M.A. in Geosciences Areas of Study

WGU Master of Arts in Science Education (5–12, Geosciences)

The WGU Master of Arts in Science Education (5–12, Geosciences) program content is based on research on effective instruction as well as national and state standards. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable teachers to teach effectively in diverse classrooms. The M.A. in Science Education (5–12, Geosciences) program content and training processes are consistent with the accountability intent of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The degree program is focused on the preparation of highly qualified teachers. As described in the federal legislation, a highly qualified teacher is one who not only possesses full state certification, but also has solid content knowledge of the subject(s) he or she teaches. The hallmarks of our program include: (a) appropriate and rigorous subject-matter preparation, (b) research-based pedagogical course preparation, and (c) clinical field experiences in which teacher candidates are supervised by trained coaches.

General Science Content

Integrated Natural Sciences
Integrated Natural Sciences covers the subject area of natural sciences, including the use of the scientific method to derive conclusions based on research. Topics covered include astronomy, geology, environmental science and ecosystems, and organisms.

General Chemistry I and Lab
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.

General Chemistry II and Lab
In this course students will attain a solid understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts and a reasonable ability to solve chemical problems. Topics include the gaseous state, the solid and liquid states, aqueous solutions, acid-base models, oxidation-reduction reactions, reaction rates and equilibrium, nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Laboratory work focuses on using effective laboratory techniques to analyze chemical processes in real-world contexts.

Earth and Space Science
This course provides a broad overview of the basic concepts in astronomy, geology, meteorology, and oceanography.

Mathematics Content

Pre-calculus
Pre-Calculus covers the knowledge and skills necessary to apply trigonometry, complex numbers, systems of equations, vectors and matrices, sequence and series, and to use appropriate technology to model and solve real-life problems. Topics include degrees; radians and arcs; reference angles and right triangle trigonometry; applying, graphing and transforming trigonometric functions and their inverses; solving trigonometric equations; using and proving trigonometric identities; geometric, rectangular, and polar approaches to complex numbers; DeMoivre's Theorem; systems of linear equations and matrix-vector equations; systems of nonlinear equations; systems of inequalities; and arithmetic and geometric sequences and series. Candidates should have completed a course in College Algebra before engaging in this course.

Science Education

Science, Technology, and Society
This course engages students in the study of the nature, processes, and applications of science and technology and arms them with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand explain important science concepts. The course addresses the historical evolution of scientific ideas, scientific inquiry, as well as how science is used to inform decision making on current issues.

Science Teaching and Learning
This course focuses on how to teach science and on preparing preservice science educators to teach science in a way that is accurate, current and engaging. Topics include models for teaching science through inquiry, evaluation of alignment to standards, effective use of learning communities, formative assessment strategies, and safety responsibilities.

Geosciences Content (Grades 5-12)

The Ocean Systems
In this course, learners investigate the complex ocean system by looking at the way its components—atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere—interact. Specific topics include: origins of Earth’s oceans and the early history of life; physical characteristics and geologic processes of the ocean floor; chemistry of the water molecule; energy flow between air and water, and how ocean surface currents and deep circulation patterns affect weather and climate; marine biology and why ecosystems are an integral part of the ocean system; the effects of human activity; and the role of professional educators in teaching about ocean systems.

Advanced Geosciences
Advanced Geosciences explores the formation and evolution of the solar system and the universe. Focusing on the Earth’s systems and subsystems, students analyze how the Earth’s atmosphere has evolved as a result of biological and geological processes. This course also examines contributions made by astronomers that validate theories and facts about the solar system and the universe. Course Prerequisite: Earth & Space Science.

Earth Science: Content Knowledge
This course covers the advanced content knowledge that a secondary Earth Science teachers is expected to know and understand. Topics include basic scientific principles of Earth and Space Sciences, tectonics and internal Earth processes, Earth materials and surface processes, history of the Earth and its Life-Forms, Earth's atmosphere and hydrosphhere, and astronomy.

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