Major in Physics – Secondary Education Concentration

Physics majors in the Secondary Education Concentration are eligible, upon graduation, to apply for certification to teach physics for grades 7-12 in the state of Maryland. 

The Physics Secondary Education Concentration requires 128-129 units for completion. Students in this concentration must complete 101-102 required units in content and Towson UTeach courses, and 27 units in Core Curriculum courses not satisfied by the major, earning a grade equivalent of 2.00 or higher in each course.    

Standards for Teacher Education

The Teacher Education Executive Board, representing all initial teacher education programs at Towson University, utilizes the following minimum requirements as conditions for admission into teacher education programs, maintaining candidate status and formal entry into the capstone internship. Programs may include additional requirements for admission into the program and/or the capstone internship.

The College of Education admits students either as freshmen or as undergraduate transfer students from accredited, post-secondary institutions. During the freshman and sophomore years, students are generally engaged in pre-professional courses or courses that fulfill Core Curriculum requirements, as well as all identified prerequisites (e.g., specific and sequential courses in Core Curriculum) for admission to COE screened majors and programs.

All College of Education undergraduate programs are screened majors. As an integral part of the teaching/learning experience, students work with advisers in a strategic planning process across all years at TU. Accordingly, to support student success, all COE students are required to confer prior to registration each term with their assigned advisers.

I. PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION TO ALL TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS

  1. Complete a self-disclosure criminal background form to be submitted to the major department with the application. 
  2. Submit an application for formal admission to the program. Students seeking admission to teacher education programs must contact their department chairperson or program coordinator by 45 credit hours for program-specific procedures and requirements for admission to professional education programs.
  3. A cumulative/overall GPA of 3.00 or higher is required for admission to an initial licensure teacher education program.

    1. Applicants with a GPA between 2.50 – 2.99 may be admitted conditionally if they provide evidence of passing scores on a Basic Skills Assessment* as identified by the Maryland State Department of Education (i.e. SAT, ACT, GRE, Praxis Core) and receive approval from the department chairperson/program coordinator.

      *Candidates may apply for a test waiver directly to the department. Such waivers should only be granted if it is predicted, based on the individual candidate’s transcript data, that the candidate’s final cumulative/overall GPA will be above a 3.00.

II. REQUIREMENTS FOR MAINTAINING CANDIDATE STATUS

  1. Maintain a semester GPA of 3.00 in required education courses for all programs.  
    1. At the department’s discretion, candidates who do not meet the above GPA requirement may continue for one additional semester under probationary status, but must meet the 3.00 GPA requirement at the end of the probationary period. If the GPA requirement is not met at the end of the probationary period, the candidate would be dismissed from the program.
  2. Obtain a grade of C or better in academic major coursework applicable only in programs requiring an academic major. (Middle School; Secondary; Art, Dance, Health, Music, World Languages, Physical Education).
  3. Exhibit behavior that is consistent with the University’s Code of Student Conduct, the Educator Preparation Program’s Professional Behavior Policy, and established professional practice in educational and clinical settings. (see COE Behavior Policy)
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III. PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY INTO CAPSTONE INTERNSHIP FOR ALL PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

  1. Complete a criminal background check as required by the school system in which the internship is located.
  2. Complete all required coursework.

The Standards were revised and approved in February 1996, May 1998, February 2000, May 2007, May 2008, April 2009, December 2011, November 2012, February 2014, October 2014, February 2015, November 2015, May 2019, February 2020, and March 2021.

The Physics Secondary Education concentration requires 128-129 units for completion. Students in this concentration must complete 98-99 required units in content and Towson UTeach courses, and 30 units in Core Curriculum courses not satisfied by the major, earning a grade equivalent of 2.00 or higher in each course.    

Minimum requirements for admission into teacher education programs, maintaining candidate status and formal entry into the capstone internship are outlined on the Standards for Teacher Education page in the Undergraduate Catalog. 

Required Physics Courses 

Required Content Courses for the Secondary Education Concentration

In addition to the 34 units of common physics requirements and 8 units of common non-physics requirements for a physics major, the following content courses are required:

Towson UTeach Course Requirements (37 Units)

SEMS 110
& SEMS 120
INTRODUCTION TO STEM TEACHING I: INQUIRY APPROACHES TO TEACHING
and INTRODUCTION TO STEM TEACHING II: INQUIRY-BASED LESSON DESIGN
2
or SEMS 130 INTRODUCTION TO STEM TEACHING I & II COMBINED
SEMS 230 KNOWING AND LEARNING 3
SEMS 240 CLASSROOMS INTERACTIONS 3
SEMS 250 PERSPECTIVES IN SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS 3
SEMS 370 PROJECT-BASED INSTRUCTION 3
SEMS 498 INTERNSHIP IN MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE SECONDARY EDUCATION 3
SCED 460 USING LITERACY IN THE SECONDARY SCHOOLS 4
SCED 461 TEACHING READING IN THE SECONDARY CONTENT AREAS 3
SCIE 393 INTERNSHIP IN SECONDARY EDUCATION- SCIENCE 12
SCIE 430 SEMINAR IN STUDENT TEACHING – SCIENCE 1
Total Units 37

Suggested Four-Year Plan

Based on course availability and student needs and preferences, the selected sequences will probably vary from those presented below. Students should consult with their adviser to make the most appropriate elective choices.

NSTA Standard 1: Content Knowledge

Effective teachers of science understand and articulate the knowledge and practices of contemporary science. They interrelate and interpret important concepts, ideas, and applications in their fields of licensure. Below are the elements of the standard.
Pre-service teachers will:

  • 1a) Understand the major concepts, principles, theories, laws, and interrelationships of their fields of licensure and supporting fields as recommended by the National Science Teachers association.
  • 1b) Understand the central concepts of the supporting disciplines and the supporting role of science-specific technology.
  • 1c) Show an understanding of state and national curriculum standards and their impact on the content knowledge necessary for teaching P-12 students.
  • Assessment: Praxis II scores

NSTA Standard 2: Content Pedagogy

Effective teachers of science understand how students learn and develop scientific knowledge. Pre-service teachers use scientific inquiry to develop this knowledge for all students. Below are the elements of the standard.
Pre-service teachers will:

  • 2a) Plan multiple lessons using a variety of inquiry approaches that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of how all students learn science.
  • 2b) Include active inquiry lessons where students collect and interpret data in order to develop and communicate concepts and understand scientific processes, relationships and natural patterns from empirical experiences. Applications of science-specific technology are included in the lessons when appropriate.
  • 2c) Design instruction and assessment strategies that confront and address nave concepts/preconceptions.
  • Assessment: This Standard is usually met using Assessment 3 – Unit Plan. GPA required in content coursework.

NSTA Standard 3: Learning Environments

Effective teachers of science are able to plan for engaging all students in science learning by setting appropriate goals that are consistent with knowledge of how students learn science and are aligned with state and national standards. The plans reflect the nature and social context of science, inquiry, and appropriate safety considerations. Candidates design and select learning activities, instructional settings, and resources–including science-specific technology, to achieve those goals; and they plan fair and equitable assessment strategies to evaluate if the learning goals are met. Below are the elements of the standard.
Pre-service teachers will:

  • 3a) Use a variety of strategies that demonstrate the candidates knowledge and understanding of how to select the appropriate teaching and learning activities  including laboratory or field settings and applicable instruments and/or technology- to allow access so that all students learn. These strategies are inclusive and motivating for all students.
  • 3b) Develop lesson plans that include active inquiry lessons where students collect and interpret data using applicable science-specific technology in order to develop concepts, understand scientific processes, relationships and natural patterns from empirical experiences. These plans provide for equitable achievement of science literacy for all students.
  • 3c) Plan fair and equitable assessment strategies to analyze student learning and to evaluate if the learning goals are met. Assessment strategies are designed to continuously evaluate preconceptions and ideas that students hold and the understandings that students have formulated.
  • 3d) Plan a learning environment and learning experiences for all students that demonstrate chemical safety, safety procedures, and the ethical treatment of living organisms within their licensure area.
  • Assessment: Curriculum Development Project (CDP) score

NSTA Standard 4: Safety

Effective teachers of science can, in a P-12 classroom setting, demonstrate and maintain chemical safety, safety procedures, and the ethical treatment of living organisms needed in the P-12 science classroom appropriate to their area of licensure. Below are the elements of the standard.
Pre-service teachers will:

  • 4a) Design activities in a P-12 classroom that demonstrate the safe and proper techniques for the preparation, storage, dispensing, supervision, and disposal of all materials used within their subject area science instruction.
  • 4b) Design and demonstrate activities in a P-12 classroom that demonstrate an ability to implement emergency procedures and the maintenance of safety equipment, policies and procedures that comply with established state and/or national guidelines. Candidates ensure safe science activities appropriate for the abilities of all students.
  • 4c) Design and demonstrate activities in a P-12 classroom that demonstrate ethical decision-making with respect to the treatment of all living organisms in and out of the classroom. They emphasize safe, humane, and ethical treatment of animals and comply with the legal restrictions on the collection, keeping, and use of living organisms.
  • Assessment: Internship Evaluations

NSTA Standard 5: Impact on Student Learning

Effective teachers of science provide evidence to show that P-12 students understanding of major science concepts, principles, theories, and laws have changed as a result of instruction by the candidate and that student knowledge is at a level of understanding beyond memorization. Candidates provide evidence for the diversity of students they teach. Below are the elements of the standard.
Pre-service teachers will:

  • 5a) Collect, organize, analyze, and reflect on diagnostic, formative and summative evidence of a change in mental functioning demonstrating that scientific knowledge is gained and/or corrected.
  • 5b) Provide data to show that P-12 students are able to distinguish science from non-science, understand the evolution and practice of science as a human endeavor, and critically analyze assertions made in the name of science.
  • 5c) Engage students in developmentally appropriate inquiries that require them to develop concepts and relationships from their observations, data, and inferences in a scientific manner. 
  • Assessment: Portfolio scores

Standard 6: Professional Knowledge and Skills

Effective teachers of science strive continuously to improve their knowledge and understanding of the ever changing knowledge base of both content, and science pedagogy, including approaches for addressing inequities and inclusion for all students in science. They identify with and conduct themselves as part of the science education community. Below are the elements of the standard.
Pre-service teachers will:

  • 6a) Engage in professional development opportunities in their content field such as talks, symposiums, research opportunities, or projects within their community.
  • 6b) Engage in professional development opportunities such as conferences, research opportunities, or projects within their community.
  • Assessment: Flinn Science Safety Course completion

View more information: https://catalog.towson.edu/undergraduate/fisher-science-mathematics/physics-astronomy-geosciences/physics-secondary-education/

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