Program Requirements — Master of Arts in Life Science Education
The Master of Arts program includes 36 semester hours of coursework and one semester hour of field experience.
Required Science Education Courses
NSM5100 Curriculum Development and Assessment in Mathematics and Science (3)
NSM6100 Educational Research in Mathematics and Science I (3)
NSM6200 Educational Research in Mathematics and Science II (3)
NSM5420 Physical Science I: Matter and Energy (3)
NSM5430 Physical Science II: Forces, Energy, and Motion (3)
NSM5440 Hierarchical Organization of Life – From Cells to Organisms (3)
NSM5450 Hierarchical Organization of Life – From Organisms to Ecosystems (3)
Required Earth and Space Sciences Course
NSM5460 The Universe (3)
Required Crosscutting Concept Courses
NSM6410 Exploring Planet Earth (3)
NSM6420 Technology and Instrumentation (3)
NSM6430 Biochemical Applications in Technology (3)
Required Engineering, Technology, and
Applications of Science Courses
NSM5410 Scientific and Engineering Practices (3)
NSM5900 Field Experience in STEM (1)
Curriculum Development and Assessment in Mathematics and Science
The course will focus on assessment goals and implementation, a mix of theoretical research-based foundations and classroom reform-based perspectives on assessment and evaluation in schools. Recent developments in math and science curriculum, core standards, learning research, and alternate modes of presentation will be discussed.
NSM6100 Educational Research in Mathematics
and Science I
This course has the dual purpose of providing an educational research background in the STEM field as well as the quantitative knowledge necessary to conduct such research. The course investigates recent developments and relevant research in STEM education and initiates a professional conversation about the major issues in teaching mathematics and science. Emphasis will be placed on methods of critically reading and analyzing research reports and the development of a STEM research proposal. Topics include reading and evaluation of original research, issues of validity and reliability in research, assembling research writing components, and an introduction to statistical inference.
Educational Research in Mathematics and Science
This course is a continuation of NSM6100. The teacher will analyze data collected from the implementation of a previously identified STEM research project. Participants will complete their projects, submit a written report of their research, and present their findings to other program participants and at local and/or national conferences.
Physical Science I: Matter and Energy
This course introduces the fundamentals of matter and its interactions. Examples from chemistry and biology will highlight how atoms in a system can change their arrangement, allowing the observation and characterization of useful chemical reactions. Different types of atoms and their interactions will also be used to predict how a system can respond to a given stimulus. The conservation of energy and the concept of thermal energy will be studied throughout by examining systems from burning fuel to photosynthesis. The two fundamental forces, weak nuclear and strong nuclear, that describe how the nucleus of an atom exists will also be presented during the investigation of nuclear processes. Includes at-home laboratory activities that reinforce introduced concepts.
Physical Science II: Forces, Energy, and
Physical Science II explores the principles that help describe our macroscopic world, in particular, how forces influence the motion of a macroscopic object. A basic understanding of the four fundamental forces that govern our understanding of the universe (gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear and weak nuclear forces) will serve as fundamental knowledge when considering the stability of multi-scaled systems. Motion of macroscopic objects will be explained using Newton’s laws. This course will also emphasize how frame of reference and units are important in describing information about the system being studied. A continuation of the conservation of energy principles introduced in Physical Sciences I will show how the interchangeability of energy, using mainly long-range and contact forces, can affect the motion of an object or group of objects. Includes at-home laboratory activities that reinforce introduced concepts.
Hierarchical Organization of Life – From Cells to Organisms
Students will explore the levels of the biological hierarchy below the level of the individual, including cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems, and the biological processes that are important at each level. They will connect content and pedagogy to improve biology teaching in the classroom. Through lecture, discussion, simulation, and laboratory exercises, this course integrates and applies concepts from the biological, chemical, and physical sciences. Topics include the types of cells and cell structure, processes that occur within cells, cell division and types of reproduction, inheritance and sources of genetic variation, major organ systems of animals and plants, and signal processing within cells and whole organisms. The course will emphasize the STEM practices and disciplinary core ideas outlined by national science standards.
Hierarchical Organization of Life – From Organisms to Ecosystems
Students will explore the levels of the biological hierarchy above the level of the individual, including populations, biological communities, ecosystems, and social systems, and the processes that have shaped the diversity of life. Through lecture, discussion, simulation, and laboratory exercises, the course integrates and applies concepts from the biological, chemical, and earth sciences and reinforces pedagogical methods that will improve content teaching. Topics include the concepts and processes of microevolution and macroevolution, the fossil record and geologic time scale, large-scale factors that have shaped the diversity of life, mass extinctions, the diversity of living organisms, and ecological principles that encompass populations, communities, and ecosystems. The course will emphasize the STEM practices and disciplinary core ideas outlined by national science standards.
Exploring Planet Earth
This course is intended to bridge the STEM disciplines of life science and earth and space science, and will accomplish this from a broad environmental science perspective. Students will explore concepts of earth science tied to those of ecosystems learned in previous courses. Through lecture, discussion, simulation, and laboratory activities, the course explores how the physical compartments of the earth (atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere) affect and are affected by the biological components of the earth (biosphere). Topics include the physical and chemical properties of the atmosphere, oceans and other water systems, and the lithosphere, natural hazards, natural resources, and the interaction of those earth components with humans in shaping weather, climate, and the earth’s surface. The course will emphasize the STEM practices and disciplinary core ideas outlined by the national science standards.
Prerequisites: NSM5450, NSM5460
This course is designed to enable the educator to develop national science standards based lessons exploring the scale of the cosmos, cycles of the sky, and the use of technology in the field of astronomy throughout history. Content and integrated pedagogy will be used to understand black holes, galaxies, the solar system, and the formation, life, and death of stars. Modalities of lecture, discussion, simulations and laboratory exercises will be utilized. This course emphasizes adaptation of theory and techniques to the science classroom.
NSM5510 Scientific and Engineering Practices
This course focuses on scientific exploration through inquiry and on engineering methods through the iterative design process. Students will integrate concepts of scientific methodology and engineering design through discussion and activities pertaining to science and technology. The impact of science, technology and engineering on the world and on humankind will be discussed. Assignments and laboratory investigations will focus on experimental design and statistical analysis of quantitative data, helping to develop problem solving and optimization skills by practicing design with constraints. Includes at-home laboratory activities that reinforce introduced concepts.
Technology and Instrumentation
This course will showcase technological applications in medicine, information systems, and information transfer involving light and waves. Crosscutting concepts involving patterns, cause and effect mechanisms, and energy flow and conservation will merge fundamentals learned in Physical Science I, Physical Science II, and The Universe by examining how modern technologies have improved the human experience. The course will start with by exploring the fundamental properties of all waves using multi-disciplinary examples from the human eye to earthquakes. By studying from start to finish how information is transferred when using technology, students will be able to thoroughly experience and understand the basic laws of electricity, magnetism, light and waves. A range of waves from seismic to the electromagnetic will consider material composition to also examine how the properties of waves can change. A brief introduction to the methods used to code and decode wave signals sent as information packets will also be covered.
Prerequisites: NSM5420, NSM5430, NSM5460
NSM5900 Field Experience in STEM
Each candidate is expected to take part in a flexible field experience with a math and or science professional organization. The goal is to give each participant an opportunity to work with a scientist, engineer or mathematician on a project during this experience. The participants will be given the flexibility to choose an experience that is most beneficial to them as long as it is approved by the program director. It is expected that connections will be developed with professionals in the field of mathematics and science that can be utilized in the classroom.
Biochemical Applications in Technology
In this course the student will learn basic concepts of biochemistry and contemporary biotechnological methods and techniques. Students will study the chemistry of biological molecules at the molecular and cellular level. Through lecture, discussion, and activities, this course integrates and applies concepts from physical sciences and life sciences. Students will integrate mathematical and engineering principles related to biochemistry and biotechnology. Students will study biochemical reactions of life processes and applications to microbiology, medicine, and forensics. This course emphasizes adaptation of theory and techniques to the science classroom.
Prerequisites: NSM5420, NSM5440