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Teaching Physics and Chemistry

Course Code: MSTE 5120
Faculty: Science & Technology
Credits: 5.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab, Partially Online
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

Selected topics from chemistry, physics and astronomy are explored face-to-face, on-line, in the laboratory and possibly through night observations. Topics are presented with a pedagogical perspective in order to improve experienced teachers’ ability to teach scientific reasoning to an audience of elementary or middle school children.

Course Content

Specific course content will be selected from the following topics:

The scientific method.  Organization of science, describing the physical world, measurements, direct and inverse relationships, graphical analysis, SI system of units, scientific notation.

Kinetics.  Speed and velocity, acceleration, forces and motion, inertia; Newton’s Laws of Motion; friction, momentum, conservation laws, work, kinetic energy, power, simple machines; gravitation, projectile motion, circular motion.

Heat and Thermodynamics.  Heat and temperature, changes of phase, heat transfer, greenhouse effect and consequences for power generation and thermal pollution.

Atoms, elements and compounds.  Early experiments, fundamental particles, isotopes, Bohr model, lasers, compounds and mixtures, states of matter, properties of gases, liquids, solids and liquid crystals. Periodic table, metals and non-metals, types of bonding, equations, ionic compounds, covalent compounds.

Principles and Applications of Chemistry.  Acids and bases, acid rain, air pollution, batteries, soaps and detergents.

Electricity and Magnetism.  Static electricity, Coulomb’s Law, electric fields, electric circuits, resistance, Ohm’s Law, power. Magnetism, magnetic fields, connection between electricity and magnetism, induction, electric motors and generators.

Properties and Nature of Light.  Speed of light, reflection, mirrors, refraction, lenses, telescopes. Nature of light: wave or particle? Diffraction grating, spectral analysis, electromagnetic spectrum, polarized light.

The Nucleus.  Structure of the nucleus, isotopes, radioactivity, radioactive decay, radiometric dating, nuclear fission, fusion, nuclear reactors, environmental issues.

The laboratory component of the course will investigate phenomena discussed in classes. 

Methods of Instruction

The course will be presented using problem sessions, small group activities, practical demonstrations and online activities. When the nature of the experiment permits, laboratory experiments will be integrated with online discussions for analysis of the results. More formal lab sessions will be conducted for those experiments having safety implications. Projects and homework will be assigned to be done individually or in small groups and may require the use of the student computer labs.

Means of Assessment

Specific course evaluation procedures will be provided to participants in the first week of classes.  Such procedures will be consistent with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy and will be formative in nature, consisting of some or all of the following:

Weekly online postings/responses 20-30%
Assignments 20-30%
Presentations 20-30%
Laboratory sessions 20-30%

Learning Outcomes

This course is taught from a pedagogical perspective with the overarching aim of improving experienced teachers’ ability to teach sciences at the elementary and middle school levels.  Students will be able to:

  • Outline how scientific knowledge is acquired, organized and retrieved.
  • Understand the major paradigm shifts of the last two millennia (energy, matter, atomic structure, electromagnetic waves and modern quantum physics).
  • Explain how energy is generated.
  • Discuss relevance of understanding of energy to current environmental issues.
  • Describe and understand the progression of physics and chemistry content through BC K-9 curriculum.
  • Use knowledge of common misconceptions and stumbling blocks in children's learning of physics and chemistry concepts to assess curricular materials and design appropriate lessons and activities.

course prerequisites

Acceptance to program

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.