Supported Site University of Central Florida
University of Central Florida
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At the University of Central Florida, we have concluded that we can enhance both the quality and number of students in STEM disciplines by empowering K-12 teachers with sound foundation and knowledge base in the subjects that they teach. With this in mind, the Physics Department would like to offer its majors the option of a career track as physics/science teacher. This new BA program aims to provide students with depth of subject knowledge, problem solving proficiency and mastery of pedagogical skills needed to enhance student learning and participation in the class room.The proposed program is designed to prepare 12 physics teachers during the first 4 years and to increase the number by 2- 5 in successive years. Another goal is to offer a minor in Physics for students majoring in related areas who may want to become science or physics teachers. An unsaid goal is to make the teaching of physics using PER tested methods a routine in the department. Towards this end we have introduced a rigorous GTA and UTA training program.
Currently several physics faculty and students are engaged in on-going activities with their K-12 counter parts. Two (Drs. Bindell and Al Rawi) are partially funded by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council to work, on a regular basis, with K-12 teachers and students from schools in the region which serve students from underprivileged backgrounds, to develop and implement programs and hands-on activities which infuse interest and foster excitement in the students for STEM disciplines. Dr. Bindell has been organizing regularly scheduled workshop and other activities (e.g. "Physics Day" and "Information technology techCAMP") for over 7 years in the greater Orlando area . Dr. Al Rawi has enabled the extension of the monthly program to Gainesville and Tampa areas. Dr, Colwell has also initiated a very successful Summer workshop in Astronomy for K-12 teachers under the auspices of the Florida Space Initiative. These programs offer an organic link with science teachers in the area and from whom we expect to benefit in the implementation of the BA program that we are proposing for future physics teachers. We are also working with the College of Education at UCF to jointly offer the training program for Physics teachers.