School of Education

Science Education

Helping to prepare teachers, scientists and inventors

Elon’s Science Education program prepares graduates to confidently enter a classroom and share the wonder and thrill of scientific discovery with their students. A dynamic curriculum combines sound theory with excellent opportunities for hands-on learning beginning your freshman year. Throughout the Science Education program, you will spend time in real classrooms observing and later interacting with students. As your knowledge increases, so will your involvement in the classroom. When you graduate, you will have the knowledge and skills to teach science at the secondary level.

Elon offers a Bachelor of Arts in Science Education with a focus in biology, chemistry, physics, or environmental science. Upon successful completion of all requirements, Science Education majors may apply for a NC license in comprehensive science through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Typically, 100 percent of Elon’s Science Education majors earn licensure.

“Elon prepares students to obtain a comprehensive licensure and makes the pursuit of a double major in a specific discipline feasible. My course work keeps me busy, not just in my time spent in the classroom, but with hands-on experiences through field experience in science labs and education practicums in local schools.”

Shannon Boone ’10 

Engaging curriculum

The Science Education program is a cooperative effort between Elon’s School of Education and the departments of physics, biology, chemistry, and environmental science.

Science Education majors gain early professional training in real classrooms, beginning by observing experienced teachers, then completing practicums as part of their coursework. This allows majors to advance from observing a classroom to interacting with students by the end of their first or second years. Science Education majors also complete a semester-long internship in public schools as part of their student teaching.

A course in the methods of teaching science is taken prior to student teaching. In this course, students examine the role of science in middle and secondary school curricula, craft teaching objectives with appropriate assessments and manage classes of diverse learners. Students also develop lesson plans using a variety of techniques and technology to demonstrate their knowledge of content, theory and teaching.

Experienced faculty

Science Education majors work closely with faculty who share their expertise with their students as well as with teachers in public schools. Elon faculty conduct workshops for students and teachers in public schools, assist local teachers in planning and judging science fair projects, and work with the community on water quality issues and other environmental concerns.

Dr. Davd Gammon's major field of interest is bioacoustics (study of the sounds of organisms). He conducts interdisciplinary research related to the public understanding of science and balancing the desire for high human living standards with environmental constraints over the long term. He is also the organizer of Tectonic Plates: Alamance County's Science Cafe.  Every month a professional scientist visits a local restaurant to discuss cutting edge science in a relaxed informal atmosphere without technical jargon.

Dr. Karl Sienerth regularly mentors Elon students conducting research and performs chemistry magic shows at SciWorks and local elementary schools.

Dr. Tony Crider's interest in science visualization led him to create virtual planetariums, telescopes, and lunar landscapes within the 3D online world of Second Life. In 2006, he co-founded the SciLands, and archipelago of Second Life islands dedicated to science education and outreach. Currently, Dr. Crider is assessing the effectiveness of both Second Life and short "Reacting to the Past" role-playing games in science courses.

Dr. Janet MacFall works with students and community leaders to examine the water quality of rivers near campus.

Dr. Terry Tomasek is the Science Education Coordinator. She has considerable experience teaching in middle grades and at the high school level. She currently works with high school students through the Elon Academy, Elon University's college access and success program. Dr. Tomasek is a Co-Principal Investigator on a multi-million dollar National Science Foundation grant to bring herpetology education to high school students across the state of North Carolina.

Modern facilities and technology

Science Education students have access to several computer labs, research laboratories and sophisticated instruments in Elon’s McMichael Science Center, home of the biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science departments. Students interact with faculty and other students on research projects in science classrooms and laboratories. Wireless Internet access and data projectors enhance the learning experience.

Elon has a wealth of premier instruments not typically found at the undergraduate level, including a scanning electron microscope, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, ultra and high-speed centrifuge and fluorescent microscope. Students also have access to the science center’s cadaver lab and a computerized physiology lab. Students interested in astronomy can let their imaginations soar on the roof of Koury Center, where telescopes are mounted for optimum stargazing. This facility enhances courses in astronomy, geology, and energy and the environment, which complement the core offerings in physics. 

Special opportunities

In addition to the semester-long teaching internship in the public schools, Science Education majors gain valuable experience through participation in study abroad courses, particularly programs such as field biology in Belize or Brazil and environmental studies in New Zealand during winter term. Science Education students who are Teaching Fellows spend a semester in Costa Rica or London taking classes and completing internships in schools or other education related agencies.

Science Education students may join the following honor societies: American Chemical Society, Beta Beta Beta (biology), Kappa Delta Pi (education), Sigma Pi Sigma (physics) and the Society of Physics Students. 

"Elon's program was attractive to me because of the number of school practicums offered early on, allowing me to apply concepts to my teaching in high school classes.  I am both a biologist and a teacher, one who draws from both departments to ultimately make my work of higher quality."

Tory Chase '10

After graduation

The demand for science teachers continues to grow nationwide, and Elon’s Science Education majors have made their mark in the classroom. Recent graduates have received prestigious awards within their school systems, including New Teacher of the Year, Most Outstanding New Teacher, Science Rookie of the Year, High School Teacher of the Year and Time-Warner Star Teacher.

About 50 percent of Elon’s Science Education students attend graduate school after getting several years of teaching experience. They have attended institutions such as:

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Duke University
  • Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine
  • Georgia Southern University
  • University of Maryland
  • George Washington University. 


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