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 Science) 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, Teacher Education Foundations and Diversity, General Science and Advanced Biology Content, Science Education, Pre-Clinical Experiences and Demonstration Teaching.

Teacher Education Foundations

Foundational Perspectives in 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.

Fundamentals of Educational Psychology
Students will learn the major theories of typical and atypical physical, social, cognitive, and moral development of children and adolescents. Information processing, brain research, memory, and metacognition will also be covered.

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, self-management, self-efficacy, and self-esteem.

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
This course introduces learners to the types of writing and thinking that is valued in college and beyond. Students will practice writing in several genres and several media, with emphasis placed on writing and revising academic arguments. The course contains supporting media, articles, and excerpts to support a focus on one of five disciplinary threads (covering the topics of nursing, business, information technology, teaching, and literature, art, and culture) designed to engage students and welcome them into discussion about contemporary issues. The course supports peer review activities, though it may be completed asynchronously as well. Instruction and exercises in grammar, mechanics, research documentation, and style are paired with each module so that writers can practice these skills as necessary. This course includes full access to the MindEdge Writing Pad to support student writing and coaching sessions.

English Composition II
English Composition II introduces learners to research writing and thinking that are valued in college and beyond. The Composition II course at WGU should be seen as a foundational course designed to help undergraduate students build fundamental skills for ongoing development in writing and research. Students will complete an academic research paper.

College Algebra
This course supports the assessment for College Algebra with Hawkes Learning. College Algebra provides a detailed exploration into basic algebraic concepts and functions and their use in describing, interpreting, and modeling real-world situations.

Elements of Effective Communication
Elements of Effective Communication introduces learners to elements of communication that are valued in college and beyond. Materials are based on five principles: being aware of your communication with yourself and others; using and interpreting verbal messages effectively; using and interpreting nonverbal messages effectively; listening and responding thoughtfully to others, and adapting messages to others appropriately.

Integrated Natural Sciences
Integrated Natural Sciences explores the natural world through an integrated perspective and helps students begin to see and draw numerous connections among events in the natural world. Topics include the universe, the Earth, ecosystems and organisms.

Integrated Natural Science Applications
Integrated Natural Sciences Applications explores the natural world through an integrated perspective and helps students apply scientific concepts and methodologies to the examination of natural science fundamentals.

Critical Thinking and Logic
Reasoning and Problem Solving helps students internalize a systematic process for exploring issues that takes them beyond an unexamined point of view and encourages them to become more self-aware thinkers by applying principles of problem identification and clarification, planning and information gathering, identifying assumptions and values, analysis and interpretation of information and data, reaching well-founded conclusions, and identifying the role of critical thinking in the disciplines and professions.

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.

Survey of United States Constitution and Government
In Survey of United States Constitution and Government, you will examine the structure, institutions and principles of the American political system. The foundation of the United States government is the U.S. Constitution, and this course will introduce the concepts of (a) separation of powers, (b) checks and balances, (c) civil liberties and civil rights, and (d) federalism and republicanism.

By completing this course, you will have proven competency in the structures of government, your own

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.

Mathematics Content

Probability and Statistics I
This course is designed to provide you with a broad overview of the field of probability and statistics, and a fundamental understanding of statistical reasoning.

General Science Content

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.

General Chemistry II
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 II
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.

Principles of Biology
This course provides a broad overview of cellular biology, evolution, organisms, and ecology and will also help you become a better science teacher in the classroom.

Science Education

Science, Technology, and Society
This course engages future educators in the study of the nature, processes, and applications of science and technology. This model can be applied to effectively guide your future students to use inquiry to solve open-ended problems and use science to make well-informed decisions.

Science is both a body of knowledge and a process for growing that knowledge. Science evolves and refines its models of physical reality and scientific phenomena under a set of guidelines and rules of testable scientific theories. Understanding the rules and limitations of science is a necessary ingredient when teaching science, especially in its application to technology.

This course for current and prospective science teachers arms you with the knowledge and skills to explain important aspects of science and their application and use in technology. You will study the historical evolution of scientific inquiry as well as how science is being used to inform decision making on current issues.

Science Teaching and Learning
Science is a body of knowledge about our natural world and the processes by which we grow that knowledge. 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. This happens when a proficient teacher prepares lessons that address key goals and objectives, when students’ prior learning and current interests are tapped, and when new learning is put to work resolving meaningful issues and challenges. It is expected that as a result of completing this course you will have the skills to teach so that you and your students will enjoy your learning time together.

Biology Content (Grades 5-12)

Advanced Biology
This course includes the study of four main topics of biological science, including cellular biology, heredity, interdependence of life, and ecology.

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 course provides instruction in the main areas of biological science for which secondary biology teachers are expected to demonstrate competency. Topics include basic principles of science, molecular and cellular biology, classical genetics and evolution, diversity of life, and ecology.

Teacher Education Diversity

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.

Preclinical Experiences

Introduction to Preclinical Experiences
Students will utilize video observations to reflect on a wide range of educational considerations so that they can develop the tools necessary to be prepared in the classroom. Students will document at least 40 hours of video observation.

Preclinical Experiences in Science
Pre-Clinical 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 60 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, a completed resume, philosophy of teaching, and professional photo.

Instructional Planning and Presentation

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.

Effective Teaching Practices

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.

Demonstration Teaching

Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Science
The Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Science courses involve 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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