GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 46-5
Presentation Time: 2:50 PM


METLAY, Suzanne T. and SIMS, Rachel, Teachers College, Western Governors University, 4001 South 700 East, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, UT 84107,

Secondary science teacher education programs at Western Governors University significantly redeveloped recently to incorporate more three-dimensional learning and to deepen student disciplinary content knowledge. Each undergraduate and graduate degree program benefitted from more science pedagogy based on the National Research Council’s A Framework of K-12 Science Education, edTPA, and other assessment criteria, such as CAEP standards.

WGU is unique in educating students from all 50 states + DC, each with their own teacher licensure criteria. Adapting to varying state licensure requirements is increasingly challenging. WGU requires disciplinary Praxis exams for all licensure programs regardless of home state.

Three-dimensional science learning centers on integrating science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas in planning and teaching science to maximize student engagement and learning outcomes. Focusing lesson plans on integration of core scientific concepts using commonalities that cut across all scientific disciplines, and encouraging practice with and active participation in scientific and engineering methods, allows teacher candidates and their students to gain deeper understanding of scientific knowledge.

WGU augmented foundations in math & physics for secondary science teacher preparation programs. In Geosciences Education, 3 science pedagogy courses and 4 new content courses added to existing courses such as Ocean Systems, which is an American Museum of Natural History Seminar on Science. WGU and ANMH partner to provide online students with opportunities for rich content discussion with other preservice and in-service teachers across the United States. For initial licensure students, this provides practice with science lesson planning and implementation.

Students enrolled in Middle School Science programs take Science Methods and, for the first time, three geosciences content courses including the AMNH Seminar, Earth: Inside and Out. This dramatically strengthens the geosciences content knowledge of teacher candidates in the middle grades, which for many school districts is the only grade band where students currently learn Earth & space sciences content.

Student data from Sept-Dec 2017 (if presented) will be preliminary and unofficial.

  • Metlay-Sims_WGUGeosciencePedagogy_GSA-SessionT128_22Oct17_FINAL.pptx (2.6 MB)