Step 1: Inquiry Approaches to Teaching

Step 1 allows students to explore teaching as a career and even receive a partial tuition rebate on the tuition after completing the first two courses! Following an introduction to the theory and practice behind excellent inquiry-based science and mathematics instruction, students teach lessons in elementary classrooms to obtain firsthand experience in planning and implementation.

Working alone or in pairs, students create three science or mathematics lessons from modules developed with the support of the National Science Foundation. They then develop the lessons further using the 5E model. Students submit drafts of their lesson plans to their university master teacher, who provides suggestions for improvement or redevelopment as needed. Students provide final copies of their lesson plans to the mentor teacher at the elementary school where they will be teaching for additional feedback. The mentor teacher observes the lesson being taught and provides written feedback to each student or pair of students to help them improve as the semester progresses.

Core Course Components

  • Course is taught by master teachers—experienced, successful classroom teachers who have joined the university faculty.
  • Students observe exemplary teachers and obtain field experience planning and teaching three mathematics or science lessons in local elementary schools with diverse student populations.
  • Students receive mentoring from high quality classroom teachers, as well as instructor feedback based on field observations.
  • Course emphasizes using the 5E Instructional Model.
  • Key instructional approaches include classroom discussion, lesson demonstration, student reflection, collaboration, and peer coaching.