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 a real classroom 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 science at the secondary level.
Elon offers a Bachelor of Arts in science education with a focus in biology, chemistry or physics. Science education majors earn licensure 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.”
The science education program is a cooperative effort between Elon’s School of Education and the departments of physics, biology and chemistry.
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 freshman year or sophomore year. Science education majors also complete a semester-long internship in public schools as part of their student teaching.
A methods of teaching science is the capstone course in the science education program and 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.
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, serve as representatives to high school “Quiz Bowl” competitions and work with the community on water quality issues and other environmental concerns.
Dr. Jimmie Agnew developed and serves as editor for the online science supplement PowerWeb and works with area school systems preparing curriculum guides. She also serves as a consultant to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in reviewing university science education programs in North Carolina.
Dr. Karl Sienerth regularly mentors Elon students conducting research and performs chemistry magic shows at SciWorks and local elementary schools.
Dr. Janet MacFall works with students and community leaders to examine the water quality of rivers near campus.
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 and physics 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.
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 North Carolina Teaching Fellows spend a semester in London or Costa Rica taking classes and teaching in local schools.
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."
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: