B.A. in Physics Areas of Study

The content of the WGU Bachelor of Arts in Science (5–12, Physics) derives from research on effective instruction as well as national and state standards. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable teachers to perform effectively in diverse classrooms. The B.A. in Science (5–12 Physics) 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) scientifically based pedagogical course preparation, and (c) clinical field experiences in which teacher candidates are supervised by trained coaches.

Teacher Education Foundations

Foundational Perspectives in Education
Students will learn the historical, legal, and philosophical foundations of education while reflecting on educational issues impacting today’s educators.

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
Students will learn how to make appropriate data-driven instructional decisions by exploring key concepts relevant to the administration, scoring, and interpretation of classroom assessments.

General Education

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.

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. Students apply scientific concepts in 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.

Calculus I
If you are in the middle school program, the skills that will be acquired will help you to better understand function behavior within a variety of real-world applications. If you are in the secondary program, the skills that will be acquired will prepare you for Calculus II, Calculus III, and other advanced topics in mathematics. Thus, it is essential that you master these concepts prior to moving forward.

Literature, Arts, and the Humanities
These courses focus on content, concepts, terminology, methodology, models, and issues within and across the disciplines of the humanities.

U.S. Government and Constitution
This course includes major themes in world history and United States history; basic economic concepts; and the nature and development of American government.

General Education Social Sciences
These courses includes topics in social science theory and method; human development and behavior; modern economic, social, and political institutions; and geography and human cultures.

Mathematics Content

Pre-calculus

Calculus I
If you are in the middle school program, the skills that will be acquired will help you to better understand function behavior within a variety of real-world applications. If you are in the secondary program, the skills that will be acquired will prepare you for Calculus II, Calculus III, and other advanced topics in mathematics. Thus, it is essential that you master these concepts prior to moving forward.

Calculus II
In Calculus II you will study another important problem that led to the development of calculus: finding the area under a curve. You will study this problem and other applications of integration as you progress through this course. As you do, keep in mind that calculus is not only a theoretical branch of mathematics; calculus is used by scientists, engineers, and economists and has numerous applications to daily life.

General Science Content

General Chemistry 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
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.

Physics Content (Grades 5-12)

Mechanics
This course introduces foundational concepts of mechanics, including motion, gravitation, work and energy, momentum and collisions, rotational motion, static equilibrium, fluids, and oscillation.

Waves and Optics
Physics: Waves and Optics addresses foundational topics in the physics of waves and optics. Students will study basic wave motion and then apply that knowledge to the study of sound and light with even further applications to optical instruments. They will also learn about thermodynamics and theories governing the physics of gases.

Electricity and Magnetism
This course addresses principles related to the physics of electricity and magnetism. Students will study electric and magnetic forces and then apply that knowledge to the study of circuits with resistors and electromagnetic induction and waves, focusing on such topics as: Electric charge and electric field, electric currents and resistance, magnetism, electromagnetic induction and Faraday's law, and Maxwell's equation and electromagnetic waves.

Modern Physics
This course provides a broad overview of foundational concepts of modern physics such as relativity and quantum theories and their applications, including atomic physics, nuclear physics, solid-state physics, and particle physics. Students will also cover the application of modern physics to cosmology.

Physics: Content Knowledge
Physics: Content Knowledge covers the advanced content knowledge that a secondary physics teacher is expected to know and understand. Topics include mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics and waves, heat and thermodynamics, modern physics, atomic and nuclear structure, the history and nature of science, science technology, and social perspectives.

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.

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
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.

Instructional Planning and Presentation for 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.