student with test tubes

The courses below are offered at various intervals. Also see our current courses open for registration.

Biology

BIOL 591: Teaching Evolution

Earth Science

ERTH 520: Fundamentals of Oceanography for Teachers
ERTH 521: Geology of the Moon for Teachers
ERTH 522: Teaching Middle School Earth System Science
ERTH 524: K-14 Earth System Science
ERTH 525: Landforms for Elementary Teachers
ERTH 527: Weather and Climate for Teachers
ERTH 528: Understanding Climate Change for Teachers
ERTH 591: Elementary Weather
ERTH 591: K-14 Earth System Science(Summer)

Land Resources & Env. Sci

LRES 582: Streamside Science for Teachers
LRES 583: The Dirt on Soil Science for Elementary Teachers
LRES 584: Twelve Principles of Soil Science for Teachers
LRES 585: Water Quality in the Classroom for Teachers

Mathematics

M 517: Modeling in a STEM World
M 518: Statistics for Teachers

Microbiology

MB 536: Exploring Microbiology for Teachers
MB 540: Environmental Microbiology for Teachers
MB 542: Microbial Ecology for Teachers

Non-Credit Courses

NC 500: Arduino Based Robotics
NC 500: Art and Literacy in the Science Classroom
NC 500: Fundamentals of Online Instruction
NC 500: Introduction to Robotics using LEGO Mindstorms
NC 500: Next Generation of Science Standards For the Classroom
NC 500: Taking Next Generation Science Standards to your Classroom
NC 600: Advanced Online Instruction

Nutrition

NUTR 526: Nutrition for Fitness and Performance

Physics

PHSX 405: Special Relativity for Teachers
PHSX 491: Conceptual Physics for Teachers
PHSX 511: Astronomy for Teachers
PHSX 511: Astronomy For Teachers (Summer)
PHSX 512: General Relativity for Teachers
PHSX 513: Quantum Mechanics for Teachers
PHSX 514: Comparative Planetology for Teachers: Establishing a Virtual Presence in the Solar System
PHSX 582: Astrobiology for Teachers
PHSX 591: Electric Circuits & Magnetism for Teachers
PHSX 591: Physics of Renewable Energy for Secondary Teachers
PHSX 591: Teaching and Learning in Science: Elementary Space Science
PHSX 591: The Science of Sound for Teachers
PHSX 591: The World of Motion for Teachers
PHSX 591: World of Force for Teachers

BIOL 591: Teaching Evolution
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 7 - 12

Please register using CRN 24679
Evolution is a powerful and generative concept that is fundamental to a modern understanding of biology and the natural world. Evolution offers insight into how we came to be, what our future may hold, and how we interact with the living world. However, despite its centrality to modern biology, teaching evolution can be especially challenging. Unlike instruction on many other topics covered in pre-college biology courses (organ systems, cell structure, ecosystem interactions, etc.), evolution instruction may encounter unique sources of resistance and misinformation in addition to more typical misconceptions and teaching challenges.

This course is designed to provide students with the knowledge, teaching skills, and resources they need to teach evolution effectively. In this course, students will get an overview of evolutionary history and theory, review evolutionary mechanisms, discuss current topics in evolution research, identify ways of making evolution relevant to the science classroom, and develop lessons to meet Next Generation Science Standards, as well as identify practical techniques and background knowledge for responding to challenges to evolution instruction. Students will be expected to participate in online virtual discussions using Zoom.

Ultimately, of course, the goal of this course is to change how its students teach in their own science classrooms. We hope that participants in this course will increasingly emphasize evolution in their K-12 classrooms through dynamic and coherent lessons that help their students overcome misconceptions and see how evolution is relevant to their lives.

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ERTH 520: Fundamentals of Oceanography for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 7 - 12

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 35018.
Fundamentals of Oceanography offers an introduction to the physical, biological, chemical and geological processes of the ocean and its ecosystems. Teachers will learn about the complex interactions between these properties, their influence on terrestrial ecosystems and the impacts humans have on these processes. Exciting laboratory exercises can be adapted to be offered at any grade level.

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ERTH 521: Geology of the Moon for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 5 - 9

Please register for CRN 25356
The Geology of the Moon on-line course is designed for practicing teachers who want to understand more about the Moon and its history and relationship to Earth. We will explore theories for its formation and the geologic processes involved in its evolution, including the differentiation of its layers, volcanic activity, and impact cratering, with each discussion encompassing comparisons between the Earth and Moon. We will investigate the Moon’s orbital characteristics (revolution, rotation, phases and eclipses) and explore current and upcoming missions to the Moon (the material will be connected to National Science Education Standards). During this course you will interactively participate through a combination of presentations, assigned readings, on-line discussions, classroom exercises and dynamic activities.

The instructor, Cassandra Runyon, has her PhD in Geology and has been working in the field for over 20 years. She is a member of the Science and Education and Public Outreach team for the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, or SSERVI, formerly NASA's Lunar Science Institute, and was a science team member and Education/Outreach lead for a recent mission to the Moon.

A special "thanks" to NASA's SSERVI for their support in the development of this course.

Participation in this course is limited to US teachers only, as we are not allowed to send some of the materials/equipment out of the U.S.

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ERTH 522: Teaching Middle School Earth System Science
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 5 - 10

CRN 35291
This course uses problem based learning to explore the events and interactions between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. The middle school course is composed of 3 modules plus an introduction module. Teachers utilize problem based learning to study both event to sphere interactions as well as sphere to sphere interactions and how one interaction can lead to other interactions.

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ERTH 524: K-14 Earth System Science
Credits: 2
For teachers of grades K - 14

Please register for CRN 25131
Participants will learn to find the Internet's abundant digital Earth Systems Science (ESS) resources and use these resources to create integrated mathematics and science lessons. Participants will learn to adapt online resources to their own instructional environments at the K-14 levels.

ESS emphasizes the dynamic interrelationships among changes in the atmosphere, ocean circulation patterns, and environmental processes on and beneath the earth's surface. K-14 Earth System Science instruction is designed for K-14 teachers already familiar with using basic computer and Internet tools. Participants will integrate concepts from ESS with Internet resources, such as digital weather images, near-real-time earthquake data, and archived climate data. Necessary ESS scientific background is provided and effective pedagogical strategies are discussed for using computer technology with students at all levels K-14. Although the course science content is based in ESS, emphasis will be on the integration of mathematics, earth systems science, and Internet technology, using discovery and constructivist methods.

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ERTH 525: Landforms for Elementary Teachers
Credits: 1
For teachers of grades K - 8

Please register for CRN 25357
In this online course we will investigate our landforms and the processes that shaped some of the most prominent landmarks and features across the country. To do this, we will look at a variety of landscapes and investigate how they came to look like they do. Through hands-on labs, we will model landforms and encourage sharing and discussions of additional teaching ideas in this course. The principles you learn will increase your confidence in teaching science in general as well as landforms in particular.

By taking this course, students will:

  • Articulate the mechanisms behind the development of mountains, volcanoes, valleys, hills, and coastal areas through geologic processes.
  • Apply the portfolio of activities they developed in the course to enhance elementary student curriculum through hands on experiential learning of landform science.
  • Develop landform science activities that illustrate the broader relationship to other earth sciences, as well multidisciplinary opportunities in art, history, civics, etc.
  • Use and demonstrate creative and critical thinking skills when addressing potential barriers to implementing landform science in their classroom.
  • Evaluate K-6 student comprehension of landform science through a variety of assessment tools and techniques.
  • Value the network/community of practice developed through in-class sharing and discussions of teaching ideas and approaches to landform study.
Each week’s work will include text reading assignments, participatory lab activities, participation/evaluation exchange in on-line discussions, and written homework assignments.

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ERTH 527: Weather and Climate for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 9 - 12

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 35019.
Few subjects within Earth Sciences are as far reaching as the study of weather (meteorology) and climate (climatology). We plan our days based on the current weather, plant food supplies based on seasonal forecasts, and develop economies based on regional climate. Weather and climate also explain major biogeographic patterns and influence physical processes shaping Earth. With unprecedented climate changes likely inevitable in our lifetimes, the study of weather and climate has also taken on added importance in recent decades. For these reasons and many more, it is imperative that we equip our teacher and educators with the tools to better prepare and motivate the next generation of scientists in this field. In this course we will build a physical understanding of how Earth systems interact to create the weather we see on a daily basis and the climatic patterns that emerge at larger spatial and temporal scales.

The course goals are to:
  • Increase weather and climate content knowledge,
  • Increase pedagogical skills related to teaching weather and climate,
  • Create a "tool-kit" of teaching activities relating to weather and climate, and
  • Engender changes in teacher-participants' classrooms that lead to an increased quantity and quality of weather and climate related instruction.
These goals will be accomplished through a highly structured series of readings, web based activities using a range of on-line resources, development and maintenance of a local weather journal, and the development and peer review of weather and climate class room activities. This course is specially designed for practicing science teachers at the middle to high school level.

This course is a prerequisite for our new course, Understanding Climate Change, which will be offered this fall. It is also part of the proposed Graduate Certificate in Science Teaching in Climate Change.



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ERTH 528: Understanding Climate Change for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 9 - 12

Please register for CRN 11690
The science of climate change is a complex subject that balances the physical record and scientific fact with politics, policy, and ethics. This course explores the science of climate change. Students will learn how the climate system works, what factors cause climate to change across different time scales and how those factors interact. We will also explore how climate has changed in the past and how scientists use models, observations and theory to make predictions about future climate. Finally we will examine the possible consequences of climate change for our planet. The course explores evidence for changes in land and ocean temperature, changes in the cryosphere, sea level and acidity change due to global warming. Students will learn how climate change today is different from past climate cycles and how satellites and other technologies are revealing the global signals of a changing climate. Finally, the course looks at the connection between human activity and the current warming trend and considers some of the potential social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change.

In light of the changes we have already observed, and the projected future changes it is imperative that we equip our teacher and educators with the tools to better prepare and motivate the next generation of scientists in this field. In this course we will build an understanding of climate change and how it will impact our future.

The course goals for teachers in grades 9-12 are to:
  • Increase content knowledge about climate change,
  • Increase pedagogical skills related to teaching climate change topics,
  • Create a "tool-kit" of teaching activities relating to climate change, and
  • Engender changes in teacher-participants' classrooms that lead to an increased quantity and quality of climate change, weather and climate related instruction.
These goals are accomplished through a highly structured series of on-line lectures, web based activities using a range of on-line resources, and participant discussions on developing classroom activities. This course is specially designed for practicing science teachers at the upper middle to high school level.

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ERTH 591: Elementary Weather
Credits: 1
For teachers of grades K - 8

Please register for CRN 22371
In this eight week online course we will take a look at learning weather concepts and how to incorporate them into the elementary classroom using hands-on activities. Observing weather patterns from the past, present and future is easy and fun! The principles you learn will apply to air pollution, crop selection and forecasting.

The goals of this course are to…

  • Identify the parts that compose the atmosphere
  • Count time and space coordinates
  • Identify weather elements and icons
  • Analyze and read weather maps
  • Uncover the importance of temperature
  • Use pressure scales to enhance understanding of barometry, density and buoyancy
  • Evaluate pressure patterns in storms
  • Identify cloud types and their formations
  • Describe humidity as related to precipitation and dew point
  • Measure and observe wind
  • Evaluate wind patterns in storms


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ERTH 591: K-14 Earth System Science(Summer)
Credits: 2
For teachers of grades K - 14

Participants will learn to find the Internet's abundant digital Earth Systems Science (ESS) resources and use these resources to create integrated mathematics and science lessons. Participants will learn to adapt online resources to their own instructional environments at the K-14 levels.

ESS emphasizes the dynamic interrelationships among changes in the atmosphere, ocean circulation patterns, and environmental processes on and beneath the earth's surface. K-14 Earth System Science instruction is designed for K-14 teachers already familiar with using basic computer and Internet tools. Participants will integrate concepts from ESS with Internet resources, such as digital weather images, near-real-time earthquake data, and archived climate data. Necessary ESS scientific background is provided and effective pedagogical strategies are discussed for using computer technology with students at all levels K-14. Although the course science content is based in ESS, emphasis will be on the integration of mathematics, earth systems science, and Internet technology, using discovery and constructivist methods.

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LRES 582: Streamside Science for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 8 - 12

Please register for CRN 11647
The primary goal of this course is to increase the water resource knowledge of students through hands-on, field-based curriculum. To accomplish this, students will be asked to adopt a local stream and perform lab assignments "in the field" to better understand hands-on water quality monitoring techniques. The course will improve the teaching skills of secondary science teachers utilizing distant delivery technologies. By completing this course, secondary science teachers will have a better understanding and hands-on working knowledge of the characterization and quantification of water quality as it relates to secondary school science curriculum and environmental issues on a global scale. Curriculum standards will be linked to each lesson plan so that teachers can easily incorporate the content into their core curriculum.

Please read these documents for course expectations and details:



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LRES 583: The Dirt on Soil Science for Elementary Teachers
Credits: 1
For teachers of grades K - 6

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 34736.
Kids love dirt and you can learn all about basic soil physical properties and processes in this exciting, interactive 6-week online course. Directed toward K-6 elementary school teachers who want to understand the science of "dirt," this course includes active discussion between your instructor and classmates in weekly online forums and creative lab activities easily adapted to your teaching situation.

The specific goals of this course are:

  • Expand your understanding of the concepts of soil science and use soil as a platform to teach other science disciplines such as biology, art, history and others.
  • Gain understanding of how soil is formed and getting dirty while discovering different soil textures.
  • Begin to understand your local soil/ landscape interactions.
  • Gain understanding of soil and water relationships.
  • Study how children's concepts of soil and land resources are developed in the classroom setting.
  • Strengthen skills in teaching basic soil science concepts, engaging students, and responding to student needs in the classroom.
  • Develop our own professional community of course participants, sharing teaching ideas, expertise and experience.


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LRES 584: Twelve Principles of Soil Science for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 7 - 12

Please register for CRN 25132
Playing with DIRT! At your age? Believe it or not, soil (to some known as "dirt") is part of all of our lives on a daily basis. And, as environmental issues such as water quality, waste management, ecological biodiversity, land resource carrying capacity, and alternative land uses continue to gain more attention from the public, increasing demands will be placed on earth science, physical science, geology, geography, and general science teachers for curriculum to support our understanding of these issues. Soil science is not a new science, but one that has gained much attention and interest in the past decade. And, the study of soil science has taken on new, "real-life" meaning and significance in the last decade. Today scientists spend a great deal of time studying the soil-like materials of distant planets, the remote reaches of the earth, and even under the ocean floors.

The goal of this course is to introduce teachers to the basic principles of soil science as an integral part of the curriculum for environmental sciences, ecology, earth science, geology, water quality, and geography. The course is structured around twelve basic soil concepts, beginning with the significance of soil in our everyday lives and progressing through soil formation, the physical and chemical properties of soils, and the role soil and the earth play in environmental management today and in the future. This course is filled with "how to" classroom teaching opportunities and resources. A good share of the course addresses contemporary issues and readings. We'll integrate teaching DIRT with math, language arts, geography, social studies, artistic expression, chemistry, physics, and biology.

You'll learn about the soil in your own school yard or back yard, who to contact to get local "experts" and how to get your students more interested in environmental studies. This course is "hands on", participation oriented.

What goes on in the DIRTY DOZEN?

  • Study the significance of soil and the processes involved in soil formation and differentiation (did you know that all soils have names and identities and more than 14,000 different "soils" are recognized in the United States alone?).
  • Learn how to use such readily available resources as National Geographic, Science, and other popular magazines to introduce students to soil science and develop lessons that are fun in the classroom.
  • Develop better understanding of the relationship between soil and water quality, crop and vegetation management, and environmental science.


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LRES 585: Water Quality in the Classroom for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 7 - 12

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 34735.
Would you love to incorporate more environmental science into your classroom without sacrificing time needed to address your required curriculum? Do you love hands on labs, but are limited by time and the cost of supplies? Teaching today's science curriculum requires both creativity and an integrated approach in the classroom. Water Quality in the Classroom is a 'must' course for teachers who want to expand their teaching portfolio to include a broader depth of STEAM sciences. Water quality can be called an "integrating" science, serving as a platform for expanded applications of chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, geology, earth science, political and social sciences, and creative arts.

The Water Quality in the Classroom course has four central foci:
  • To increase teacher knowledge and assessment skills about the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of water quality investigations,
  • To help teachers develop and implement new and creative pedagogies for teaching water quality concepts in the secondary school science classroom,
  • Increase teacher awareness and understanding of some of the more significant global water quality issues that will face science teachers and their students in the 21st century, and
  • Develop professional relationships and information sharing through active course discussions and sharing.
This 13-week course teaches water quality concepts and how to demonstrate, explain, and teach them in the science classroom and beyond. The course format includes weekly "kitchen counter" experimentation, library and independent research, written homework, and course discussion.

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M 517: Modeling in a STEM World
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 9 - 14

Please register for CRN 11571.

This course provides teachers with a sound understanding of modeling as a mathematical practice, as a context for teaching and reinforcing mathematics concepts, and as a means to integrate mathematics with other STEM disciplines.

Course goals include:
  • Examine the nature of mathematical modeling and how it compares to other types of problems and tasks. Discover how mathematical modeling is approached at different grade levels (e.g., elementary) and in different contexts (e.g., STEM disciplines).
  • Compare and contrast desirable habits of mind in mathematics, science, and engineering with a focus on modeling across STEM disciplines. Explore pedagogical practices that foster modeling in the context of effective STEM instruction.
  • Recognize the role of mathematics and modeling in a person’s ability to make the well-founded judgments needed by engaged and reflective citizens.
  • Solve a variety of modeling problems in mathematics and related STEM disciplines. Evaluate and critique lessons and tasks against mathematical modeling criteria.
  • Design activities and lessons that incorporate authentic (mathematical) modeling.


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M 518: Statistics for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 9 - 14

Please register for CRN 10334
Stochastic concepts including probabilistic underpinnings of statistics, measures of central tendency, variability, correlation, distributions, sampling, and simulation. Exploratory data analysis including experiments, surveys, measures of association and inferential statistics. Discussion of methods for teaching statistics in secondary mathematics and science.

This course is designed to engage students using a modeling and simulation approach to inference. This course uses pedagogical principles that are founded in research, such as weekly small group discussion activities, in addition to the collection of weekly homework assignments. In this course, students will be exposed to numerous examples of real-world applications of statistics that are designed to help them think like statisticians and develop a conceptual understanding of statistics. Upon completion of this course, students should have an understanding of the foundational concepts of data, variation and inference, as well as an appreciation for the fundamental role that statistics plays in a host of disciplines, such as business, economics, law, and medicine.

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MB 536: Exploring Microbiology for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 7 - 12

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 33549.
The goal of this course is to provide science educators and others with the fundamentals of microbiology. This information will allow participants to expand their knowledge base and gain an appreciation of microbiology through readings, web searches, active participation in discussions, and a research project on microorganisms. They will also learn that microbiology can be applied in daily life, in biotechnology, and in studying complex issues such as our dependence on microbes. The course will also provide a foundation in microbiology for those who intend to take future courses such as microbial ecology, environmental microbiology, infectious diseases, immunology, and microbial genetics.

The following topics will be covered: evolution of microorganisms, cell structure and function, viruses and other acellular agents, microbial growth, antimicrobial compounds, and fungi.

Each participant will set up an experiment that will run for the entire semester, by designing a medium to study the growth of microbes from a source of their choosing. This activity will involve research on this subject, an experiment proposal, weekly observations summarized through updates, and a final report. The final assignment will be a PowerPoint presentation on the experiment.

This course requires consistent participation in weekly discussions, online quizzes, written assignments, and culminates in a final presentation. Participants will have proxy online access to the Montana State University library.

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MB 540: Environmental Microbiology for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 6 - 12

Please register for CRN 11142
Appreciating the complexity of the biosphere involves consideration of its microbial constituents. Environmental impacts and global climate change often show early evidence in its smallest inhabitants.

This course is designed for science educators, but will provide all interested participants with the fundamentals of environmental and applied microbiology. Information presented will enable individuals to expand their knowledge in these topics and challenge them to utilize microbes as indicators of environmental change.

This experience will be provided through:
  • discussions;
  • readings;
  • web resources;
  • quizzes;
  • assignments;
  • and in designing and implementing an ongoing hands-on research experiment.
Participants will gain an appreciation of how microorganisms are involved in supporting the biosphere. They will also learn how knowledge of environmental microbiology can be applied in biotechnology and complex issues, such as microbial diversity in natural environments, pathogenesis, bioremediation, biological control, water purification and wastewater treatment. This course complements others such as general microbiology, infectious diseases, microbial genetics, and studies on biofilms.

Participants will have proxy access to the Montana State University library online. A time commitment of 10-14 hours per week is typical, but those who are less familiar with the course material or online course delivery may need to put in extra time, especially early in the semester.

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MB 542: Microbial Ecology for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 7 - 14

Please register for CRN 23513
The objective of this course is to introduce educators and others to the complex world of Microbial Ecology. We will achieve this by exploring a wide range of topics within this subject area including the ecology of microorganisms in relation to nutrition, growth, metabolism, biogeochemical cycling, natural environments, and microbial interactions. This class relies on readings, literature and internet searches, active participation in discussions, online quizzes, a semester-long experiment, sharing approaches and materials, and culminates in a final presentation. Participants will have proxy online access to the Montana State University library.
You will be encouraged to dive in and investigate the various topics and make them relevant within your life, own classroom or work situation. We believe that you will develop an enduring interest into this fascinating realm of science.

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NC 500: Arduino Based Robotics
Credits: 0
For teachers of grades 0 - 0

This non-credit online course introduces an Arduino-based robotic platform as a method for teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The course is designed for pre- and in-service teachers, and is also appropriate for youth leaders, coaches or parents who are interested in integrating robotics and programming into their courses.

Through self-paced, instructor-led tutorials, you'll learn about:

  • Arduino computer system
  • robot construction, locomotion and autonomy
  • sensors
  • common robot challenges

The course uses the Parallax BOE-Bot Robot platform based on the Arduino Uno computer. Programming of the Arduino is supported on both PC and Macs.

The course offers five hours of video-based instruction from MSU Professor Brock LaMeres along with a series of hands-on activities building and programming the robotic platform. The course is viewable on desktop computers and mobile devices.

You have three-months to complete the course upon registration.




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NC 500: Art and Literacy in the Science Classroom
Credits: 0
For teachers of grades 0 - 0

Non-credit
See a video from the instructors here.

This course is designed to introduce educators to a unique methodology for teaching organized observation as a pathway to nonfiction writing in the science classroom.

Our methodology - a series of expository drawings and writings, readings and discussions – is based on the data-backed premise that teaching students the key skills involved in organized observation will improve their ability to build accuracy and detail in their drawing, which will lead to improved expository writing and scientific thinking skills.

Students in the course will:
  • Learn the key skills of organized observation
  • Learn about the anatomy, care, and life cycle of a flowering plant through a series of hands-on science modules
  • Build on new knowledge of organized observation to research and investigate an additional plant species
  • Communicate results of research and investigation through expository drawing and writing


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NC 500: Fundamentals of Online Instruction
Credits: 0
For teachers of grades 6 - 16

This course takes a practitioner's look at the art of online instruction. Using many of the current pedagogical approaches of online instruction, students in this course will be introduced to the basics of online instruction. Course assignments include readings, online discussion and reflection as an online instructor. Students in the course can expect a highly active, fully engaging, professionally stimulating class session each week.

John has over 20 years of experience of online instruction. He has a passion for inquiry instruction and models thought-provoking, challenging examples of creative engaging, effective online courses.

  • Week 1: What IS online teaching and what it’s NOT
  • Week 2: The online instructor: not a transplanted classroom teacher
  • Week 3: The online student: connected, but easily lost
  • Week 4: The learning management system: learning the ins and outs
  • Week 5: Creating the course content: NOT uploaded lectures
  • Week 6: Up and running for Day 1


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NC 500: Introduction to Robotics using LEGO Mindstorms
Credits: 0
For teachers of grades 0 - 0

This non-credit online course introduces robotics as a method for teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The course is designed for pre- and in-service teachers, and is also appropriate for youth leaders, coaches or parents who are supporting FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotic competition teams.

Through self-paced, instructor-led tutorials, you’ll learn about:
• computer systems and programming
• robot construction, locomotion and autonomy
• sensors
• common robot challenges

The course uses the LEGO Mindstorms robotic platform and supports both the NXT and EV3 versions.

The course offers more than five hours of video-based instruction from MSU Professor Brock LaMeres along with self-assessment activities for both the NXT and EV3 versions of the platform. The course is viewable on desktop computers and mobile devices.

You have three-months to complete the course upon registration.




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NC 500: Next Generation of Science Standards For the Classroom
Credits: 0
For teachers of grades K - 8

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is a very comprehensive document, created by literally thousands of educators and scientists. But standards are not curriculum: They don’t guide science teachers on how to implement those standards in their classrooms. When schools adopt the NGSS, the work is just beginning. And, that work falls on the shoulders of curriculum developers and classroom teachers.

This online course for K-8 in-service teachers focuses on fundamental challenge of building specific classroom activities that align to NGSS. Participants will use grade-specific NGSS unit maps from NGSS bundles that group appropriate Performance Expectations (from the NGSS standards pages) to help them develop classroom activities for their particular classroom.

Participants will first learn how to “read” NGSS standards for their grade level and how to use the 5Es curriculum-building model to create their individual classroom experiences. The second part of the course will be building science classroom activities specially for their grade level teaching assignment. Teachers will be able to work individually or with small groups of teachers from the same grade level. The final product for this course is a usable 3-D NGSS classroom unit.

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NC 500: Taking Next Generation Science Standards to your Classroom
Credits: 0
For teachers of grades K - 8

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is a very comprehensive document, created by literally thousands of educators and scientists. But standards are not curriculum: They don’t guide science teachers on how to implement those standards in their classrooms. When schools adopt the NGSS, the work is just beginning. And, that work falls on the shoulders of curriculum developers and classroom teachers.

This face-to-face workshop for K-8 in-service teachers focuses on the fundamental challenge of building specific classroom activities that align to NGSS. Participants will use grade-specific units that group appropriate Performance Expectations (from the NGSS standards pages) to help them develop classroom activities for their particular classroom.

Participants will first learn how to “read” NGSS standards for their grade level and how to use the 5Es curriculum model to build their individual classroom experiences. The second part of the workshop will be hands-on building of science classroom activities. Teachers will be able to work individually or with small groups of teachers from the same grade level.

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NC 600: Advanced Online Instruction
Credits: 0
For teachers of grades 6 - 14

Building on the principles of the Foundations of Online Teaching, students in this course will be introduced to strategies to broaden their understanding and effectiveness of online instruction. Learn how to incorporate strategies like podcasting, webinars, alternative assignments, student discussion leaders, and more in your current online course. Course assignments include readings, online discussion and reflection as an online instructor. Students in the course can expect a highly active, fully engaging, professionally stimulating class session each week.

John has over 20 years of experience of online instruction. He has a passion for inquiry instruction and models thought-provoking, challenging examples of creative engaging, effective online courses.
  • Week 1: Creating online culture: united we stand
  • Week 2: Creating online support: communication, communication, communication
  • Week 3: Facilitating effective online discussions: the key to online learning success
  • Week 4: Creating and using podcasts: content delivery beyond text
  • Week 5: Webinars: completing the connection loop
  • Week 6: Tip and Tricks from a 20 veteran


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NUTR 526: Nutrition for Fitness and Performance
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades K - 12

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 35089.

Nutrition is a key element in managing body weight and fueling physical fitness and athletic performance. Food provides fluids, energy, nutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals. But what nutritional strategies are optimal? Which dietary supplements work? Using nutrition to meet the demands of physical activity is a dynamic process that integrates scientific research, nutrition guidelines, and the practical aspects of fueling active people in specific situations.

This nutrition science course examines the latest developments that link nutrition with physical fitness, sport performance, and health promotion. Resources include a text, course supplement, nutrition analysis software, peer-reviewed scientific literature, current news, and Internet resources. Participants contribute to asynchronous online discussions throughout each week. Expect to relate each week's topic to your areas of interest and expertise. A diverse group of participants (practicing teachers in various specialties, coaches, athletic trainers, nutrition educators, and other health professionals) ensures that discussions are interesting, lively, and challenging. Topics include energy, fluid, and nutrient needs for physical activity; nutrition around exercise (before, during, recovery); free radicals and antioxidants; dietary supplements; body composition; weight management; disordered eating; and the female athlete triad. Sport-specific nutrition strategies for endurance, team sports, strength training, and muscle mass gain are addressed. Controversial issues such as popular diets, nutrient timing, and sports supplements are addressed. Internet resources are used extensively.

Assignments challenge participants to apply evidence-based nutrition strategies to practical situations. Participants demonstrate competency in the following areas: locating credible nutrition resources on the Internet; accessing, analyzing, and evaluating nutrition information; and using nutrition analysis software to plan meals, snacks, and a personalized fitness menu. The course project is a written evaluation of a dietary supplement, a popular diet, or a dietary regimen. Reference material is obtained from medical, health, and scientific sources such as published, peer-reviewed scientific literature accessed via the National Library of Medicine databases. Participants demonstrate competency in a written project that involves assessment, analysis, comparison, evaluation, and synthesis of information.

Note: This course was formerly HDFN 526: Nutrition for Fitness and Performance

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PHSX 405: Special Relativity for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 9 - 12

Please register for CRN 20805
This course approaches Einstein's theory of Special Relativity with a geometric perspective instead of through the Lorentz Transformations used in most introductory texts. There are two advantages to this approach:
  • 1) It leads to a more useful method for visualizing and solving problems in SR (Special Relativity) and with a modified Pythagorean Theorem and spacetime diagrams we can answer any question with confidence.
  • 2) Since geometry is the foundation for General Relativity (GR), this approach affords a seamless transition for students taking GR in the spring.
The first part of the course builds visualization and problem-solving techniques; then we demystify the various “paradoxes” in SR, which are really just naive questions rather than true paradoxes. Toward the end we explore the implications for energy and momentum conservation necessary for analyzing particle collisions at relativistic speeds.

Note: This course is a prerequisite for General Relativity, which is scheduled for spring semester 2018.

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PHSX 491: Conceptual Physics for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 7 - 12

Please register for CRN 10345
This course describes the workings of the world around us. The everyday: how a ball moves when it is thrown, the forces you feel on a roller-coaster, what happens when you turn on a light switch; and the esoteric: time and space from the perspective of Einstein's relativity, the basic structure of atoms and nuclei. The course is mostly at the conceptual level, with some simple algebraic problem solving. A unique feature of the class is a series of at-home experiments using simple materials to illustrate some basic ideas of physics.

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PHSX 511: Astronomy for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 6 - 12

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 33550.
Astronomy has long been a subject that captures the imagination of young students and provides a framework for teaching many kinds of science. This course, specially designed for practicing science teachers at the middle and high school levels, serves as a survey of topics in astronomy, with special emphasis on the latest advances. The topics are closely aligned with the concepts emphasized in the NRC National Science Education Standards. Our textbook is a very complete, very up-to-date, very readable source that teachers will want to keep as a reference. Students are responsible for acquiring the textbook in time for the first day of class -- see below for details. Our instructional strategy focuses on readings from the textbook, exercises that clarify the concepts and collaborative internet group discussions that correct misunderstandings and deepen insights.

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PHSX 511: Astronomy For Teachers (Summer)
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 6 - 12

Astronomy has long been a subject that captures the imagination of young students and provides a framework for teaching many kinds of science. This course, specially designed for practicing science teachers at the middle and high school levels, serves as a survey of topics in astronomy, with special emphasis on the latest advances. The topics are closely aligned with the concepts emphasized in the NRC National Science Education Standards. Our textbook is a very complete, very up-to-date, very readable source that teachers will want to keep as a reference. Students are responsible for acquiring the textbook in time for the first day of class -- see below for details. Our instructional strategy focuses on readings from the textbook, exercises that clarify the concepts and collaborative internet group discussions that correct misunderstandings and deepen insights.

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PHSX 512: General Relativity for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 9 - 12

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 33552.
What do we mean by "curved spacetime"? As you freely fall toward a black hole, how long does it take to reach the event horizon according to your watch? Can your friend at a safe distance actually see you cross the horizon? What happens at the horizon? Can you receive messages and packages from your friend on the outside? Can you send messages to your friend on the outside? How quickly will it be over at the central crunch point?

You can answer these questions for yourself with some math, starting from a simple formula, the "metric," for the black hole. You can also answer every possible question about trajectories of light and satellites around the black hole as well as around familiar centers of gravitational attraction such as the Earth and Sun. Also, there is the metric describing the entire universe. The metric tells us how the universe expands and ends.

SYLLABUS: The course begins by examining the idea of spacetime curvature and the Schwarzschild metric for a non-rotating black hole. With the metric we calculate the circumferences of circles in space around a large mass and find they do not match up with their radii in the usual way. As in special relativity, we find that observers disagree in startling ways, but general relativity even puts limits on our ability to construct reference frames in which to study these effects. We will calculate the consequence of spacetime curvature outside and inside a Schwarzschild black hole, Hawking radiation, and rotating black holes. We will learn the Big Bang, forms of energy driving the expansion of the universe, and cosmological models.

NOTE: Participants should have good math skills, especially in calculus. They should know how to find a maximum and a minimum of a function and should be able to integrate polynomial functions. Also, participants need to be familiar with quantization of light energy (Planck relation), Heisenberg uncertainty principle, time dilation, length contraction, relativistic energy, and other basic principles in modern physics. Some knowledge of astronomy would be helpful.

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PHSX 513: Quantum Mechanics for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 9 - 12

Please register for CRN 10317
Can quantum mechanics be made SIMPLE? What lies behind wave functions and Schrödinger’s wave equation? How is the microscopic world really put together? Can one explore the peculiar quantum world without resorting to complicated mathematical treatment?

In his popular little book, QED, The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, Richard Feynman reduces the rules of quantum mechanics to a simple command for the electron and the photon: Explore all paths. In 1948 Feynman proved that this command leads to all the same results as the usual quantum wave mechanics.

Our course studies the command "Explore all paths" and its consequences. Using hands-on software, you experiment with the quantum world illustrated in Feynman's book. You excise the rules of the quantum mechanics to explain real world observations. On the on-line forum, you discuss with other participants the deep paradoxes of quantum mechanics. But deep does not mean mathematical: NO EQUATIONS until one-third of the way through the course. Without needing equations, you watch the quantum wave function emerging as a natural consequence of the command "Explore all paths.

Some comments from teachers during previous semesters: "The reading was incredible...I really get a kick out of Feynman's totally off-wall way of describing this stuff...Truly a ground-breaker!...He brings up some REALLY interesting ideas that I am excited to discuss with the rest of the class...Feynman does a great job of explaining a post graduate physics topic in nearly everyday language...I enjoy reading him because he seems so honest about what he (and everyone else) does not know...Man, it made me feel good to read that Feynman couldn't understand this stuff either...I was very pleased to have Feynman tell us that what we will learn is absurd."

"This course is pretty addictive! I find myself constantly thinking of the concepts presented in the reading as well as the items brought up (in the on-line discussion)...I find it similar to a good novel. Hard to put down or out of my mind...I am learning SO MUCH from all of you. That's one of this course format's strongest features...I'm learning twice as much as I ever hoped to, and we have just scratched the surface...I got an A in my intro qm class without having even a fraction of the understanding I have now...I find the power of this weekly conferencing unmatched by any course or book I have read. This medium allows us all to resonate and reflect our views of Physics."

"As I breeze through Feynman, it occurs to me that the reading is easy because of the software simulations we have run...It is very nice to have these computer programs to "experiment" with...This all makes so much more sense now, and I owe a large part of that to the software."

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PHSX 514: Comparative Planetology for Teachers: Establishing a Virtual Presence in the Solar System
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades K - 12

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 33553.
Is there ice on Mercury? Why isn't Pluto a planet? As viewed by the modern astronomer, the Solar System includes more than 100 diverse worlds interacting as a dynamic system. This online course for K-12 in-service teachers focuses on fundamental questions driving NASA's exploration of the Solar System: How did it form? What's in it? How is it arranged? What does the study of other worlds (planets, moons, asteroids, and comets) teach us about our own? How do we learn about other worlds? How are these worlds similar and different? How do they interact, forming mini-systems within the Solar System? What are their surfaces, atmospheres, and interiors like, and how do we know? By taking advantage of NASA's virtual presence in the Solar System, course participants will learn about the "new" Solar System and how to engage their students in the wonder of exploration.

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PHSX 582: Astrobiology for Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 7 - 12

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 34418.
Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and destiny of life in the universe. It defines itself as an interdisciplinary science at the intersection of physics, astronomy, biology, geology, and mathematics, to discover where and under what conditions life can arise and exist in the Universe. The course topics will cover the discovery of planetary systems around other stars, the nature of habitable zones around distant stars, the existence of life in extreme environments. These concepts will serve as a foundation to study possible extraterrestrial ecosystems on places in the solar system like Mars and Europa. Students will also investigate the methods used in the ongoing search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) and search for Earth-like planets. The overarching theme of the course will be to help participants gain a fundamental conceptual understanding of the central topics of astrobiology and to empower teachers to bring these topics into their classroom by proving experiences using the instructional activities aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, Framework for K-12 Education, and the NASA Astrobiology Strategy.

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PHSX 591: Electric Circuits & Magnetism for Teachers
Credits: 2
For teachers of grades 5 - 8

Please register for CRN 11143
This 2-credit course is designed for practicing teachers who are teaching basic electric circuits as part of the science curricula in their classrooms. Its broad purpose is to introduce experienced teachers to core concepts in electric circuits, as those ideas relate to modern hands-on, inquiry-oriented science curricular materials. By helping teachers improve their understanding of the underlying physics, this course will enable them to teach electric circuits more effectively. The specific course goals are as follows:

  • To deepen teachers understanding of basic physics principles underlying electric circuits.
  • To enhance teachers ability to convey concepts of electric circuits through inquiry approaches to learning.
  •  To encourage the sharing of resources and pedagogical methods among course participants.
  • To strengthen teacher knowledge and confidence in teaching electric circuits, and to develop their ability to critically analyze and use commercially available resources.
  • To briefly introduce magnetism, differentiating electric charge and magnet poles and observing the connection between an electric current and a magnetic field.

This course will be taught as an online, D2L-based course. The course involves significant student/instructor and student/student interaction with extensive participation in online discussion of laboratory work, assigned reading, homework assignments, and independent study utilizing targeted Internet searches. The time commitment is anticipated to be approximately 11-13  hours per week for seven weeks. Course work will involve a mixture of online discussion, hands-on (lab-type) activities, readings from assigned and independently researched sources, and on-line quizzes.



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PHSX 591: Physics of Renewable Energy for Secondary Teachers
Credits: 3
For teachers of grades 8 - 12

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.

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PHSX 591: Teaching and Learning in Science: Elementary Space Science
Credits: 1
For teachers of grades K - 6

Please register for CRN 22552
The Sun rises, the Sun sets. There must be more to life than that.

There is. The patterns of day and night - of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars - are complex and wonderful. Some are very easy to figure out if you have the right tools; others take a bit of practice. All can be studied at different levels, and so can be used for different grade levels and for the focus of scientific inquiry.

This course is intended for elementary school teachers who use hands-on curricula. The topics include the Moon and lunar phases, patterns and changes in the night sky, the Sun’s appearance over the day and over the year at different locations on Earth, and some keys to understanding the surface patterns of planets and other worlds in our Solar System. Throughout the course are ways of learning about student ideas, limitations, and misconceptions. Each week, participants work through a selection of activities and contribute to asynchronous online discussions. The available activities focus on each week’s topic, but each participant is encouraged to choose activities that will best contribute to her or his own learning and teaching needs. Many of the activities parallel student activities in popular space science curriculum kits, though most are geared for adult learners. At the same time, participants experience a long-term observation-based inquiry. Discussions provide a way for participants to learn about a wide assortment of activities, exchange tips and ideas, and bounce thoughts and questions off colleagues as they work through their own understandings.

Participants examine and deepen their own understanding of space science, uncover and correct misunderstandings, and explore different ways of learning particular topics. In doing so, participants gain skills to support inquiry-based learning and guided kit use among their students. Resources include a Teacher’s Guide, star wheel, and access to templates participants and their students can use to make tools to understand space science. Internet resources are used throughout the course. Activities use household materials.

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PHSX 591: The Science of Sound for Teachers
Credits: 2
For teachers of grades K - 8

Registration begins on October 29th - please register for CRN 33825.
In this exciting seven-week online course we will investigate principles of Sound. Conducting and observing hands-on, “ears-on” science is easy and fun! You will record the principles you learn in a science notebook and share your investigations with other teachers through collaborative assignments and weekly discussions. This is a course that allows you to play as you learn.


By participating in this course, you will...
  • Have a clearer conceptual understanding of how sound works and what it is.
  • Know how to examine sounds by looking at the whole "sound system" (force vibration, medium, receiver).
  • Learn about sound energy and how it moves through a medium.
  • Examine how the properties of materials affect the sounds you hear.
  • Learn about ears and how they work.
  • Experience the true Scientific Method and collaboration.

This is a conceptual physics course that is designed especially for Elementary teachers with little or no formal training in science. Teachers with significant previous experience teaching physical science are welcome, but are encouraged to contact NTEN for more information.

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PHSX 591: The World of Motion for Teachers
Credits: 1
For teachers of grades 3 - 8

Please register for CRN 11147

In this 6-week course for elementary teachers we will focus on the core ideas of measurement and motion, as they appear in modern inquiry-oriented science education. The course aims to help teachers use modern curricular materials more effectively by increasing their understanding of the physics concepts.

The specific course goals are to:

  • Gain a thorough understanding of the concepts central to a description of motion. These include position, time, displacement, velocity and acceleration.
  • Learn how to describe motion graphically and using data tables, and develop an understanding of the connections between these representations and the fundamental ideas of motion
  • Study how children's concepts of motion are developed in the classroom setting, and thereby become more effective users of inquiry-based curricular materials in teaching about motion
  • Develop our own professional community of course participants, sharing teaching ideas, expertise and experience


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PHSX 591: World of Force for Teachers
Credits: 1
For teachers of grades 4 - 8

Please register for CRN 11383

This 1-credit course is designed for 4-8 grade teachers who are exploring the concepts of forces in their classrooms. Its broad purpose is to introduce elementary and middle school teachers to core ideas about forces, as they relate to modern hands-on, inquiry-oriented science curricular materials. The course aims to help teachers use such materials more effectively by increasing their understanding of physics concepts, especially as those concepts may emerge in a classroom engaged in hands-on active learning. It is not a course in how to use a particular curriculum. The goals of this course are to...

  • Gain a thorough understanding of the concept of force and the different kinds of force
  • Develop expertise in representing forces with free-body diagrams
  • Gain a thorough understanding of the relationship between forces and Newton's three laws of motion
  • Understand how forces determine the conditions for balancing
  • Learn how forces explain the operation of simple machines such as pulleys and levers
  • Study how children's concepts of force, torque, and work are developed in classroom settings
  • Become more effective users of inquiry-based curricular materials in teaching about forces
  • Develop your own professional community of course participants, with whom you can share teaching ideas, expertise, and experience.


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