Readings I’m using in Various Science Teaching and Learning Courses

This semester, I am teaching (i) an inquiry course for future elementary school teachers, (ii) a teaching physics course for future physics teachers, and (iii) a teaching and learning seminar for physics majors who are serving as undergraduate TAs in one of our reform-oriented introductory physics courses.

As semester goes on, I’m going to try to keep up updated reading list for each of the courses. Here’s where we are thus far…

Inquiry Readings:

Week 1:

“The Pendulum Question” from Seeing Science in Children’s Thinking: Case Studies of Student Inquiry in Physical Science by David Hammer and Emily van Zee. [Video portion discussed in class on first day]

Week 2:

“The virtues of not knowing” from The Having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning by Eleanor Duckworth.

Teaching of Physics Readings:

Week 1:

“The sun goes around the earth–Goals of Science Education” from An Inquiry into Science Education: Where the Rubber Meets the Road by Richard Steinberg

“Student Inquiry in a Physics Class Discussion”, in Cognition & Instruction, by David Hamme

Week 2:

Selected sections of “Chapter 2: Rectilinear Kinematics” from Teaching Introductory Physics, by Arnold Arons, paired* with “Building the Constant Velocity Model” over at Physics! Blog! by Kelly O’Shea.

Every student will read one of the following papers and with a group give a brief presentation of the research, its findings, and discuss how a PBI problem they did earlier seems informed by this research.

Teaching and Learning Seminar:

Week 1:

“Unpacking the nature of discourse in mathematics classrooms” in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, by Knuth & Peresseni

Week 2:

“Questioning and Discussion” from Teaching Secondary School Science: Strategies for Developing Scientific Literacy, by Bybee, Powell, and Trowbridge.

Week 3:

Reflective Discourse: developing shared understanding in a physics classroom” by Van Zee and Minstrell. (1997)


* An explicit goal of mine in teaching of physics to pair readings–one that is closer to the trenches of teaching and one that is closer to research. Both of these reading are fairly close to teaching, but Kelly’s writing is like your are in her classroom, and Arons writing is a bit more distant.

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