The U.S. faces a critical shortage of qualified physics and physical science teachers. According to the 2014 AAEE Educator Supply and Demand in the USA report, physics is the subject area with the biggest teacher shortage. Two-thirds of new physics teachers lack a physics degree, and over 90% of middle school physical science students are taught by teachers without a physical science major or certification. In fact, in 2013, the National Task Force on Teacher Education reported that "the need for qualified physics teachers is greater now than at any previous time in U.S. history." Watch the video below to help you capture the physics teaching spirit.
There are many pathways to becoming a physics teacher. Our highlighted pathway, the Physics/Math Teaching Dual Degree Program, is highlighted below. The other ways are as follows. Be sure to visit the Teacher Certification webpage for information about general certification requirements. The first four pathways require coursework in the Professional Education Program.
Here is a simple one page overview of the pathways.
For more information on any of these, please email Bruce Palmquist, Departments of Physics and Science Education.
Through a partnership with the Science Education department and the Department of Mathematics, we have developed a dual-degree physics and math teaching program in which well-prepared students can complete a BA in physics with certification and a BA in Teaching Secondary Mathematics in four years and one quarter. Students who are interested in this program should talk to Bruce Palmquist (firstname.lastname@example.org) to start developing a degree plan. Here is a sample plan to use as a starting point only. Be sure to visit the Teacher Certification webpage for information about general certification requirements.
Presentations from teacher workshops about physics or astronomy teaching activities, equipment, or theory.
|Main Topics||Workshop Description and link||Audience||Presenter||Year|
|Physics teaching, textbook and online homework|
One-hour video about Open Stax College Physics (an open source textbook), Expert TA (an online homework system), and online PhET simulations.
|High school or college science instructors||Bruce Palmquist, Professor of Physics and Science Ed and Karl Loree, High school Math and Science Teacher||2015|
|Physics teaching, case study|
One-hour workshop about how to write interrupted case studies for use in high school and introductory college physics classes
|High school or college science instructors||Bruce Palmquist, Professor of Physics and Science Ed||2013|
|Astronomy teaching, telescope use|
One day workshop about how to set-up and use an Astroscan telescope as well as use of many free online astronomy resources
|Upper elementary, middle school or high school teachers||Bruce Palmquist, Professor of Physics and Science Ed||2013|
|Physics teaching, writing activities|
One-hour workshop about how to write hypothesis testing activities to accompany the interactive online simulations found at http://phet.colorado.edu/.
|Middle school, high school or college science instructors||Bruce Palmquist, Professor of Physics and Science Ed||2012|
|Science teaching, citizen science projects|
Two day workshop on how to use citizen science projects to teach science, either in a classroom or informal education setting
|Upper elementary, middle school or high school teachers||Bruce Palmquist, Professor of Physics and Science Ed||2012|
(If the embedded video does not shop up below, click here.)
CWU's Palmquist Tells How To View Comet Lovejoy
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