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EDX2260 Teaching Science for Understanding

Semester 1, 2013 On-campus Fraser Coast
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Education
School or Department : Education
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Karen Spence
Moderator: Jennifer Donovan


To be effective in assisting learners to become scientifically literate, there is a need for confident and competent teachers of science. This will require teachers to be able to match their knowledge and understanding of the scientific content appropriate to the curriculum for their context with pedagogical approaches that will assist students to develop knowledge of the content and processes of science. In particular, pedagogical content knowledge is of fundamental importance in a teacher's approach to catering for the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and in the ways in which topics, problems or issues are presented in the classroom. An understanding of pedagogy related to specific content knowledge in science, and how this might be interpreted to meet the needs of particular pupils, provides a sound base for effective teaching in these areas.

While the overall focus of this course will be on the topics associated with the Physical Sciences, and the Earth and Space Sciences, the approach taken in the design of this course is to treat content and pedagogy together. It will expose the students to various pedagogical practices as a background to developing the content for investigating energy, physical change, Earth and beyond.


The aim of the course is to develop students' understanding of content in science, in parallel with their awareness of ways of transforming this understanding of the content for the learners in their context. Students will have the opportunity to examine their own misconceptions, and to understand how such misconceptions might be avoided. Problem-solving skills will be advocated together with an approach to science that incorporates honesty, open-mindedness and scientific literacy. Content will include:
1.Selected topics from the science curriculum (Physical Sciences, and Earth and Space Sciences)
2.Application of the notion of pedagogical content knowledge to the topics encountered in #1, and the development of suitability transformed content which would be accessible to learners in the appropriate age groups.
NOTE: Minimum enrolment numbers apply to this offering. Should enrolments not reach the minimum number required for on-campus study, students may be transferred to the ONLINE offering and advised of this change before semester commences.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. The assessment item(s) that may be used to assess student achievement of an objective are shown in parenthesis. On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the science curriculum (assignment 1 & 2)
  2. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the practices and dispositions of science appropriate to the curriculum (assignment 1 & 2)
  3. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how students think and learn about science (assignment 1 & 2)
  4. identify strategies for transforming specific content so that it would be accessible to students (assignment 1 & 2)
  5. identify a range of misconceptions and develop strategies for avoiding these in subsequent teaching (assignment 1 & 2)
  6. demonstrate an ability to establish student understanding of science concepts and to identify and deliver appropriate strategies to address these concepts (assignment 1 & 2)
  7. demonstrate awareness of potential applications of information and communications technologies for science teaching (assignment 1 & 2)
  8. demonstrate an understanding of the principles of risk management in teaching science safely and effectively (assignment 1 & 2)
  9. demonstrate a recognition of the social and ethical dimensions of science education (assignment 1 & 2)
  10. demonstrate competence in written language and scholarly writing including correct spelling, grammar, and bibliographic referencing (all assignments)


Description Weighting(%)
1. Science content from the strands: Science understanding; Science inquiry skills; Science as a human endeavour 50.00
2. Theoretical foundations of science education: historical perspective; nature of science; philosophy of science; developmental and constructivist approaches 15.00
3. Pedagogical content knowledge: transformation of content for the Physical Sciences, and Earth and Space Sciences 15.00
4. Interpreting science curriculum 5.00
5. Selecting and creating resources for science education 10.00
6. Responsible science education: safety, social and ethical dimensions 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Skamp, K (2012), Teaching Primary Science Constructively, 4th edn, Cengage Learning, South Melbourne.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 80.00
Independent Study 80.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 50 50 01 Apr 2013
ASSIGNMENT 2 50 50 27 May 2013

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and have Internet access to UConnect for this course.