications with diverse populations, assessment, educational technology, and reflective teaching.

Fundamentals of Diversity, Inclusion, and Exceptional Learners
Students will learn the history of inclusion and develop practical strategies for modifying instruction, in accordance with legal expectations, to meet the needs of a diverse population of learners. This population includes learners with disabilities, gifted and talented learners, culturally diverse learners, and English language learners.

Classroom Management, Engagement, and Motivation
Students will learn the foundations for effective classroom management as well as strategies for creating a safe, positive learning environment for all learners. Students will be introduced to systems that promote student self-awareness, self-management, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. In this course, students will engage practical application via 10 hours of video classroom observations. Students will reflect on how teachers use rules/procedures to maximize student learning and on what makes a highly effective classroom environment. As part of a culminating experience in this course, students will, through the video observation reflections, describe their current teaching philosophy related to classroom environment and management.

Educational Assessment
Educational Assessment assists students in making appropriate data-driven instructional decisions by exploring key concepts relevant to the administration, scoring, and interpretation of classroom assessments. Topics include ethical assessment practices, designing assessments, aligning assessments, and utilizing technology for assessment.

Science

Concepts in Science
Concepts in Science for undergraduates provides students seeking a bachelor’s degree and initial teacher licensure in science education with an introduction to essential science themes present within and across all science disciplines, including chemistry, physics, biology, and the geosciences. These themes include comprehending the magnitude of the physical and natural world, analyzing and converting measurements, understanding the basic nature and behavior of matter and energy, examining atomic structure, identifying and naming basic types of chemical bonds, and analyzing and interpreting scientific data. Concepts in Science provides a solid foundation for future, in-depth, scientific studies and should be taken prior to any other science content course. There are no prerequisites for this course.

General Education

English Composition I
English Composition I introduces learners to the types of writing and thinking that are valued in college and beyond. Students will practice writing in several genres with emphasis placed on writing and revising academic arguments. Instruction and exercises in grammar, mechanics, research documentation, and style are paired with each module so that writers can practice these skills as necessary. Comp I is a foundational course designed to help students prepare for success at the college level. There are no prerequisites for English Composition I.

College Algebra
This course provides further application and analysis of algebraic concepts and functions through mathematical modeling of real-world situations. Topics include: real numbers, algebraic expressions, equations and inequalities, graphs and functions, polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, and systems of linear equations.

English Composition II
English Composition II introduces undergraduate students to research writing. It is a foundational course designed to help students prepare for advanced writing within the discipline and to complete the capstone. Specifically, this course will help students develop or improve research, reference citation, document organization, and writing skills. English Composition I or equivalent is a prerequisite for this course.

Introduction to Communication
This introductory communication course allows students to become familiar with the fundamental communication theories and practices necessary to engage in healthy professional and personal relationships. Students will survey human communication on multiple levels and critically apply the theoretical grounding of the course to interpersonal, intercultural, small group, and public presentational contexts. The course also encourages students to consider the influence of language, perception, culture, and media on their daily communicative interactions. In addition to theory, students will engage in the application of effective communication skills through systematically preparing and delivering an oral presentation. By practicing these fundamental skills in human communication, students become more competent communicators as they develop more flexible, useful, and discriminatory communicative practices in a variety of contexts.

Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan
This course introduces students to human development across the lifespan. This will include an introductory survey of cognitive, psychological, and physical growth. Students will gain an understanding in regards to the emergence of personality, identity, gender and sexuality, social relationships, emotion, language, and moral development through life. This will include milestones such as education, achievement, work, dying, and death.

Applied Probability and Statistics
Applied Probability and Statistics is designed to help students develop competence in the fundamental concepts of basic statistics including: introductory algebra and graphing; descriptive statistics; regression and correlation; and probability. Statistical data and probability are often used in business and information technology (IT) to make informed decisions about the validity of studies and the effect of data on decisions. This course discusses what constitutes sound research design and how to appropriately model phenomena using statistical data. Additionally, the content covers simple probability calculations, based on events that occur in the business and IT industries. No prerequisites are required for this course.

Survey of United States History
This course presents a broad and thematic survey of U.S. history from European colonization to the mid-twentieth century. Students will explore how historical events and major themes in American history have affected a diverse population.

Introduction to Humanities
This introductory humanities course allows students to practice essential writing, communication, and critical thinking skills necessary to engage in civic and professional interactions as mature, informed adults. Whether through studying literature, visual and performing arts, or philosophy, all humanities courses stress the need to form reasoned, analytical, and articulate responses to cultural and creative works. Studying a wide variety of creative works allows students to more effectively enter the global community with a broad and enlightened perspective.

General Science Content

Introduction to Biology
This course is a foundational introduction to the biological sciences. The overarching theories of life from biological research are explored as well as the fundamental concepts and principles of the study of living organisms and their interaction with the environment. Key concepts include how living organisms use and produce energy; how life grows, develops, and reproduces; how life responds to the environment to maintain internal stability; and how life evolves and adapts to the environment.

Integrated Physical Sciences
This course provides students with an overview of the basic principles and unifying ideas of the physical sciences: physics, chemistry, and Earth sciences. Course materials focus on scientific reasoning and practical and everyday applications of physical science concepts to help students integrate conceptual knowledge with practical skills.

Natural Science Lab
This course gives you an introduction to using the scientific method and engaging in scientific research to reach conclusions about the natural world. You will design and carry out an experiment to investigate a hypothesis by gathering quantitative data.

General Physics
This course provides a broad overview of the principles of mechanics, thermodynamics, wave motion, modern physics, and electricity and magnetism and invites students to apply them by solving problems, performing labs, and reflecting on concepts and ideas.

Geology I: Physical
Geology I: Physical provides undergraduate students seeking licensure or endorsement in science education for grades 5-12 with an introduction to minerals and rocks, the physical features of the Earth, and the internal and surface processes that shape those features. This course has no prerequisites.

Ecology and Environmental Science
Ecology and Environmental Science is an introductory course for undergraduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement in science education for grades 5–12. The course explores the relationships between organisms and their environment, including population ecology, communities, adaptations, distributions, interactions, and the environmental factors controlling these relationships. This course has no prerequisites.

Chemistry Content

Chemistry with Lab
Chemistry with Lab for undergraduates provides students seeking initial teacher licensure in middle school science, physics, biology, or the geosciences with an introduction to the field of chemistry, the branch of science that studies the composition, structure, properties, and behavior of matter. Designed for those not majoring in chemistry education, this course highlights how the topics covered can be applied within various branches of science. This course provides students with opportunities to examine the electronic structure of atoms, study periodic trends, name chemical compounds, write chemical formulas, determine the structure of molecules, balance chemical reactions, and discover the changing states of matter. Laboratory experiences facilitate the study of matter and the application of laboratory safety and maintenance procedures. Concepts in Science for undergraduates is a prerequisite for this course.

Geosciences Content

Geology II: Earth Systems
Geology II: Earth Systems provides undergraduate students seeking licensure or endorsement in science education for grades 5-12 with an examination of the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere, and the dynamic equilibrium of these systems over geologic time. This course also examines the history of Earth and its life-forms, with an emphasis in meteorology. A prerequisite for this course is Geology I: Physical.

Astronomy
This course provides undergraduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement in geosciences for grades 5−12 with essential knowledge of astronomy and explores Western history and basic physics of astronomy; phases of the moon and seasons; composition and properties of solar system bodies; stellar evolution and remnants; properties and scale of objects and distances within the universe; and introductory cosmology. A prerequisite for this course is General Physics.

The Ocean Systems
In this course, learners investigate the complex ocean system by looking at the way its components—atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere—interact. Specific topics include: origins of Earth’s oceans and the early history of life; physical characteristics and geologic processes of the ocean floor; chemistry of the water molecule; energy flow between air and water, and how ocean surface currents and deep circulation patterns affect weather and climate; marine biology and why ecosystems are an integral part of the ocean system; the effects of human activity; and the role of professional educators in teaching about ocean systems.

Earth Science: Content Knowledge
This course covers the advanced content knowledge that a secondary Earth Science teachers is expected to know and understand. Topics include basic scientific principles of Earth and Space Sciences, tectonics and internal Earth processes, Earth materials and surface processes, history of the Earth and its Life-Forms, Earth's atmosphere and hydrosphhere, and astronomy.

Science Education

Science, Technology, and Society
Science, Technology, and Society explores the ways in which science influences and is influenced by society and technology. A humanistic and social endeavor, science serves the needs of ever-changing societies by providing methods for observing, questioning, discovering, and communicating information about the physical and natural world. This course prepares educators to explain the nature and history of science, the various applications of science, and the scientific and engineering processes used to conduct investigations, make decisions, and solve problems. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Pedagogy

Introduction to Instructional Planning and Presentation
Students will develop a basic understanding of effective instructional principles and how to differentiate instruction in order to elicit powerful teaching in the classroom.

Secondary Reading Instruction and Interventions
Secondary Reading Instruction and Intervention explores the comprehensive, student-centered Response to Intervention (RTI) assessment and intervention model used to identify and address the needs of learners in grades 5–12 who struggle with reading comprehension and/or information retention. Course content provides educators with effective strategies designed to scaffold instruction and help learners develop increased skill in the following areas: reading, vocabulary, text structures and genres, and logical reasoning related to the academic disciplines. This course has no prerequisites.

Instructional Planning and Presentation in Science
Students will continue to build instructional planning skills with a focus on selecting appropriate materials for diverse learners, selecting age- and ability- appropriate strategies for the content areas, promoting critical thinking, and establishing both short- and long- term goals.

Secondary Disciplinary Literacy
Secondary Disciplinary Literacy examines teaching strategies designed to help learners in grades 5-12 improve upon the literacy skills required to read, write, and think critically while engaging content in different academic disciplines. Themes include exploring how language structures, text features, vocabulary, and context influence reading comprehension across the curriculum. Course content highlights strategies and tools designed to help teachers assess the reading comprehension and writing proficiency of learners and provides strategies to support students' reading and writing success in all curriculum areas. This course has no prerequisites.

Education

Science Methods—Secondary Earth Science
Science Methods provides undergraduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement in the sciences for grades 5-12 with an introduction to science teaching methods and laboratory safety training. Course content focuses on designing and teaching with the three dimensions of science: disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices. Laboratory safety training and certification will include the proper use of personal protective equipment and safe laboratory practices and procedures in science classrooms. This course has no prerequisites.

Field Experience

Preclinical Experiences in Science
Preclinical Experiences in Science provides students the opportunity to observe and participate in a wide range of in-classroom teaching experiences in order to develop the skills and confidence necessary to be an effective teacher. Students will document and reflect upon at least 75 hours of authentic in-classroom experiences, and an early evaluation of teaching will occur to provide feedback and suggestions for continued professional development. Prior to entering the classroom for the observations, students will be required to meet several requirements including a cleared background check, passing scores on the state or WGU required basic skills exam and a completed resume. This course is aligned to the InTASC model core teaching standards.

Demonstration Teaching

Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Science
Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Science involves a series of classroom performance observations by the host teacher and clinical supervisor that develop comprehensive performance data about the teacher candidate’s skills.

Teacher Performance Assessment in Science
The Teacher Performance Assessment is a culmination of the wide variety of skills learned during your time in the Teachers College at WGU. In order to be a competent and independent classroom teacher, you will showcase a collection of your content, planning, instructional, and reflective skills in this professional assessment.

Professional Portfolio
You will create an online teaching portfolio that includes professional artifacts and evidence of practice that demonstrate the skills you developed and refined throughout your Demonstration Teaching Experience. This course is aligned to the InTASC model core teaching standards.

Cohort Seminar
The Cohort Seminar provides mentoring and supports teacher candidates during their demonstration teaching period by providing weekly collaboration and instruction related to the demonstration teaching experience. It facilitates their demonstration of competence in becoming reflective practitioners, adhering to ethical standards, practicing inclusion in a diverse classroom, exploring community resources, building collegial and collaborative relationships with teachers, and considering leadership and supervisory skills.

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