Member Institution University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department of Physics
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K-12 teacher training at the University of Wisconsin is managed by the School of Education, which offers discipline-specific programs for secondary education majors in physics and other sciences. Students in the physics option are required to take 34 physics credits including calculus-based courses. Elementary education majors are not required to take many science courses unless they select a science minor.
The physics department maintains a presence throughout Wisconsin with a traveling science show called "The Wonders of Physics." Faculty also take part in professional development workshops for K-12 teachers in Madison.
Many of the Secondary Education Physics students join the Physics Learning Program as Peer Mentor/Tutors (PMTs) and work closely with a small group of physics students throughout the semester. Working for a stipend or course credit, these PMTs hone their content knowledge and take part in weekly seminars on best teaching practices.
Recently the Physics Department began an effort to overhaul one of the calculus-based sequences so that it better meets the needs of life science majors. We are incorporating current Physics Education Research in the plan to make lectures more interactive, labs more inquiry-based, and discussions more like tutorials. Our goal is that students see physics as relevant and useful in their upper division biology courses.