B.A. in Geosciences Areas of Study

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

The Bachelor of Arts in Science (5-12, Geosciences) is a competency-based degree program that prepares students to be licensed as earth and space science 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, Instructional Planning and Presentation, General Science Content, Science Education, Instructional Planning and Presentation, Pre-Clinical Experiences and Demonstration Teaching.

Teacher Education Foundations

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.

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

Foundations of College Mathematics
Foundations of College Mathematics addresses the sequence of learning activities necessary to build competence in foundational concepts of College Mathematics, which include whole numbers, fractions, decimals, ratios, proportions and percents, geometry, statistics, the real number system, equations, inequalities, applications, and graphs of linear equations.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 role in the policy-making process, and the ways in which the Constitution and government has changed over time.

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

Pre-calculus
Pre-Calculus covers the knowledge and skills necessary to apply trigonometry, complex numbers, systems of equations, vectors and matrices, and 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, 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.

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.

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

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 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 hydrosphere, and astronomy.

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
Introduction to Pre-Clinical Experiences engages students seeking a bachelor’s degree and initial teacher licensure in utilizing video observations to reflect on ways they will interact with students and manage their classrooms. Concepts include Classroom Environment and Management, Instructional Models and Strategies, Emotional Climate and Teacher Responsiveness, Standards and School Law, and Teaching Diverse and Exceptional Learners. The course also guides students through the Field Experience and Demonstration Teaching application processes. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Preclinical Experiences in Science
Students will observe and participate in a wide range of in-classroom 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 Work Sample in Science
The Teacher Work Sample in Science 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
The 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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