EDUC 4529A - Science Curric & Methodology A (UG)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

The course aims to present information on a range of methodologies and develop a variety of pedagogical skills to help students to be better prepared for the start of their teaching career.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code EDUC 4529A
    Course Science Curric & Methodology A (UG)
    Coordinating Unit School of Education
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 2 hours per week, in addition to a 2 hour common lecture focussing on Planning and Teaching
    Prerequisites Pass in 2 Level I Physical & Biological Sciences courses
    Restrictions Available to B Teaching students only
    Assessment essay, unit of work, online tasks, designing pracs & investigations
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Sivakumar Alagumalai

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    This course is aligned with the ACARA’s Australian Science Curriculum [] and SACSA Companion Document Series [], developments in the NewSACE – Stage 1 Science Subjects []. It is an introduction to the classroom applications and a study of the relationship of teachers and schools to the methods of teaching junior science. The course seeks to develop the knowledge, skills, and professional standards required to effectively instruct science at junior- and middle-schools. Participants will be provided with insights about selecting and using a variety of instruction methods, resources, and assessment strategies for teaching science to all learners. Workshop modules cover hands-on, inquiry, process and project-based approaches to the teaching of science with a focus on conceptual teaching and learning. Knowledge of junior science content is emphasised throughout the course. The course content strongly reflects the curricula emphasis of DECD, ACARA, and the standards articulated by the Australian Science Teachers Association []. Importantly, this course provides opportunities for students to critically reflect on their own understanding and experiences in science, examine the research around science and science education (NAP-Science Literacy, PISA, TIMSS, OECD and IEA Reports), and the pedagogy needed for effective and efficient praxis.

    By the end of the course, students should:
    1. Understand the contribution of science education to the society/community.
    2. Understand and appreciate science, scientific thinking and science education.
    3. Understand the theories, techniques, practices, and content pertaining to the teaching of science at the junior and middle schools level and apply this knowledge to the teaching of science.
    4. Appreciate and understand the nature of science and how learners construct scientific knowledge and its application to the teaching of science.
    5. Value the need for inclusive science instruction.
    6. Value the need for active learning of science.
    7. Critique curricula frameworks in science (local and national).
    8. Appreciate, understand and value the need for collaboration and sharing of resources.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3, 4, 5, 8
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4, 5, 6, 8
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1, 5, 6, 7, 8
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 2, 3, 4, 6, 8
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Junior Science Course Reader/Notes (available through MyUni)
    ACARA (NAP-SL), SACE, SACSA Framework, Primary Connections Website, OECD (PISA Study) & IEA (rTIMSS) websites.
    Recommended Resources
    Web-resources and science-teacher’s resource sites will be provided during the course
    Online Learning
    MyUni – Science Curriculum and Methodology [EDUC 4529A/B & EDUC6529A/B]
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course runs for sixteen weeks across two semesters, and each week comprises of a two-hour lecture on core-topics and a two-hour tutorial workshop. Attendance at all seminars and tutorials are important to gain broader insights and achieving the objectives outlined for this course. Attendance will be recorded during each tutorial group.
    The course adopts the Inquiry-Reflective-Praxis model of learning, which describes a continuous commitment to inquiry, scientific thinking, evidence-based research and knowledge extension. The course challenges students to critique and reframe personal and organisational conceptions of precepts to evaluate, extend and create new knowledge and experience.

    I will be available for consultation (by appointment please) at the following times:
    9 am – 11 am; 2 pm – 3 pm (Tuesdays and Fridays)

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The course requires four hours of contact time for sixteen weeks, and a further three-five hours per week for self-study, reflection and completion of individual and group assignments.

    Lectures (Core Course): Please refer to BTch/GDE Handbook for dates/times/venues

    Tutorials / Seminars
    7 Mar 11 Apr Friday 9:10AM - 11:00AM Barr Smith South, 2060
    2 May 9 May Friday 9:10AM - 11:00AM Barr Smith South, 2060
    28 Jul 18 Aug Monday 4.10PM – 6.00PM Engineering Annex, 308
    6 Oct 3 Nov Monday 4.10PM – 6.00PM Engineering Annex, 308
    Learning Activities Summary
    1. What is science? Nature & viewpoints [1]
    2. Scientists, teachers (Prof Standards), teaching and pedagogy [2]
    3. Learners and learning: Conception and misconceptions [3]
    4. Curriculum framework, syllabus, Lesson Planning and Instr. Design [3]
    5. Practicals, Assessment and Reporting [2]
    6. Resources & Support (ASTA/CSIRO/Primary Connections/RiAus) [5]
    Specific Course Requirements

    7 March
    Text/Readings & Assessments
    What’s it all about? Nature of Science –viewpoints
    Philosophy of Science –what is it?

    14 March
    Scientist-teachers or teacher-scientists?
    Teaching and Pedagogy

    National Professional Standards for Teachers

    Professional Standards for Science Teachers (ASTA)

    Teaching Science
    21 March

    National and International Studies

    NAP_SL, PISA & rTIMSS Studies (readings)
    National Assessment Program: Science Literacy,12181.html

    OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

    PISA Computer-based assessment of science

    Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)
    28 March
    The Learner & Learning of Science
    Learning theories and models [[Skills Theory, MHC, Concept-Process; Task-Action Interaction Theory]
    Developmental stages and ACARA
    PrimaryConnections 5Es teaching and learning model [Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate]
    4 Apr
    Piaget, Anderson & Krathwohl (Bloom), Vygotsky, SOLO, and the Dimensions of Learning
    Knowledge forms (explicit, tacit, procedural)
    11 Apr
    Concepts, contents, processes, tasks, action
    Concept and Concept Mapping
    Conceptions and Misconceptions
    2 May
    Learning Models & Curricula Frameworks [ACARA/NewSACE/SACSA]
    Taxonomies & Grids [PLP & Research Project]
    Introduction to Lesson Planning and Instructional Design [Backward Design Model]
    9 May
    Planning a unit of work
    Classroom activities

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Attendance and Participation in tutorials and lectures 10%
    Percentage deducted for each tutorial workshop absent

    Assignment #1 [Deadline: 9 May 2012, 4.00pm] 50%
    Scientific conceptions and misconceptions (2500 words)
    (graduate attributes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

    Assignment #2 [Deadlines: Weeks 13 – 16, tutorial workshop] 30%
    Small Group Discovery and Presentation (in pairs)
    Unit/lesson Design, Programming and Resources presented in Digital Portfolio format (to include notes, resources and links, presentation slides, lesson/unit plans, worksheets and assessment rubtics)
    (graduate attributes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

    Assignment #3 [Deadlines: Weeks 13 – 16, tutorial workshop] 10%
    Peer Assessment of Small Group Discovery Presentation (Tutorial Group)
    Unit/lesson Design, Programming and Resources  (using selected AITSL Standards)
    (graduate attributes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students are required to satisfy the attendance at tutorials and lectures requirement and complete all three assignments by the stipulated deadlines, and obtain an overall pass to complete the course.
    Assessment Detail
    Assignment #1: Scientific conceptions and misconceptions (50%) [Deadline: 9 May 2014]
    The misconceptions students hold about scientific concepts may prevent students from processing new scientific information, refining or extending concepts. This two-part assignment will enable you to assess student misconceptions, undertake a research project and assist in concept correction/realignment.

    Part A (20 marks): Essay [1000 words]
    Locate FIVE common misconceptions from your own learning of science (elementary/primary school days) or those you found in the literature [it is important you make references to the Australian Science Curriculum (Years 3-9) at
    and indicate explicitly the ‘Content Areas’ these misconceptions could be mapped onto]. Address why they are misconceptions, discuss how students might have these misconceptions, and provide specific ways to help students come to the correct conception. This should be carefully written and provide a detailed discussion. The crucial questions are:

    What are misconceptions and when/why/where/how do they originate?
    Where did the concept fall apart or break down?
    What can the teacher do when the misconception is identified?
    How can the teacher assess concept realignment?

    Part B (30 marks): Research Project [1500 words]
    Undertake an investigation (Research Project) to examine two of the misconceptions identified in Part A. A useful exemplar of this assignment is “An Exploration of Common Student Misconceptions in Science” available at You may want to interview 10-12 of your colleagues in the GDE/BTch-4th Year programs.

    Assignment #2: Unit/lesson Design, Programming and Resources (Small Group Discovery – in pairs)
    Science resources and networks are pertinent in enabling instructional design and delivery of instructions. Moreover, professionals network to share resources, critically evaluate their utility in the classroom and refine further pedagogical elements. With a colleague, identify three science websites/applets/resources (beyond those available in Australia), map them to the Australian Science Curriculum (Years 6-9), and present your findings during your tutorial session.

    In the identification and collation of information and ideas, you are to utilise information and communications technology (ICT) and innovations in engaging your students in enhancing their learning. You may want to critically evaluate these ICTs (Wiki, Blogs, Bulletin Board, Widgets, Apps, Applets) and demonstrate their effectiveness in enhancing student’s learning.

    A pertinent aspect of this presentation and assignment is to link the topic/contents and information to AITSL’s National Professional Standards for Teachers.
    Lecturer(s)/tutor(s) will guide the process and direct teams (working in pairs) to information and resources.

    Please note: Rubrics for all assignments (1, 2 & 3) will be distributed during Tutorial Workshops 1 & 2
    1. Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.
    2. All individual assignments must be attached to an Assignment Cover Sheet which must be signed and dated by the student before submission. Lecturers will withhold student‘s results until such time as the student has signed the Assignment Cover Sheet.
    3. All group assignments must be attached to a Group Assignment Cover Sheet which must be signed and dated by all group members before submission. All team members are expected to contribute approximately equally to a group assignment.
    4. Markers can refuse to accept assignments which do not have a signed acknowledgement of the University‘s policy on plagiarism (refer to policy on plagiarism below, Section 8).
    5. (Policy on late submission of work – including penalties)
    6. Guidelines for referencing are specific to each School/Program. Reports/essays for this course generally follow the APA format. 

    Assignment Submission and to Late Submission of Work

    The procedure for preparing and submitting assignments is as follows:
    · Assignments are to be accompanied by a completed Assignment Cover Sheet.
    · Under no circumstances should assignments be sent direct to the Course Coordinator/Lecturer. All assignments are to be submitted through the Professions Hub (Ground Floor, 10 Pulteney Street).
    · Email or faxed assignments will not be accepted (unless by prior arrangement with the Professions Hub Officer).
    · Unless an extension of time has been granted, assignments must be postmarked on or before the due date. Late submission will invariably result in a penalty (usually a 10% reduction for each day late) being applied. Failure to obtain a postmark will result in the received date of the document in the Professions Hub Office being recorded as the actual date of submission with the associated 10% per day marks penalty.  Any assignment handed in 10 days or more late will automatically record a mark of zero and be directly returned to the student not marked.

    Furthermore, as a note of caution - any student who obtains or attempts to obtain a postmark prior to the actual day of mailing off an assignment is guilty of misconduct and this is a very serious offence that will be dealt with accordingly and could lead to failure of the course and/or other further actions being taken.

    · Please note that "Express Post" envelopes do not normally have postmarked dates on them – please request this at the Post Office to ensure the correct date is recorded.
    · The Professions Hub Office will record the receipt of your assignment, date stamp & return the stamped, self addressed acknowledgment card (if enclosed), and ensure that the lecturer/marker receives your assignment within one working day. Acknowledgement Cards without a stamp will not be returned.
    · The Professions Hub Office will not follow up assignments that are not received. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that assignments arrive on time.
    · The pages of an assignment should be stapled. Glider-clip the assignment cover sheet, and the acknowledgment card, to the assignment. Please do not staple. Only questions relating specifically to the assignment to which the cover sheet is attached should be written on the cover sheet. Supplies of cover sheets will be issued to students with your course material. Should you run out of these sheets please contact the Professions Hub Office.
    · When two or more assignments are submitted at the same time, a separate cover sheet giving full particulars of the course etc must be used for each assignment.
    · Assignments consisting of audio tapes should always be accompanied by a completed cover sheet for identification purposes.
    · If you are unable to finish the assignment by the due date you should submit whatever work you have completed.
    · Late submission will result in a penalty being applied. A 10% reduction of the maximum mark achieved for each day (includes weekend) late will apply. For example:
              If an assignment is 1 day late
              Mark achieved 58% - 10% (for 1 day late).
              Final mark = 48%
    Assignments that are 10 days late or more will not be marked and will be returned to student without feedback.

    · Always keep a duplicate copy of your assignments. In the event of loss in transit you could save yourself the task of rewriting. The onus of proving that lost assignments have been completed will be on you. Proof must be given that the assignment was posted by the due date, eg a certified mail receipt slip or equivalent.
    · Extensions will not be granted under any circumstances on the basis of work related commitments.
    · Extensions will only be granted on exceptional circumstances, such as medical or associated grounds (please see UoA’s policy at Note Clause #5: Student’s responsibilities - Contact relevant academics to negotiate assessment accommodations.
    · If requesting an extension on the above grounds the Course Lecturer must be notified by email before the due date. Appropriate documentation, ie medical certificate etc, MUST then accompany the assignment. If such documentation is not received with the assignment it will be regarded as a late submission, as stated above.
    · It should be pointed out that if you are granted an extension of time to submit your assignment, the delay in finalising your results may prevent you from completing your program in time for graduation. 

    Assignments will be returned to students within three/four weeks of the due date with written feedback. Assignments will generally be returned during tutorials/lectures.

    Students must not submit work for an assignment that has previously been submitted for this course or any other course without prior approval from the lecturer-in-charge.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.