Jun 11-Aug 03, 2018
Credit: 3 graduate
Instructor(s): Dr. Nicholas Childs

Course Description

Please register for CRN 11013

This course is intended to provide secondary physics teachers with a connection between topics in renewable energy sources to Next Generation Science Standards in physics. The goal of the course is to improve their pedagogical knowledge related to teaching the physics associated with renewable energy sources. Students will focus on developing classroom materials related to the subject.

During this online course, participants will complete a series of online units centered on bringing the physics of renewable energy sources into a high school physics classroom. Students will develop an understanding of the underlying physics associated with renewable energy sources. As this course is intended for secondary classroom teachers, instruction will place an emphasis on creating classroom materials appropriate for secondary science classrooms and consistent with the Next Generation Science Standards. Energy sources covered include power derived from nuclear fusion/fission, wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, hydrogen, biomass and water waves. World energy consumption and energy storage will also be covered.

    Objectives - Secondary physics teachers who successfully complete this course will be able to do the following:
  • 1. Describe the current and projected world energy usage.
  • 2. Describe the necessity of renewable energy sources.
  • 3. Explain how energy is obtained from various renewable energy sources covered in the course.
  • 4. Demonstrate mastery of underlying physics concepts utilized in renewable energy sources covered in the course.
  • 5. Identify Next Generation Science Standards associated with topics in renewable energy.
  • 6. Show the ability to encorporate the underlying physics of renewable energy sources into the teaching of introductory level physics.
Restricted to secondary physics teachers.

Syllabus (PDF) | Syllabus (.docx)

Meeting Place and Times

Teachers login to the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week and spend 14 - 16 hours each week the course is in session, working on course requirements, to stay current and successfully complete this 3 credit course. The time estimate above includes both the time teachers will spend online participating in group discussions and the time spent offline working on assignments and projects.


Dr. Nicholas Childs, PhD. Assistant Teaching Professor. Dr. Childs taught high school physics in New York prior to attending Montana State University and obtaining his Ph.D in Physics. He also holds a M.S. degree in Science Education in Physics from Buffalo State University.


Secondary physics teachers; graduate standing; one year of teaching experience.

Target Audience

Restricted to secondary physics teachers.

Time Commitment:

14-16 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

If you are accepted into a qualified online program, see the appropriate MSU Online Only Tuition and Fee table below:

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

Required Books/Materials

  • Sustainable Energy, second edition
    By Jefferson W. Tester, Elisabeth M. Drake, Michael J. Driscoll, Michael W. Golay and William A. Peters
    Approximately $85 new
    ISBN: 9780262017473

Teachers are on their own to pick up a copy of the text before the course begins.
Available from The MIT Press or another bookstore of your choice.

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

About registration, please contact Kelly Boyce by phone at (800)282-6062 or (406)994-6812, or by email at

For questions regarding course content, contact Dr. Nicholas Childs at

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.