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Unit information: Physics Education 333 in 2015/16

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Unit name Physics Education 333
Unit code PHYS39332
Credit points 30
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Seddon
Open unit status Not open

120 credit points at Level 5 of single honours Physics or joint honours Physics programmes.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit provides an opportunity for final year BSc students to gain experience of physics education through a teaching and mentoring scheme with science teachers in local schools. Each student will work for half a day each week from weeks 1 to 20. The class could be from key stage 2 to sixth form/year 13. Students will be selected for their commitment and suitability for working in schools. They will be given a range of responsibilities including assisting in classrooms and self-originated special projects. Students will undertake: an induction and skills training workshop; placement in a school; an initial visit to negotiate details of tutoring with teacher; a special project; ongoing collection of evidence and reviewing of experiences; summative reporting. In addition to providing a valuable learning experience, the scheme will put vital role models into schools and encourage students to consider careers in physics education.


To help the student gain confidence in communicating their subject and develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills that will be of benefit to them in employment and in life. To enable the student to understand how to address the needs of individual pupils and devise and develop science projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the relevant age group they are working with. To allow the student to act as an enthusiastic role-model for pupils interested in science and to offer them a positive experience of working with pupils and teachers.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, the student will have gained substantial experience of working in a challenging and unpredictable working environment. They will also have gained a broad understanding of many of the key aspects of teaching science in schools. The specific and transferable skills they will have attained include:

  • Understanding the needs of individuals.
  • Interpersonal skills when dealing with colleagues.
  • Staff responsibilities and conduct.
  • Standard teaching methods.
  • Preparation of lesson plans and teaching materials.
  • Handling difficult and potentially disruptive situations.
  • Public speaking and communication skills.

They will have gained experience of answering questions about Physics and will be able to assess and devise appropriate ways to communicate a difficult principle or concept. The student will develop their communication skills, both in a one-to-one situation and when speaking to an audience. The student will be able to use these skills to address some of the problems specific to science education such as the need to breakdown stereotypes of science and scientists that pupils may have.

Teaching Information

There are no formal lectures associated with this course.

An initial one day of training will provide the student with an introduction to working with children and the level of science teaching they will be participating in. A competitive interview system will be used to match students with appropriate schools and a specific teacher in the local area. The matching with schools will be jointly arranged with UAS. The teacher will then act as a mentor and assessor to the student during the course. The teacher will offer guidance to the student during their weekly interaction, and through feedback and liaison with a Departmental tutor will individually determine the level of responsibility and pupil interaction to be expected of the student.

Assessment Information

Student's end of unit report and portfolio of work (30%); teacher's end of course report (40%); a 20 minute presentation on their special project and the materials used (30%) The student will be assessed on their ability to demonstrate that they have achieved the learning objectives through a formative logbook (continuous assessment), a 4000-5000 word report at the end of the module, assessment from the supervising teacher, and an oral presentation. The overall outcomes will be moderated by a departmental panel and the Boards of Examiners to ensure equivalence of assessment across placements and with departmental based dissertations.

Reading and References

  • National Science Curriculum Syllabus
  • Other material specific to individual subjects as advised by teacher.
  • Extensive Undergraduate Ambassador Scheme (UAS) supporting Material.