El Camino College     PSCI 25      Physical Sciences for Future Teachers       Fall 2017


Section 1410  meets Wednesdays 11:00-1:05 and Thursdays 9:30-1:45 in Physics 101.       


Instructor:  Perry Hacking; Office Planetarium; (310) 660-3593 (x3245); Office Hours:  Tuesdays - Thursdays 3:30-4:00, Wednesdays 5:00-7:00.    Email:  phacking@elcamino.edu


Text:  Conceptual Physics (12th ed.) by Paul Hewitt; and the ECC Physics 12 lab manual.


Exams:  There will be three 50-point exams and a 100 point comprehensive final exam. The exam questions will be similar to the homework questions, but some of them will come from the lab material.


Homework:  There will be homework assignments for every chapter of the book that we cover.  Homework will be worth 100 points total.  No late homework will be accepted.  Note: homework is due AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS, before I finish calling the roll.  It is futile to come to class late because you were trying to finish your homework.  It is also futile to expect to pass the course if you don't do the homework or rely heavily on others to help you along.  If you cannot do the homework or don't understand how to solve the problems, you will not be able to answer the test questions.  



Lab/Activities: Your total lab work will be worth 150 points.  


Activities:  Our long Thursday classes will include some labs from the lab manual, but most of the time will be spent performing activities that you will design.  Each student is required to construct 3 lab activities that any of us could use in a K-12 classroom. The activity should be designed to take an hour or so in the K-12 classroom, but about 30 minutes for college students.  Each lab activity that you create is worth 25 points.  The requirements for these activities include:


1.  A description of the topic and how it would fit into a larger module.  For example if your topic is on conservation of energy, that would normally not appear at the beginning of a 6-week or 8-week physics module.  You don't have to start at the beginning.  You may assume that we have already covered the necessary material in the module for us to be ready for your energy activity.  You don't even need to review energy if your activity would be appropriate after the topic had been introduced to your K-12 students.  Just put our class right to the spot where you pick up the story.  Please describe what the story is and where you are placing us.

2.  Science is a Wowie!  Wow us!  Science should be the easiest topic to get kids excited about.  If they aren't, then you aren't doing your job properly.  Pick something really interesting that will grab us (we aren't really all that different from K-12 students).

3.  Content, content, content.  Don't underestimate your students.  The standards are minimums and current science education is poor.  I strongly encourage you to include additional material, especially if it meets the criterion #2, above.  Present the students with MORE than you were taught at that grade level.  Significantly more. Kindergartners can count and compare.  High school students can all perform geometry and algebra and some are in calculus classes.  Many future scientists don't realize how fun math is until they can see it applied in science.  Very often when they see it applied, they suddenly become the best math students in their math classes.  

4.  Activities are active.  The students need to measure something!  It could be a comparison, but measuring is best.  If the materials are expensive (see me), you can have some of the students perform the measurements multiple times, and have everyone perform the calculations or comparisons.  The latter is not optimal, though.  Try to have all students, or groups of two perform measurements.  

5.  Assess the students.  Again, don't set the bar too low.  That has historically been part of the problem.  If the students fall below your bar, it might be you.  Try improving your module and activities first before considering lowering the bar.  Practice on your presentation.  If everyone gets 10/10 or an A, then the bar is too low (with some exceptions, like when I am teaching a course filled with honors students but even then there is some mix to the grades).  Some K-12 students have never been expected to do well.  

6.  Assess your fellow PSCI 25 students!  Give us some college-level assessment to perform regarding your activity. Your assessment should take at least 15 minutes, but less than an hour for a student to complete.  

7.  You are required to grade the class assessments.  Histogram the grades and comment on them.  After grading them, tell me what would you do differently, if anything?

I will grade your activity based upon these requirements, approximately equally.  



Grading:  I will total all of your points at the end of the semester to determine your grade.  The grade scale is as follows:


           each exam          for the course


           90 - 100   A       450 - 500  A

           80 - 89    B         400 - 449   B

           65 - 79    C         325 - 399   C

           50 - 64    D         250 - 324   D


Students who withdraw after September 1st will have a record of it on their transcript.  Those that withdraw after November 10th will receive a letter grade based on the entire semester's requirements. 


Preparation:  Make certain that you are ahead in your reading, and current on your homework!  Homework will be due almost every time we meet (including labs). 


Course Objectives  and Student Learning Outcome (SLO):  In general, the objectives of this course are to learn the physics of static and moving particles, fluids, or heat and to learn to correctly analyze physical problems that deal with those subjects.  The official course objectives and SLO can be found at (this link is not ready yet): Physical Science 25 Learning Outcomes.

About this course: The best way to teach science is to truly learn about topics that really interest you.  That is what this course is about.  We are going to cover a lot of different science and my job is to increase your interest in it.  Enough to get you excited about teaching it to K12 students!

However, when I stumble and you become confused, it is YOUR responsibility to stop me and ask for clarification or a different explanation or illustration.  Silence on your part translates into an assumption on my part that you understand.  ASK QUESTIONS.  This is not a passive class where you just show up and take notes.  Expect me to ask you questions all period long.  Yes, you. 


Disabilities: If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible


Here is our schedule -Note that there will be some lecture on almost all Thursdays.   Exams and labs will take place on Thursdays. I will announce any changes in class.

Expect new versions to appear here as the semester progresses. 


Week                Chapter                 Subjects                                                 Lab Period

1.                          3                       Kinematics                                         Experiment 10

2                         2,4,5                   Newton's Laws                                    Experiment 11

3                          6                        Momentum                                     Student Activities (SA)

4                          7                        Energy                                                     SA   

5.                         9,15,16              Gravity & Heat                                           SA

6.                         13, 22, 23          Fluids and Electricity                                   SA                          

7.                         11                      Atoms and Molecules.                 Exam 1 (weeks 1-6) SA 

8.                      Lecture                  Chemical Bonds                                         SA           

9.                      Lecture                  Chemical Reactions                                     SA

10.                       14                      Gases                                                        SA

11.                    Lecture                  Geology: The Earth & Plate Tectonics       Exam 2 SA

12.                    Lecture                  Geology: Paleontology                                SA

13.                    Lecture                  Meteorology  SA                                    Thanksgiving                                       

14.                    Lecture                  Astronomy: The Sky                                   SA

15.                    Lecture                  The Solar System                                 Exam 3  SA

16.                       36                      Start, Galaxies, Cosmology                 Final Exam  SA


Last Published 9/24/17