EDUC 4531A - Physics Curriculum & 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 that will prepare students for the start of their teaching career in senior school Physics.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code EDUC 4531A
    Course Physics Curriculum & 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 6 courses of Physics
    Restrictions Available to B Teaching students only
    Assessment essay, unit of work, online tasks, designing pracs & investigations
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Francisco Ben

    Name: Dr. Francis Ben
    Location: Level 8, Nexus 10 Building, 10 Pulteney Street, Adelaide
    Telephone: Office – 8313 5631
    Course Website:
    Course Timetable

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

    Seminar/Workshop time: 9 AM - 11 AM, Thursdays
    Seminar Room: Hughes 323

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    2.1.1 Knowledge and Understanding
    This course aims to present information on a range of physical science/physics teaching methodologies, issues, and local and global trends in physics education. It also includes discussions on a variety of skills that will better equip pre-service teaching students to be better prepared for the start of their teaching career in middle school science and senior school physics. This course aims to develop an increased awareness of the current local and global trends in physics education particularly on the findings of research studies on students’ uptake of physics. This course also generally touches on the issues faced by schools, particularly the physics educators. Furthermore, it introduces to students the application of research for reflection and improvement of practices in physics education. Common high school physics contents will be covered. This course will introduce to students detailed information of the Australian National Curriculum for Science and the SACE Physics Stage 1 and 2 curricula. This includes subject outlines and assessment plans. This course, in addition, introduces to pre-service students the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) national professional standards for teachers. How teachers meet these professional standards in practice will also be covered. This course will encourage students to translate theory into practice in one or more issues that they can utilise in their own teaching. A number of emerging innovations, namely cognitive neuroscience, reflective practice, inquiry and problem-based learning, will be examined. This course will contribute to participants’ capacity to examine education-related studies and draw conclusions for everyday practice. In addition, the course will enable participants to integrate research findings from a number of disciplines such as psychology, sociology, measurement, history, and studies of curriculum in various subject areas. Participants in the course will contribute to developing the capacity to write essays on education-related topics, which are both clear and demonstrate a high level of understanding. The course will also contribute to the development of the participants’ capacity to begin the planning of a research study on physics education-related topic, and the ability to apply education research in an international context. The course will contribute to students’ capacity to share and collaborate with fellow students, and an awareness and expertise in the collaborative practices of teachers with each other and with the broader educational community.

    2.1.2 Communication Skills
    The continuing development of good inter-personal and communication skills is widely recognised as important for all graduates - also important in small group discovery activities. This course specifically seeks to develop students’ abilities to discuss issues in a workshop environment. This allows for group, collaborative and individual responses.
    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.,,,
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner.,,,
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems.,,,
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication., 2.1.2,
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies.
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life.,,,
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community.,,
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities.,,, 2.1.2
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    These are mainly documents for Stage 1 and Stage 2 Physics set by the SACE which include information about the new SACE Physics curriculum, the subject outlines and assessment plans. The documents can be accessed through The AITSL National Professional Standards for Teachers document can be accessed through

    The Australian National Curriculum for Science documents can be accessed through
    Recommended Resources
    In addition to the documents for the Australian National Curriculum, Stage 1 and Stage 2 physics published on the SACE website, and the AITSL National Standards for Teachers, the lecturer will provide students various topic-related articles / websites. Participants will be encouraged to explore every avenue and source of learning resources, publications and electronic resources. Examples of resources include, but not limited to, documents concerning the New SACE (especially the curricula for science and physics), the TIMSS and PISA studies, and the Australian National Curriculum Initiative.
    Online Learning
    Any lecture notes/PowerPoint slides will be available on MyUni (See the address on the front of this document). In addition, links to online resources such as topic-related journal articles and multimedia materials will also be posted on MyUni. Discussions outside the seminar/workshop sessions will occur via the course's MyUni Discussion Board to give everyone in the class a chance to share ideas and concerns.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Seminars/workshops will be held weekly commencing the week beginning Monday, the 3rd of March 2014. The course will be delivered as 8×2 hour seminars/workshops.

    Seminars/workshops are an important component of your learning in this course. The communication skills developed in seminars by regularly and actively participating in discussions are considered to be most important by the School and are highly regarded by employers and professional bodies.

    I will be available for consultation at the following times: TBA

    Please regularly check your email or the course’s MyUni announcements page for course-related announcements.

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

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. A subject worth 2 points, therefore, should take 8 hours (incl 2 hours of formal classes) during the teaching weeks of the course. Students in this course are expected to attend all lectures/seminars throughout the semester. There are no tutorial sessions for this course Please refer to Access Adelaide for your timetable and enrolment details.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1

    - AITSL Standards
    - What is physics?
    - Physics Education and trends
    - Learning Teaching Praxis in Science/Physics      cation

    1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.6, 2.3
    Week 2 - Curriculum Design and Models
    - The Australian Science Curriculum
    1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.6, 2.3, 2.4
    Week 3 - The Australian Science Curriculum (cont)
    - Australian Learners
    - Indigenous Science
    1.4, 2.3, 2.4, 6.1
    Week 4 - SACE for Physics (Stage 1 and Stage 2
    – highlight topics covered)
    - Physics curricula overseas
    - Research Project / PLP
    1.3, 2.3, 6.1
    Week 5 - Teaching Theories
    - Teaching styles and practices in school physics
    - Peer instruction
    - Unit planning
    2.2, 2.3, 6.1
    Week 7 - Assessment plans
    - Assessment structure and strategies
    5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5
    Week 8 - Assessment plans
    - Assessment structure and strategies
    - Summary/Review
    All Standards
    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no additional course-specific requirements.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Students will work collaboratively in small groups to design physics teaching materials and research-based teaching strategies. These teaching materials and strategies will be compliant to the requirements stipulated in the Australian National Curriculum for Science, and the SACE Stage 1 and Stage 2 Physics Curricula. Students will have the chance to 'test' their teaching strategies during practicum. MyUni Discussion Board will be used to facilitate discussions (including feedback) outside the class sessions.
  • 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
    There are two assignments required for this course. It will be in the form of a Physics/Physical Science Lesson Plans (Years 10 - 12), Physics/Physical Science Demonstration/Activity, and in the form of a Negotiated Essay Topic in Physics Education.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Guidelines and suggested format for the assignment will be discussed in the seminars/workshops in Week 1. A weighted total of 50% must be obtained from the combined assessment task weighted scores in order to achieve an overall PASS in this course (provided all assessment tasks are submitted).
    Assessment Detail
    A. Physics/Physical Science Lesson Plan (40%)
    • Choose a topic in physics/physical science (e.g., Forces, Energy, Electricity). A good way to start is with the SACE Stage 1 or 2 documents (for physics – for Years 11 - 12) or the Australian National Curriculum for Science (for physical science – for Years 8 - 10).
    • Plan lessons around the chosen topic. You may have to deliver a topic for up to 3 lessons (depending on how ‘big’ the topic is). You have to include the following sections in your lesson plan:
    o Year Level
    o Topic, a short introduction and lesson objectives (based on SACE or Australian National Curriculum)
    o Consideration of students’ prior experiences/knowledge
    o Materials (books, websites, videos, etc.)
    o Lesson sequence (delivery sequence including activities)
    o Assessment Plan (formative and/or summative)
    • Your lesson should reflect most (if not all) of the AITSL National Professional Standards. For the sake of this assignment, indicate which sections of your lesson plan will enable you to meet which particular AITSL standards.
    • There is no prescribed lesson plan format, so be creative. However, limit the number of pages of your lesson plans to 8 pages (excluding the coversheet). A 10% penalty will apply if you submit more than 8 pages of lesson plans.
    • A week after the due date, you are to upload and share your lesson plan to your peers via the MyUni Discussion Board. This will be discussed in more detail in class.

    Graduate Attributes:
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

    AITSL Standards
    Standards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7

    Due Date: TBA (Assignments should include a signed Standard Assignment Cover Sheet and submitted as a hard copy).

    B. Class Demonstration of a physics concept (20%)
    • Think of a simple demonstration activity in physics that will enable you to show your students a particular/series of phenomena. Some examples of demonstration activity include bicycle wheel gyroscope, centre of gravity in a system of stick, glass, spoon and fork, Rube Goldberg machine, etc. You should be able to explain in class what principles of physics your activity is able to demonstrate and how it relates to our everyday experiences. As much as possible, use everyday materials commonly found at home. Treat this assignment as a good practice for teaching practicum. You will be given 10 – 15 minutes to present your activity in class.

    Presentation and Activity Criteria will be discussed in one of the seminar/workshops.

    Total Possible Marks - 100

    Graduate Attributes:
    1, 3,and 4

    AITSL Standards
    Standards 2 and 7

    Presentation Date: TBA

    C. For Negotiated Essay Topic (40%)
    • Your essay should be about a topic related to physics education research (PER). You can choose from a range of broad PER areas such as issues in physics curriculum, students’ uptake of physics, physics teachers, economic impact of physics, ICT in teaching physics, and the importance of physics in scientific literacy, etc. Your chosen topic has to be approved first by your lecturer before you can proceed with your essay writing.
    • Number of words is 1500 (±5%). A penalty will apply if you go over the allowable limit. Tables, figures and references do not count towards the word limit.
    • Use font size 12 and one of the following font styles: Arial, Times, Calibri, Cambria, and Garamond.
    • Use the APA 5.0 or APA 6.0 format for your in-text citations and reference list. There are several examples of the APA style referencing you can find online (including one from the University of Adelaide website).

    Total Possible Marks - 100

    Graduate Attributes:
    1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8

    AITSL Standards
    Standards 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6

    DUE DATE: TBA (Assignments should include a signed Standard Assignment Cover Sheet and submitted as a hard copy)


    Lesson Plans
    Criteria Description Little or no evidence (0 – 4 marks) Satisfactory evidence (5 – 6 marks) Very good evidence (7 – 8 marks) Outstanding evidence (9 – 10 marks)
    Introduction (20) The lesson plan clearly provides the Aims / Expected Outcomes / Prior Knowledge / Skills
    Lesson Sequence (20) The lesson plan provides clear and easy to follow lesson sequence
    Assessments (20) The lesson plan clearly provides details of assessments given to students: Formative and Summative – Experiments/Exercises/Assignments/Tests
    Meeting the AITSL Professional Standards (20) The lesson plan highlights where it enables the teacher to meet most, if not all of the AITSL National Professional Standards.
    Resources used (10) The report provides listings of textbooks, others resources used such as Web pages, software, equipment, etc. The report follows the prescribed referencing format.

    Negotiated Essay Topic
    Criteria Description Little or no evidence (0 – 4 marks) Satisfactory evidence (5 – 6 marks) Very good evidence (7 – 8 marks) Outstanding evidence (9 – 10 marks)
    Structure / Organisation (30) Generally, an essay contains introduction, body, conclusion and references. The introduction contains clearly stated topic and/or issues. In addition, your essay shows clear and logical development of the argument within and between paragraphs. Appendices (if any) are used appropriately.
    Content / Ideas (30 ) Clear understanding of the issues (topic covered in depth; wider context; own opinion offered appropriately; good insight; originality; pertinent research; evidence from texts.
    Presentation (30) Clear and easy to read; legible graphics; tables/graphics inserted appropriately; page numbered; margins and line spacing observed consistently
    References used (10) Adequate number of references (books, journal articles, websites [educational], etc.) used. All in-text references are found in the reference list. The APA referencing style format is used.

    Assignments to be submitted as hard copy should be word-processed and double-spaced using word processing software (e.g. MS Word, MS Works, Open Office Word, iWork Pages, etc.) and printed on standard white A4 paper. Preferred fonts with sizes 11 to 12 are the following: Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Garamond and Times New Roman.

    The quality of English expression is considered to be integral parts of the assessment process. Marks may be deducted for poorly organised and poorly presented work.

    Assignments/Essays with no signed cover sheet will NOT be accepted.

    Assessment marks will be displayed on the course website as they are available. Students are encouraged to check their marks and notify the lecturer-in-charge of any discrepancies.

    Extensions for Written Assessment

    Extensions are granted at the discretion of Course Coordinators or Assessment Officer in compliance with the Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment Policy. Extensions beyond the due date are usually only granted in the case of significant medical, compassionate or extenuating circumstances which affect a student’s capacity to demonstrate their demonstrate their true level of competence in an assessment task.

    Students must apply for an extension by completing the online Application for Extension form. The application must give details of the extent and length of the student’s medical, compassionate or extenuating circumstances and the length of extension that is requested. The Course Coordinator or Assessment Officer will email the student regarding the outcome of their request as soon as possible after it is received. If an extension is granted it is provisional until formal evidence of the medical, compassionate or extenuating circumstances referred to in the online Application for Extension form is received. Where the application for extension is based on medical circumstances students must submit Attachment A available at the Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessments website ( . Students must have an Australian registered medical practitioner complete Attachment A. The practitioner must clearly indicate the dates in which the student is deemed to be unfit to complete an examination and display their medical provider number or practitioner's official stamp on the Form. Students must attach this evidence as well as the email granting the extension to their written assessment when it is submitted. The evidence submitted must be consistent with details provided in the application requesting the extension. If the details of the request for an extension and the medical or other evidence verifying the reason for the extension are not consistent in all respects the extension may be nullified, and the Course Coordinator of Assessment Officer may in their discretion decide not to accept the assignment, or impose a penalty for late submission.

    Students can apply for an extension at any time before the due date for an assignment. However, students are strongly advised to make extension applications as soon as their need becomes apparent. Delay in making an application obviously involves the risk that there will be insufficient time to complete the assessment (with consequential loss of marks) if the application for extension is refused.

    If an application is made within five days of the due date, or after the due date has expired, it will not be granted unless the Course Coordinator or Assessment Officer is satisfied:

    - that the circumstances warrant an extension; and
    - the application was made as soon as was practicable, and with no unreasonable delay.

    The duration of an extension is for the Course Coordinator or Assessment Officer to determine. However, unless there are exceptional circumstances an extension should not be granted for more than 10 business days or beyond the last day on which teaching may occur in the relevant teaching period, whichever is earlier.

    If a request for an extension is rejected, the student can appeal via the Student Grievance Resolution Process within seven days of notification of rejection by the Course Coordinator or Assessment Officer.

    Penalties for Late Submission

    An assessment that is submitted after the due date, and without an extension, will incur a 5% deduction from the total mark for every 24 hours or part thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend. For example, an essay that is submitted after the due date and time but within the first 24 hour period, and that has been graded at 63%, will have 5% deducted, for a final grade of 58%. An essay that is more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc. Hard copy submissions made after 5.00pm on a Friday will be assumed to have been submitted on the next business day and will be penalised 5% per day for every day including weekend days and public holidays. This penalty may be increased where the assignment is to be completed in a period of less than a week.
    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.

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