Teaching Physical Science BS

Program Purpose


Career Preparation

Students completing the BS in Physical Science Teaching program are prepared to teach physical science at the secondary level, and complete certification. Students graduating with a B.S. in Physical Science Teaching will have completed a degree that involves two academic components: 1) formal training in the physical sciences and 2) formal training in education. The physical science content is designed to give broad training in traditional physical science courses. Students take multiple classes in physics, geology , chemistry, and astronomy. The physical science course work is comprehensive enough to place students in teaching positions in both junior high to high school, to teach courses in physics, chemistry, physical science and geology or earth science.

The professional education component will assist them to become outstanding education professionals as well as productive citizens in their communities. For physical science teaching majors, this means course work that will prepare them to deal with the challenges facing public school students today, as well as the tools to enable lifelong learning as educational needs and models change. We support the science teaching standards as outlined by the National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences. Students take courses in multicultural education, adolescent development, and exceptionalities through the David O. McKay School of Education. They also take specialized courses in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences to model the pedagogy of teaching physical science, effectively dealing with laboratory safety, and managing the typical range of classroom problems teachers face when conducting labs, demonstrations and field trips.

Alignment with BYU Aims and Mission

Intellectually enlarging

Physical Science Teaching majors learn to understand the physical world through broad education and experience in physics, chemistry and geology. They learn creative and effective ways to teach skills, concepts and perspectives of science.

Spiritually strengthening and character-building

Students are strengthened in character and faith through faculty instruction and mentoring. These interactions provide opportunities for faculty to demonstrate commitment to both spiritual and intellectual pursuits in their personal and professional lives, and to help students adopt spiritual and professional perspectives and practices consistent with the Gospel. Students learn to balance the perspectives of science and religion with patience and faith.

Promotes life-long service

Teaching provides a direct opportunity to influence the scientific, social and character development of the young. The broad scientific background provided by a physics major enables students to be informed participants in solving community issues. Students are given opportunities to participate in educational outreach and tutoring through undergraduate activities sponsored by student leaders and the physics department.

Curricular Structure

Undergraduate Catalog

Major Academic Plan (MAP)  

Freshman and sophomore courses include introductory courses in physics, chemistry and geology, as well as courses in astronomy and meteorology. Upper divsion topic courses include organic chemistry, an elective in geology, and a course in the history and philosophy of science.

The professional education component includes educational instruction in science pedagogy, instructional technology, and cultural and developmental topics.

The culminating experience is a professional teaching experience in high school through student teaching or internship.

Learning Outcomes


BS Physical Science Teaching: Understand and use laws that govern the physical universe through broad exposure to experimental and observational physical sciences. Prepare to teach physical sciences in the secondary schools by taking courses in pedagogy, leading to certification. Develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and in working and communicating with others. Gain a broad perspective of science and its role in past and modern societies. Practice teaching physical science by completing student teaching or internship.

Physical Science Fundamentals

Students will obtain a broad, basic knowledge of physical sciences.

Courses that Contribute: PHIL 423 PHSCS 105 PHSCS 106 PHSCS 107 PHSCS 108 PHSCS 137
Linked to BYU Aims: Quantitative reasoning, Competence
Instruction Design and Development

Students will be able to design individual lectures reflecting the curriculum and informed by best practices in pedagogy and technology.

Courses that Contribute: PHY S 377 PHY S 378 SC ED 476R
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Communicate effectively
Utah Teacher and TEAC Standards

Students understand and apply the goals and standards of the Utah Teacher and TEAC.

Courses that Contribute: PHY S 276 PHY S 377 PHY S 378 SC ED 476R
Linked to BYU Aims: Competence
Professional and Moral Practice

Students understand and apply the Guiding Principles of Teaching as embraced by the McKay School of Education.

Courses that Contribute: PHY S 276 PHY S 378 SC ED 476R
Linked to BYU Aims: Character

Evidence of Learning


Assessment Tools

1. Students will pass the content area exams as well as the PRAXIS General Science, Physics, Chemistry or Earth Science test with a score of 140 or higher.

2. Students will create a Teacher Work Sample for a teaching unit that incorporates the principles of inquiry and deliver it to a public school classroom.

3. Students will receive a minimum overall score of 3 on the Clinical Practice Assessment System (student teaching) evaluation.

4. Students will be able to articulate and defend the Guiding Principles of Teaching as a framework for adolescent education.

5. Senior written exit survey

6. Department chair written exit interviews of graduating seniors

7. Regular BYU surveys of graduates

8. Instructor assessment of students in courses

9. Informal feedback from alumni.

10. Informal feedback from employers and graduate schools, recruiters.

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement


1. The department chair gives qualitative results of senior exit interviews to the Undergraduate Committee regarding the students' perceptions of which courses were effective and ineffective, on a yearly basis

2. The Undergraduate Committee gathers information from surveys, exit interviews, course improvement reviews, feedback from graduate schools and employers, exit examinations and thesis/capstone evaluations. The committee tracks improvement, reports to the faculty, and proposes changes in the program curriculum.

3. Program assessment will be formally conducted every four years beginning in 2007. Four year reviews will be supplemented by annual or more frequent internal evaluations by the faculty directly involved with the program and via their feedback through the chair to the Curriculum Committee. Changes that might require immediate implementation will be evaluated annually.

4. Plans for improvement will initially be reviewed at the department level by the Curriculum Committee. Subsequently, plans/proposals will then be reviewed by the general faculty, openly discussed in a faculty meeting and then voted on by the faculty. Department recommendations will then be reviewed by the College Curriculum Council.

5. The chair of the Department Curriculum Committee is also a member of the College Curriculum Council. All proposed curriculum plans and changes will be reviewed and discussed by the College Curriculum Council prior to submission and final review by the University Curriculum Council. Proposals for curriculum and program changes will also be considered by the University Council on Teacher Education.

7. Implementation of program changes/improvements (every 4 years or more frequently) will be implemented once the department-college-university review cycle has been completed.