M.A. Science Education (Middle Grades) Areas of Study

WGU Master of Arts in Science Education (Middle Grades)

The Master of Arts Science Education (Middle Grades) is a competency-based degree program that prepares already licensed teachers for an endorsement in middle-level general science and provides the opportunity to develop skills in science curriculum development, design, and evaluation. All work in this degree program is online and includes General Science Content, Biology Content, Geosciences Content, and Science Education courses. All students complete a culminating Teacher Performance Assessment.

Science

Concepts in Science
Concepts in Science for graduates provides already-licensed teachers seeking an additional license or endorsement in science education with an introduction to essential science themes present within and across all science disciplines, including chemistry, physics, biology, and the geosciences. These themes include comprehending the magnitude of the physical and natural world, analyzing and converting measurements, understanding the basic nature and behavior of matter and energy, examining atomic structure, identifying and naming basic types of chemical bonds, and analyzing and interpreting scientific data. Concepts in Science provides a solid foundation for future, in-depth, scientific studies and should be taken prior to any other science content course. There are no prerequisites for this course.

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.

General Physics
This course provides a broad overview of the principles of mechanics, thermodynamics, wave motion, modern physics, and electricity and magnetism and invites students to apply them by solving problems, performing labs, and reflecting on concepts and ideas.

Ecology and Environmental Science
Ecology and Environmental Science is an introductory course for graduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement and/or to earn their MA degree in secondary or middle grade science education. 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.

Middle School Science: Content Knowledge
This course covers the content knowledge that a middle-level science teacher is expected to know and understand. Topics include scientific methodologies, history of science, basic science principles, physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences, and the role of science and technology and their impact on society.

General Education

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.

Chemistry Content

Chemistry with Lab
Chemistry with Lab for graduates provides already licensed teachers seeking an additional license or endorsement in middle grades science or secondary physics, biological science, or earth science with an introduction to the field of chemistry, the branch of science that studies the composition, structure, properties, and behavior of matter. Designed for those not majoring in chemistry education, this course highlights how the topics covered can be applied within various branches of science. This course provides students with opportunities to examine the electronic structure of atoms, study periodic trends, name chemical compounds, write chemical formulas, determine the structure of molecules, balance chemical reactions, and discover the changing states of matter. Laboratory experiences facilitate the study of matter and the application of laboratory safety and maintenance procedures. Concepts in Science for graduates is a prerequisite for this course.

Biology Content

Heredity and Genetics
Heredity and Genetics is an introductory course for graduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement and/or to earn their MA degree in secondary or middle grade science education. 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.

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—Middle Grades General Science
Science Methods—Middle Grades General Science focuses on teaching methods specific to science for graduate students seeking an endorsement in middle school science. Course content focuses on the design and teaching of standards-based lessons using the three dimensions of science (science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas) and the appropriate integration of technology into those lessons. Students in this course work within their content areas to evaluate, enhance, and plan appropriate science instruction. This course includes laboratory safety training and certification, which includes safe laboratory practices and procedures for science classrooms and the proper use of personal protective equipment. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Geosciences Content

Astronomy
Astronomy provides graduate students seeking initial licensure or endorsement and/or to earn their MA degree in secondary or middle grade science education with essential knowledge of astronomy and explores Western history and basic physics of astronomy; phases of the moon and seasons; composition and properties of solar system bodies; stellar evolution and remnants; properties and scale of objects and distances within the universe; and introductory cosmology. A prerequisite for this course is General Physics.

Earth: Inside and Out
Earth: Inside and Out explores the ways in which our dynamic planet evolved, and the processes and systems that continue to shape it. Though the geologic record is incredibly ancient, it has only been studied intensely since the end of the nineteenth century. Since then, research in fields such as geologic time, plate tectonics, climate change, exploration of the deep sea floor, and the inner earth have vastly increased our understanding of geological processes. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Education

Teaching in the Middle School
Teaching in the Middle School examines the guiding principles and best teaching practices for educating middle school students. The course explores the history of the middle school, the philosophy, theory, and rationale behind middle school organization; and the differences between elementary, middle, and secondary schools. The course also examines the unique needs of middle school students and teaching methods used to meet the needs of these learners. This course has no prerequisites.

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