V. PROGRAM INFORMATION
DI Secondary Integrated Science Majors and Endorsement
Background, Philosophy and Rationale
Grand Valley State University currently has a population of more than 22,000 students. We serve the Greater Grand Rapids Area and most of west Michigan. Our teacher-education program is well respected and recently we have had several requests from our current students and in-service teachers to offer an Integrated Science Secondary major and/or endorsement. Several of our pre-service teachers are interested in teaching science at middle schools. However, even with a major and minor in two science areas they are not considered highly qualified to teach science in seventh and eighth grade. One of our goals is to allow students who have declared a science major and minor to complete any additional courses as outlined in Form XX to obtain the DI-Secondary endorsement.
Grand Valley State University would like state approval for 71-credits of course work as listed in form XX to offer the following options:
1. A 71-credit Comprehensive major (min 50 credit)
2. Major and minor in two science content areas with additional coursework for a DI endorsement
3. A major in one science area with additional coursework for a group major in Integrated Science (min 36 credit)
Consequently, the comprehensive major and the group major, and the DI endorsement all require approval of the same 71-credits. We will not offer the group major to students who are not majoring in another science content discipline.
We are aware that the MDE is considering various options to ensure that teachers who complete the DI Secondary 36-hour and comprehensive majors are truly qualified to teach biology, chemistry, physics and earth science courses in high schools. We plan to be part of the dialogue and will complete the curriculum process to offer these majors in the future. The 36-hour major will only be offered to those students who complete another science major, and the comprehensive major will be offered if the state mandates continuing education in the science content for teachers in high schools teaching individual content subjects. If the state decides to offer a middle level content endorsement, then we believe the DI-secondary major would be a desirable option for many students. We wish to have all our requests approved so we may offer these opportunities to our students on a timely basis.
Sequence of Coursework:
BIO 120 (4) General Biology I
BIO 121 (4) General Biology II
BIO 215 (3) General Ecology
BIO 325 (3) Human Sexuality
BIO 375 (3) Genetics
BIO 376 (1) Genetics lab
BIO 328 (3) Biomedical Ethics or 338 (3) Environmental Ethics SWS
CHM 115 (5) Principles of Chemistry I
CHM 116 (5) Principles of Chemistry II
CHM 231 (4) Introduction to Organic Chemistry
CHM 221 (4) Survey of Analytical Chemistry
Earth Science Classes
GEO 111 (4) Physical Geology
GEO 112 (5) Historical Geology
NRM 140 (4) The Climatic factor
GEO 319 (4) Earth Science for Secondary Education
PHY 105 (3) Astronomy
PHY 220 (4) General Physics I
PHY 221 (4) General Physics II
PHY 201 (4) Physics by Inquiry: The Mechanical and Thermal World.
Total 71 credits
Additional Required Courses: MTH 122 or MTH 123, STA 215
Differences between Elementary and Secondary Education Science Preparation Programs
The elementary major includes several courses that were specifically designed for K-8 teachers and only 41-42 credits are needed to complete the program. The secondary major is closely aligned to the science core content as required of secondary teachers completing the biology, chemistry, physics and earth-science minors for 7-12 certification. We believe that our secondary candidates who obtain the DI endorsement will be better prepared to teach science in 7th and 8th grade than our current DI elementary candidates. However because of the NCLB regulations the latter are currently being hired for these positions. Our DI-secondary candidates will complete the same approved professional development program as all current GVSU secondary candidates. Like their colleagues they must complete two semesters of classroom experiences- teaching assisting for 14 weeks, and student teaching for another 14-week period. At least one of these experiences must be in a culturally diverse classroom.
While our basic approaches to lesson planning may vary slightly, the program's focus is on science as inquiry. Our instructional methods range from open inquiry as in PHY 201 to the 5E model in ED 331. We provide discrepant events to engage the learner in BIO 215, emphasize the use and application of knowledge in BIO 328/338, and develop learning communities in all our classes. In most of our classes, candidates work in collaborative groups to solve a problem ranging from concepts in electromagnetism to developing a teaching unit. Beginning in our large lecture classes like BIO 120, we teach our students the value of concept mapping to enhance learning. Students conduct scientific investigations in all our courses and present their findings using written and oral presentation and posters. Posters presentations have become the norm in all our BIO 121 lectures, and are part of CHM 221
Gender and Equity
GVSU's Integrated Science Major clearly addresses gender and multicultural issues. Our program is built on a social constructivist's framework where all students' ethnic and cultural differences are celebrated. Students must demonstrate how they will address gender and equity issues in their lesson and units in ED 331. We openly confront issues of traditional white teachers preparing for teaching science in the 21st century multicultural America. We ask students to reflect on previous experiences with underrepresented groups, antiracial teaching versus multicultural teaching, and the role of women and minorities in science. Our goal is that all students on graduating from our program would have had a conversation with persons of a different religion, political affiliation, ethnicity, and from a different country. To ensure that students have these experiences, we facilitate study abroad experiences, require community service in schools with high percentages of at risk students, and provide ample opportunities for students to openly discuss opposing viewpoints on science teaching in a multicultural society.
Our faculty use and model a variety of assessment strategies. In our large lecture courses our assessment is usually traditional-multiple-choice, short-answer questions and essays. However in laboratory sections students write reports, make oral presentations and present posters. Some of these activities are not uncommon in the lecture portion of our larger classes as well. Our smaller classes allow us to use authentic assessment strategies more effectively. Students write and present lesson and teaching units in ED 331. They are also evaluated on their abilities in microteaching session to their peers. An example of our commitment to performance assessment is evident in ED 331 where we videotape and critique candidates' teaching.
Teaching science as inquiry requires knowledge of specific assessment techniques, consequently we model grading rubrics as a way to quantify student performance. Our students require a grade and must assign grades themselves-our goal is to provide a fair environment to ensure that students are comfortable assessing student learning within a constructivist framework. If not, they may not choose to teach science as inquiry.
GVSU's Integrated Science Secondary Major does not have a separate course on the use of technology. Instead, we focus on technology as a means to support student investigation, to develop questioning skills, acquire written information, to plan projects, create collaborative learning environments, and to enhance assessment. We are currently piloting an effort to put student portfolios on our Integrated Science website. We anticipate that our secondary students will choose to use this effective method of sharing their professional growth with the science education community.
Field Experiences and Professional Development Opportunities
DI-Secondary candidates will follow the approved College of Education professional program. But, as part of the major requirements candidates will complete a minimum of 10 hours of community and service learning projects. We are currently collaborating with Grand Rapids Public School District on the development of curriculum for their new Economicology Small High School. They are developing a project based curriculum that focuses on integration and have agreed to allow our students to volunteer in this school. There is also ongoing collaboration with the Grand Rapids Area Pre-College Engineering Program (GRAPCEP) and Grand Rapids Public Schools to create a Small High School focused on engineering and biotechnology. Additionally, the Integrated Science Program faculty have established relationships with several schools in our area and regularly place candidates as volunteers in classroom where science is taught with an integrated approach. We also provide opportunities for candidates as follows:
- Assisting supervisors with Science Olympiad.
- Working with 6-9th graders of Jenison, Grandville and Hudsonville elementary schools in the field as part of the districts' "Ecobus" program
- Assisting faculty with in-service workshops for teachers.
- Tutoring in various science programs in the Greater Grand Rapids area.
- Assisting with community outreach programs through the Regional Math and Science Center.
Science educators in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Education have a strong, if not unique, collaborative relationship. We work closely to write grants and currently have three ongoing professional development programs in area schools. An integral part of these programs is the careful placement of our pre-service teachers with in-service teachers who value science teaching. We firmly believe in the ongoing professional development of teachers and prepare our teacher candidates to become life-long learners. Although it is not mandated, we strongly encourage our students to pursue professional development activities. The Regional Math and Science Center provides small grants, and/or reduced cost for all our students to attend their events. Several faculty also apply for and receive funding for students' professional development. We now have an active National Science Teachers Association Student Chapter at GVSU. Thus, our average graduate would have taken advantage of at least three of the following:
- Membership-Michigan Science Teachers Association
- Membership-National Science Teachers Association
- Attendance-Michigan Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting
- Attendance-National Science Teachers Association Regional Meeting
- Regional Math and Science Center Update Conference
- International Field Courses
Page last modified January 29, 2009