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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: PHY3004 Module Title: PHYSICS IN EDUCATION
Module Provider: Physics Short Name: PH3-PIE
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: BACON RA Dr (Physics)
Number of credits: 10 Number of ECTS credits: 5
Module Availability

Module Availability:


Semester 2


Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)


Report (Students’ end of module report)




Report (Teachers’ end of course report (moderated))




Project and Presentation (The special project materials and a 15 minute presentation)




Qualifying Condition(s) 


University general regulations refer.


Module Overview



Module Aims

To help the student gain confidence in communicating their subject and develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills that will be of benefit to them in employment and life.  To enable the student to understand how to address the needs of individuals and devise and develop physics projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the relevant age group they are working with.  To allow the student to act as an enthusiastic role-module for pupils interested in physics and to offer them a positive experience of working with pupils and teachers.


Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, the student will have gained substantial experience of working in a challenging and unpredictable working environment.  They will also have gained a broad knowledge of many of the key aspects of teaching science in schools.  The specific and transferable skills they will have attained include:


-          Understanding the needs of individuals.


-          Interpersonal skills.


-          Staff responsibilities and conduct.


-          Standard teaching methods.


-          Preparation of lesson plans and teaching materials.


-          Handling difficult and potentially disruptive situations.


-          Public speaking and communication skills.


Students will have gained experience of answering questions about their subject and will be able to assess and devise appropriate ways to communicate difficult principles or concepts.  They will develop their communication skills, both in a one to one situation and when speaking to an audience.  Students will be able to use these skills to address some of the problems specific to physics education such as the need to break down stereotypes of science and scientists that pupils may have.


Module Content

This module provides an opportunity for level HE3 students to gain first hand experience of physics education through a mentoring scheme with physics teachers in local schools. Each student will work with two classes for half a day every week for a full semester of about 10 weeks. The classes will vary from key stage 3 to sixth form. Situations will be limited in number and students will be selected for their commitment and suitability for working in schools, and will be given a range of responsibilities from classroom assistance to self-orientated special projects. The module has the backing of the “Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme” (UAS) which is organising the introduction of science undergraduates into schools in this way across the .



Training and basic skills: The student will be given an introduction to relevant elements of the National Science Curriculum and its associated terminology, (e.g. ‘Key Stage 2’ etc.).  They will receive basic training in working with children and conduct in the school environment, and will visit the school in which they will be working before commencement of the module.



Classroom observation and assistance: Initial contact with the teacher and pupils will be as a classroom assistant, watching how the teacher handles the class, observing the level of physics taught and the structure of the lesson, and offering practical support to the teacher in laboratory or administrative work.



Teaching assistance: The teacher will assign the student actual teaching tasks, which will be dependent on specific needs.  This could include offering problem-solving coaching to a smaller group of pupils, or taking part of a lesson for the whole class.



Special project: The student will devise a special project on the basis of their own assessment of what will interest, or be of most use to, the particular pupils they are working with.  This will be discussed with the teacher, who will have to approve the choice of topic and teaching method.  Each student will need to demonstrate that they can analyse a specific teaching problem and devise and prepare appropriately targeted teaching materials, practical demonstrations and basic tests.



Extra-curricular projects: The student may be supervised by the teacher in running an out-of timetable activity (if appropriate), such as an after-school science club or special coaching periods for higher or lower ability students.  The student will have to demonstrate an ability to formulate interesting ways to illustrate more difficult or stimulating scientific concepts.



Written reports: The student will be required to keep a journal of their progress in working in the classroom environment and to write a critical report based on this journal.  Materials prepared for the special project will also be submitted, some of which may be written.



Presentation: The student will be required to make a 20-minute presentation to Physics Department staff and other students on the subject of their special project.


Methods of Teaching/Learning

There are no formal lectures associated with this course.



A training session will provide the student with an introduction to working with children and the level of teaching with which they will be involved.  Students will be assigned to a teacher in the local area and this teacher will then act as a mentor and assessor to the student during the course.  The teacher will offer guidance to the student during their weekly interaction, and in discussion with a Department tutor will individually determine the level of responsibility and pupil interaction to be expected of the student.


Selected Texts/Journals

National Science Curriculum Syllabus.


Other material specific to individual subjects as advised by teacher.


Last Updated

August 2010.