B.A. in Biological Science Areas of Study

WGU Bachelor of Arts in Science (5–12, Biological Science)

The Bachelor of Arts in Science (5-12, Biological Sciences) is a competency-based degree program that prepares students to be licensed as biology teachers in grades 5-12. All work in this degree program is online with the exception of the Demonstration Teaching and in-classroom field experience components. The program consists of work in General Education, Foundations of Teaching, General Science Content, Mathematics Content, Biology Content, Pedagogy, Science Education, Field Experience, and Demonstration Teaching.

Foundations of Teaching

Foundational Perspectives of Education
This course provides an introduction to the historical, legal, and philosophical foundations of education. Current educational trends, reform movements, major federal and state laws, legal and ethical responsibilities, and an overview of standards-based curriculum are the focus of the course. The course of study presents a discussion of changes and challenges in contemporary education. It covers the diversity found in American schools, introduces emerging educational technology trends, and provides an overview of contemporary topics in education.

Psychology for Educators
This course prepares candidates to meet the expectations of society and prepares future educators to support classroom practice with research-validated concepts. The course helps future educators to create a framework for refining teaching skills that are focused on the learner, through engaged inquiry of integrating theory, critical issues in psychology, classroom applications with diverse populations, assessment, educational technology, and reflective teaching.

Fundamentals of Diversity, Inclusion, and Exceptional Learners
Students will learn the history of inclusion and develop practical strategies for modifying instruction, in accordance with legal expectations, to meet the needs of a diverse population of learners. This population includes learners with disabilities, gifted and talented learners, culturally diverse learners, and English language learners.

Classroom Management, Engagement, and Motivation
Students will learn the foundations for effective classroom management as well as strategies for creating a safe, positive learning environment for all learners. Students will be introduced to systems that promote student self-awareness, selfmanagement, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. In this course, students will engage practical application via 10 hours of video classroom observations. Students will reflect on how teachers use rules/procedures to maximize student learning and on what makes a highly effective classroom environment. As part of a culminating experience in this course, students will, through the video observation reflections, describe their current teaching philosophy related to classroom environment and management.

Educational Assessment
Educational Assessment assists students in making appropriate data-driven instructional decisions by exploring key concepts relevant to the administration, scoring, and interpretation of classroom assessments. Topics include ethical assessment practices, designing assessments, aligning assessments, and utilizing technology for assessment.

General Education

Intermediate Algebra
This course provides an introduction of algebraic concepts and the development of the essential groundwork for College Algebra. Topics include: A review of basic mathematical skills, the real number system, algebraic expressions, linear equations, graphing, exponents and polynomials.

English Composition I
English Composition I introduces learners to the types of writing and thinking that are valued in college and beyond. Students will practice writing in several genres with emphasis placed on writing and revising academic arguments. Instruction and exercises in grammar, mechanics, research documentation, and style are paired with each module so that writers can practice these skills as necessary. Comp I is a foundational course designed to help students prepare for success at the college level. There are no prerequisites for English Composition I.

College Algebra
This course provides further application and analysis of algebraic concepts and functions through mathematical modeling of real-world situations. Topics include: real numbers, algebraic expressions, equations and inequalities, graphs and functions, polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, and systems of linear equations.

English Composition II
English Composition II introduces undergraduate students to research writing. It is a foundational course designed to help students prepare for advanced writing within the discipline and to complete the capstone. Specifically, this course will help students develop or improve research, reference citation, document organization, and writing skills. English Composition I or equivalent is a prerequisite for this course.

Introduction to Communication
This introductory communication course allows students to become familiar with the fundamental communication theories and practices necessary to engage in healthy professional and personal relationships. Students will survey human communication on multiple levels and critically apply the theoretical grounding of the course to interpersonal, intercultural, small group, and public presentational contexts. The course also encourages students to consider the influence of language, perception, culture, and media on their daily communicative interactions. In addition to theory, students will engage in the application of effective communication skills through systematically preparing and delivering an oral presentation. By practicing these fundamental skills in human communication, students become more competent communicators as they develop more flexible, useful, and discriminatory communicative practices in a variety of contexts.

Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan
This course introduces students to human development across the lifespan. This will include an introductory survey of cognitive, psychological, and physical growth. Students will gain an understanding in regards to the emergence of personality, identity, gender and sexuality, social relationships, emotion, language, and moral development through life. This will include milestones such as education, achievement, work, dying, and death.

Survey of United States History
This course presents a broad and thematic survey of U.S. history from European colonization to the mid-twentieth century. Students will explore how historical events and major themes in American history have affected a diverse population.

Introduction to Humanities
This introductory humanities course allows students to practice essential writing, communication, and critical thinking skills necessary to engage in civic and professional interactions as mature, informed adults. Whether through studying literature, visual and performing arts, or philosophy, all humanities courses stress the need to form reasoned, analytical, and articulate responses to cultural and creative works. Studying a wide variety of creative works allows students to more effectively enter the global community with a broad and enlightened perspective.

General Science Content

Integrated Physical Sciences
This course provides students with an overview of the basic principles and unifying ideas of the physical sciences: physics, chemistry, and Earth sciences. Course materials focus on scientific reasoning and practical and everyday applications of physical science concepts to help students integrate conceptual knowledge with practical skills.

Natural Science Lab
This course gives you an introduction to using the scientific method and engaging in scientific research to reach conclusions about the natural world. You will design and carry out an experiment to investigate a hypothesis by gathering quantitative data.

Introduction to Biology
This course is a foundational introduction to the biological sciences. The overarching theories of life from biological research are explored as well as the fundamental concepts and principles of the study of living organisms and their interaction with the environment. Key concepts include how living organisms use and produce energy; how life grows, develops, and reproduces; how life responds to the environment to maintain internal stability; and how life evolves and adapts to the environment.

General Chemistry I
Chemistry is the study of matter. Everything you see and many of the things you don’t see are made up of atoms. By understanding these atoms and their interactions, chemists have been able to cure disease, travel to the moon, and feed a growing world. By understanding chemistry, you will find your own world expanded. You will find boiling water interesting and the back of the shampoo bottle fascinating. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has published principles and standards that address important chemistry topics that should be covered through the K-12 curriculum. Many states have followed the NSTA’s lead and are increasingly requiring that these concepts be taught to the students throughout the course of their science education. A firm grasp of the concepts covered in this course will allow you to confidently teach this material when you enter the classroom.

General Chemistry Laboratory I
In this course students will attain a solid understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts and a reasonable ability to solve chemical problems. Topics include measurement, elements and compounds, properties of matter and energy, the periodic table and chemical nomenclature, quantities in chemistry, chemical reactions, the modern atomic theory, and the chemical bond. Laboratory work focuses on using effective laboratory techniques to examine the physical and chemical characteristics of matter.

Zoology
Zoology provides students seeking licensure or endorsement in biology, grades 5-12, with an introduction to the field of zoology. Zoology includes the study of major animal phyla emphasizing characteristics, variations in anatomy, life cycles, adaptations, and relationships among the animal kingdom. Prerequisite: Introduction to Biology.

Ecology and Environmental Science
Ecology and Environmental Science is an introductory course for undergraduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement in science education for grades 5–12. The course explores the relationships between organisms and their environment, including population ecology, communities, adaptations, distributions, interactions, and the environmental factors controlling these relationships. This course has no prerequisites.

Health Sciences

Human Anatomy and Physiology
This course examines the structures and functions of the human body and covers anatomical terminology, cells and tissues, and organ systems. Students will use a dissection lab to study the healthy state of the organ systems of the human body, including the digestive, skeletal, sensory, respiratory, reproductive, nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, lymphatic, integumentary, endocrine, and renal systems. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Mathematics Content

Probability and Statistics I
Probability and Statistics I covers the knowledge and skills necessary to apply basic probability, descriptive statistics, and statistical reasoning, and to use appropriate technology to model and solve real-life problems. It provides an introduction to the science of collecting, processing, analyzing, and interpreting data. Topics include creating and interpreting numerical summaries and visual displays of data; regression lines and correlation; evaluating sampling methods and their effect on possible conclusions; designing observational studies, controlled experiments, and surveys; and determining probabilities using simulations, diagrams, and probability rules. College Algebra is a prerequisite for this course.

Biology Content

Molecular and Cellular Biology
Molecular and Cellular Biology provides students seeking licensure or endorsement in biology, grades 5-12, with an introduction to the area of molecular and cellular biology. Molecular and Cellular Biology examines the cell as an organism emphasizing molecular basis of cell structure and functions of biological macromolecules, subcellular organelles, intracellular transport, cell division, and biological reactions. Prerequisite: Introduction to Biology.

Heredity and Genetics
Heredity and Genetics is an introductory course for undergraduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement in biology education for grades 5–12. This course addresses the basic principles of heredity and the function of molecular genetics. Topics include Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance and population genetics. This course has no prerequisites.

Evolution
Students will learn why evolution is the fundamental concept that underlies all life sciences and how it contributes to advances in medicine, public health and conservation. Course participants will gain a firm understanding of the basic mechanisms of evolution including the process of speciation --- and how these systems have given rise to the great diversity of life in the world today. They will also explore how new ideas, discoveries and technologies are modifying prior evolutionary concepts. Ultimately, the course will explain how evolution works and how we know what we know.

Biology: Content Knowledge
This comprehensive course examines a student’s conceptual understanding of a broad range of biology topics. High school biology teachers must help students make connections between isolated topics. For example, when studying hormones created by endocrine glands traveling through the circulatory system to maintain homeostasis, a student is connecting many biology topics. This course starts with macromolecules that make up cellular components and continues with understanding the many cellular processes that allow life to exist. Connections are then made between genetics and evolution. Classification of organisms leads into plant and animal development that study the organ systems and their role in maintaining homeostasis. The course finishes by studying ecology and how humans affect the environment.

Science Education

Science, Technology, and Society
Science, Technology, and Society explores the ways in which science influences and is influenced by society and technology. A humanistic and social endeavor, science serves the needs of ever-changing societies by providing methods for observing, questioning, discovering, and communicating information about the physical and natural world. This course prepares educators to explain the nature and history of science, the various applications of science, and the scientific and engineering processes used to conduct investigations, make decisions, and solve problems. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Science Methods
Science Methods provides undergraduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement in the sciences for grades 5-12 with an introduction to science teaching methods and laboratory safety training. Course content focuses on designing and teaching with the three dimensions of science: disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices. Laboratory safety training and certification will include the proper use of personal protective equipment and safe laboratory practices and procedures in science classrooms. This course has no prerequisites.

Pedagogy

Introduction to Instructional Planning and Presentation
Students will develop a basic understanding of effective instructional principles and how to differentiate instruction in order to elicit powerful teaching in the classroom.

Secondary Reading Instruction and Interventions
Secondary Reading Instruction and Intervention explores the comprehensive, student-centered Response to Intervention (RTI) assessment and intervention model used to identify and address the needs of learners in grades 5–12 who struggle with reading comprehension and/or information retention. Course content provides educators with effective strategies designed to scaffold instruction and help learners develop increased skill in the following areas: reading, vocabulary, text structures and genres, and logical reasoning related to the academic disciplines. This course has no prerequisites.

Instructional Planning and Presentation in Science
Students will continue to build instructional planning skills with a focus on selecting appropriate materials for diverse learners, selecting age- and ability- appropriate strategies for the content areas, promoting critical thinking, and establishing both short- and long- term goals.

Secondary Disciplinary Literacy
Secondary Disciplinary Literacy examines teaching strategies designed to help learners in grades 5-12 improve upon the literacy skills required to read, write, and think critically while engaging content in different academic disciplines. Themes include exploring how language structures, text features, vocabulary, and context influence reading comprehension across the curriculum. Course content highlights strategies and tools designed to help teachers assess the reading comprehension and writing proficiency of learners and provides strategies to support students' reading and writing success in all curriculum areas. This course has no prerequisites.

Field Experience

Preclinical Experiences in Science
Preclinical Experiences in Science provides students the opportunity to observe and participate in a wide range of inclassroom teaching experiences in order to develop the skills and confidence necessary to be an effective teacher. Students will reflect on and document at least 75 hours of in-classroom observations. Prior to entering the classroom for the observations, students will be required to meet several requirements including a cleared background check, passing scores on the state or WGU required basic skills exam and a completed resume.

Demonstration Teaching

Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Science
Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Science involves a series of classroom performance observations by the host teacher and clinical supervisor that develop comprehensive performance data about the teacher candidate’s skills.

Teacher Performance Assessment in Science
The Teacher Performance Assessment is a culmination of the wide variety of skills learned during your time in the Teachers College at WGU. In order to be a competent and independent classroom teacher, you will showcase a collection of your content, planning, instructional, and reflective skills in this professional assessment.

Professional Portfolio
You will create an online teaching portfolio that includes professional artifacts (e.g. resume and Philosophy of Teaching Statement) that demonstrate the skills you have acquired throughout your Demonstration Teaching experience.

Cohort Seminar
Cohort Seminar provides mentoring and supports teacher candidates during their demonstration teaching period by providing weekly collaboration and instruction related to the demonstration teaching experience. It facilitates their demonstration of competence in becoming reflective practitioners, adhering to ethical standards, practicing inclusion in a diverse classroom, exploring community resources, building collegial and collaborative relationships with teachers, and considering leadership and supervisory skills.

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