Teaching Physical Sciences by Ocean Inquiry
SMS 491 and EDW 472
Syllabus- Spring 2008

This course is supported by the National Science Foundation as part of the COSEE-OS (Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence-Ocean Systems) program

Tuesdays 4:30-6:30 PM
Wednesdays: 4:30-5:30 PM

LOCATION: 216 Shibles Hall

Herman Weller (College of Education): Herman_Weller@umit.maine.edu
Lee Karp-Boss (School of Marine Sciences): lee.karp-boss@maine.edu; leekarpboss@gmail.com
Emmanuel Boss (School of Marine Sciences): emmauel.boss@maine.edu; boss.emmauel@gmail.com

TA: Jennifer Albright: Jennifer_Albright@umit.maine.edu; Jenniferalbright16@gmail.com

OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

COURSE GOALS: The course focuses on physical concepts in marine science and is intended for both education and marine science majors. The goals are (1) to introduce prospective science educators to physical concepts, using hands-on, inquiry-based teaching approaches, and demonstrate how these concepts and principles may be presented in the context of ocean sciences. (2) To introduce a variety of inquiry-based teaching strategies and tools to marine science majors who are interested in education.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES: Attend classes, be on time, take active part in laboratory activities, participate in class discussions, present homework-material and ideas in front of the class, maintain an active blog, ask questions and provide feedback via blog and class discussions, complete reading assignments, submit weekly homework, blog and final project assignments on time.

Homework: Homework will be assigned weekly and is expected to reflect understanding of science concepts and their link to ocean processes, understanding of pedagogy concepts discussed in class and an ability to communicate ideas clearly (written and oral). Each week randomly selected students will be asked to present their homework assignment. Due every Wednesday, at the beginning of class. (Rubric for Grading Homework - PDF)

Blog: A self reflection on your own learning. The blog provides you with an opportunity to critically evaluate your learning of the material presented in class (a necessary step for a becoming a better teacher) and a feedback for us. Due every Friday by 5:00 PM. (Guide for writing a "reflective blog" - PDF)

Teaching strategy presentation: The goal of this assignment is to provide each student with the opportunity to practice teaching. Each student will be assigned a teaching tool and give a short (10 minute) presentation on an assigned week. (Tool Presentation Schedule - PDF)

Final project: The final project is to design a unit, with at least 3 lessons, that addresses a topic in marine science and incorporates a variety of teaching strategies taught during the semester. The project includes a written document describing the unit and its lessons, and a 15-minute class presentation given at the end of the semester. Projects (written part) are due on April 29. The class will be split for presentations; half of the students will give their presentations on April 29 and half will give it during final week (time TBD). All students are required to attend BOTH presentation days! (Final Project Requirments)

Prior to the first class the participating students were asked to complete a pre-class evaluation (PDF) to assess pre-exisitng knowledge and to provide a background for the evaluation that will occur at the end of the class.


Homework40weekly (Wednesday)
Blog15weekly (Friday)
Final Project - Design a Unit Plan25last week of class/final week

I January 15

Introduction and course mechanics
 •   Nature of science and the learning cycle (PDF)
 •   What is inquiry? (PDF)
 •   Pedagogy Packet (PDF)
 •   Teaching Techniques (Part 1 - PDF) (Part 2 - PDF)
 •   Homework 1 (PDF)

January 16 Exploration of rich question environment-visit to the Aquaculture Research Center (ARC) - (PDF)
II January 22

Density (Background Material- PDF) (Lab Activities and Explanations - PDF)
Homework 2 (PDF)

January 23

 •  What makes a good question in science? (PDF)
 •   Teacher asked questions (PDF)
 •  "Discrepant Event" as a teaching strategy (PDF)

III January 29

Pressure (Background Material - PDF) (Lab Activities and Explanations - PDF)
Homework 3 (PDF)

January 30 "Student Prediction (PDF) and Initial Exploration (PDF)" as a teaching strategy
IV February 5

Buoyancy (Background Material - PDF) (Lab Activities and Explanations - PDF)

February 6  •  "Generating Hypotheses" as a teaching strategy" (PDF)
 •  Learning styles (PDF)
V February 12

Assessments in science teaching
 •  Buoyancy Quiz (PDF)
 •  Assessment Activities (PDF)
 •  Assessment Explanations (PDF)

February 13

 •  Examples of science misconceptions - (PDF)
 •  Alternative conceptions - (PDF)
 •  110 Misconceptions about the Ocean (Robert J. Feller) - (PDF)
 •  Clarification of Selected Misconceptions in Physical Geography (Nelson et al.) - (PDF)
 •  Homework 4 (PDF)

VI February 19

Energy: food webs (Background Material - PDF) (Lab Activities and Explanations - PDF)

February 20

What is a lesson and what is a unit in science teaching?
 •  Bloom's Taxonomy (PDF)

VII February 26 Energy: Heat and Temperature (Background Material - PDF) (Lab Activities and Explanations - PDF)
February 27  •  Explanation invention as a teaching strategy (PDF)
 •  Assessing your students' learning (PDF)
------------------February 29-March 17 spring break------------------
VIII March 18 Energy: Heat and Temperature Part II (Lab Activities and Explanations - PDF)
March 19 Methods for teaching measurements (PDF)
IX March 25 Global distributions of heat and temperature (Lab Activity - PDF)
March 26

Using the Internet as a teaching strategy
 •  Principles of selecting software and media for teaching science (PDF)
 •  Using Internet sources to help teach science (PDF)

X April 1

Estuarine dynamics: a case study
 •  Preparation for case study investigation (PDF)
 •  Case study activity (Lab PDF)
 •  Case study group assessment (PDF)

Background Readings:
 •  Caffrey, J. et al. (1997) Water Quality Monitoring in Elkorn Slough: a summary of results 1988-1996. Elkorn Slough Technical Report Series 1997:1
 •  Broenkow, W.W. and Breaker, L.C. (2005) A 30-Year History of Tide and Current Measurements in Elkhorn Slough, California. Moss Landing Marine Laboratory
 •  Chapin, T.P. et al. (2004) Nitrate Sources and Sinks in Elkhorn Slough, California: Results from Long-term Continuous in situ Nitrate Analyzers. Estuaries 27(5), 882-894.
 •  Van Dyke, E. and Wasson, K. (2005) Historical Ecology of a Central California Estuary: 150 Years of Habitat Change. Estuaries 28(2), 173-189.

April 2  •  Case studies as a teaching strategy (PDF)
 •  Cooperative learning (PDF)
XI April 8

Concept mapping (PDF)
Concept mapping Homework (PDF)

April 9

 • Selecting instructional media in science education (PDF)
 • Pretest -- Attributes of instructional medium (PDF)

XII April 15

Simulations in marine sciences: Diffusion (Lab Activities - PDF)
 •  Results for diffusion simulation (PDF)
 •  A published manuscript on diffusion at work (PDF)

April 16 Simulation and modeling as a teaching strategy (PDF)
XIII April 22 Deduction: the exponential function in marine science (Lab Activities - PDF)
April 23

Deduction-transfer of learning
 •  Using mathematics in science teaching (PDF)
 •  Some practical science teaching considerations involving students' math skills (PDF)
 •  Pretest - Some mathematics necessary for doing science (PDF)

XIV April 29Student presentations- group I
April 30Maine Day- no class
XV Final weekStudent presentations- group II
  Click here to view the End of Semester Slideshow