Step 1 is a 1-credit course which allows students to explore teaching as a career. Following an introduction to the theory and practice behind excellent inquiry-based science and mathematics instruction, students teach lessons in elementary classrooms to obtain firsthand experience in planning and implementation.
Master teachers—Step 1 instructors chosen for their experience and success in secondary classrooms science or mathematics—provide students direct exposure to people who love teaching and view it as a rewarding career choice. Mentor teachers at schools where students teach their prepared lessons demonstrate effective teaching techniques and classroom management skills, giving the future teachers a true taste of working in a supportive, diverse educational setting.
1 Credit Hour
In Step 2, the second 1-credit course, students continue developing the lesson planning skills learned in Step 1 as they become familiar with exemplary middle school science curricula. After observing lessons being taught in a local school district classroom, students plan and teach three inquiry-based lessons to sixth, seventh, or eighth graders.
Middle school science or mathematics classrooms are selected both for the diversity of the student body and the quality of the classroom teachers, who serve as mentors for the Step 2 students assigned to them. By the end of Step 2, students are usually able to make an informed decision about whether to pursue teacher certification through the STEM Education program.
1 Credit Hour
Prerequisites: STEM 1010 with a grade of C or better; or STEM Education Co-Director approval.
Knowing and Learning in Mathematics and Science is the first in a sequence of three, 3-credit professional development courses in the STEM Education program. It is followed by Classroom Interactions and Project-Based Instruction. Knowing and Learning is more than simply a general survey of theories in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, its goal being for students to construct a model of knowing and learning that will guide their future classroom practice.
This course revolves around an exploration of Essential Questions specifically relevant to teaching mathematics and science. Students begin by considering what standards for knowing are to be used, how knowing and learning are structured, and how what is known changes and develops. Ultimately, students must think about the tensions between general, cross-disciplinary characterizations of knowing (e.g., intelligence) and the specifics of coming to understand powerful ideas in mathematics and science.
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisites: Admission to the STEM Education program; university, STEM, and major department grade point averages of at least 2.5; STEM 1020 with a minimum grade of C; or STEM Education Co-Director approval.
Classroom Interactions is typically the fourth STEM Education course taken by students and the second in a series of three, 3-credit professional development courses. It follows Knowing and Learning and precedes Project-Based Instruction. Classroom Interactions builds on the Knowing and Learning course, moving from a focus on thinking and learning to a focus on teaching and learning. The course is centered on a close examination of the interplay between teachers, students, and content, and how these types of interactions enable students to develop deep conceptual understanding. Prospective teachers are also introduced to ways in which curriculum and technology are used in classroom settings to build interrelationships among teachers and students. They are taught how content and pedagogy combine to make effective teaching.
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisites: Admission to the STEM Education program; university, STEM and major department grade point averages of at least 2.5; STEM 2010 with a minimum grade of C; or STEM Education Co-Director approval.
Mathematical Models, Functions, and Applications is a three-credit-hour mathematics course designed to address the unique needs of future teachers of mathematics. It is required of STEM Education Mathematics majors. In this course, students engage in explorations and lab activities designed to strengthen and expand their knowledge of the topics found in secondary mathematics. Students collect data and explore a variety of situations that can be modeled using linear, exponential, polynomial, and trigonometric functions.
Activities are designed to have students take a second, deeper look at topics they should have been exposed to previously; illuminate the connections between secondary and college mathematics; illustrate productive uses of technology in teaching; illuminate the connections between various areas of mathematics; and engage them in serious (i.e., non-routine) problem solving, problem-based learning, and applications of mathematics. While there is some discussion of how the content relates to secondary mathematics instruction, with the instructor endeavoring to model high quality instructional techniques, this course primarily emphasizes mathematics content knowledge and content connections, as well as applications of the mathematics topics covered.
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisites: Admissions to the STEM Education program; university, STEM, and major department grade point averages of at least 2.5; STEM 1020 and MATH 1920, MATH 1921 and MATH 2200 with minimum grades of C or STEM Education Co-Director approval.
Perspectives on Mathematics and Science is a 3 credit upper-division course designed to meet the unique needs of future secondary science and mathematics teachers. It is one of the specially designed content courses in the STEM Education sequence (others include Mathematical Models, Functions, and Applications and Research Methods).
The course has several interlocking purposes: it is intended to help future mathematics and science teachers learn how to think about math and science "from the outside"—to ask questions about what scientists and mathematicians do and why, about where science and technology came from and how they got to be so important in the world today, and about what kinds of questions scientists and mathematicians have tried to answer and why; it is designed to strengthen students' skills in the liberal arts, including sophisticated research and information analysis, fluent writing, and substantive argument; it requires students to put to work the insights and skills they have learned in science and mathematics pedagogy classes by designing secondary school lesson plans that are built around events and concepts from the history of science and mathematics.
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisites: Admission to the STEM Education program; university, STEM, and major department grade point averages of at least 2.5; ENGL 1020 or UHON 1020 and completion of all 1000-level major courses with a minimum grade of C; STEM 2020 with a minimum grade of C or STEM Education Co-Director approval.
Research Methods in Science is a three-hour course in the required STEM Education sequence. It is one of several content courses specially designed to meet the needs of future secondary mathematics and science teachers (others include Perspectives in Mathematics and Science and Mathematical Models, Functions, and Applications).
The goals of the course are: to provide STEM Education students with the tools that scientists use to solve scientific problems; to give students the opportunity to use these tools in a laboratory setting; to make students aware of how scientists communicate with each other through peer-reviewed scientific literature; to enable students to understand how scientists develop new knowledge and insights, the most important of which are eventually presented in textbooks and taught in conventional science classes.
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisites: Admission to the STEM Education program; university, STEM, and major department grade point averages of at least 2.5; ENGL 1020 or UHON 1020, an approved General Education statistics course and completion of all 1000-level major courses with a minimum grade of C; STEM 2020 with a minimum grade of C; or STEM Education Co-Director approval. May be registered as BIOL 3020. Credit not allowed in both STEM 3020 and BIOL 3020.
Project-Based Instruction (PBI) is the capstone course in the sequence of professional development courses (Knowing and Learning, Classroom Interactions, and PBI) STEM Education students take prior to Apprentice Teaching and carries 3 credits. PBI is the course in which a number of the major principles and themes of the STEM Education program—integration of mathematics and science content; infusion of technology in representation, analysis, modeling, assessment and contextualization of content; immersion in intensive field-based experiences; and a focus on designing equitable learning environments—are synthesized as the students develop an intellectually challenging project-based instructional unit.
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisites: Admission to the STEM Education program; university, STEM, and major department grade point averages of at least 2.5; STEM 3020 with a minimum grade of C; or STEM Education Co-Director approval.
The purpose of Apprentice Teaching is to offer STEM Education students a culminating experience that provides them with the tools needed for their first teaching jobs. In Apprentice Teaching, students are immersed in the expectations, processes, and rewards of teaching. When making placements, STEM Education master teachers consider each apprentice teacher’s characteristics and abilities as well as the cooperating teacher’s teaching and mentoring styles. The hope is that the complementary strengths of the STEM Education apprentice teacher and cooperating teacher will generate a synergism that benefits both people professionally. Embedded within Apprentice Teaching is a seminar component which is taught by Master Teachers, who share their teaching experiences and facilitate discussions, helping apprentice teachers develop their own successful teaching identities. The Apprentice Teaching seminar embedded within the Apprentice Teaching course, provides a supportive environment where apprentice teachers share their experiences and work on solutions to difficulties they are experiencing. The seminar is a good forum for students to get the guidance they consistently want on classroom management. The seminar objectives and activities are aligned with Tennessee Teacher Licensure Standards. The apprentice teachers demonstrate that they meet the state standards by preparing and submitting a final portfolio. Apprentice teachers concentrate on teaching lessons each week in which they demonstrate competency of particular state standards. Apprentice Teaching is a six-credit-hour course.
6 Credit Hours
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Checkpoint 3, and all but at most two content courses successfully completed, and a passing score on the preliminary portfolio.