Pedagogy Syllabus Y4

IGERT MNM (Magnetic and Nanostructured Materials )

Norfolk State University, Cornell University, Purdue University

Best Practices in Teaching and Learning

Advising Professor: Dr. Monica Cox



The main objective of this module is to help the IGERT trainees and associate trainees develop pedagogical expertise so they can integrate pedagogy within their disciplinary areas. As a Trainee, you will:

—  Understand pedagogical techniques and apply them to science and engineering activity and curriculum design

—  Identify best practices in methods of communicating scientific content to learners

—  Be able to implement backward design principles to complete a deliverable for use in a classroom setting

—  Gain experience with inter-institution collaborations and communication.



This course is based upon the LEADER framework, exemplified below:

LEADER Framework


Example – Pedagogy Module


Students identify their existing perceptions and experiences

Users write a statement presenting their ideas as to how best to create/modify a science/engineering activity for use in a high school situation.


Students informally assess their views

Users are asked how their thoughts on teaching and learning might be different for a high-school age group than an older academic audience.


Students learn formal, preexisting knowledge

Users are shown how to use background theory in learning and pedagogy to inform their practice (development of the final activity as a deliverable)


Students apply content in actionable ways

Create the final deliverable with your partner, designing the learning environment through student materials and through teacher materials


Students communicate how they will apply content in their career and professional development

Users are asked to discuss possible uses for these kinds of skills in later life/career applications.


Students process and summarize their thoughts

Users identify their personal strengths, weaknesses, and what they’ve learned in designing learning environments for a high-school age group.


This framework will guide your learning as trainees over the course of the entire pedagogy module, and the framework will also be employed on the small scale to guide the learning each time the class meets throughout the 8 week course. The Absorb and Demonstrate components will be worked on throughout the course.


By the end of the 8 weeks, trainees will have developed a final deliverable. The final goal is to design a short hands-on activity for high-school aged students to conduct in a classroom environment which teaches some aspect of magnetic and nanostructured materials research, or another science/engineering topic of your choice. Materials developed for this activity will be structured toward both the teacher and the student. The deliverable should reflect the pedagogical content knowledge and curricular knowledge trainees have gained from the previous weeks of the module.



Readings are selected to most effectively provide learning resources for the topic covered. Please read assignments before class in order to improve your own personal learning as well as to contribute to others’ learning experiences.

Deliverables due on a particular day are not for the benefit of the instructor; rather, they are aligned such that the entire deliverable cannot be left until the last minute. Please work with your partner to deliver quality work each week.

Please consider allowing Purdue researchers to use your responses to LEADER framework questions as part of a validation study for the framework. IRB and consent forms will be distributed following multi-institutional IRB approval. No data will be used or published outside of the IGERT-MNM group until this protocol is approved and established.



As discussed above, weekly homework assignments will be given as a guide to completing the final project in phases rather than all at the end of the module. The order in which the pieces will be completed is based on the module content learned through that week, so that the project can be accomplished efficiently.

A checklist for critical (required) elements of the project are included at the end of this syllabus. Please visit for great examples of thorough and complete teacher and student resources.

Evaluation of the final deliverable will be compiled based on the completion of the checklist items at the end of the syllabus.

Wk #


Homework Activity/Deliverables due on this week

Readings/Reflections due BEFORE CLASS  on this week

1 (Feb 12)


/Learning objectives

/Overview of backward design & assessment

Pick a partner, preferably from a different institution (working on inter-institution collaborations!!!)

--Follow Qualtrics link online:

LOCATE: How would you create/modify a science or engineering activity for use in a high school classroom?





(Feb 19)


Activity Overview:

Introductory thoughts to the final deliverable activity. Submit a document with three potential topics that are important to your research that high school students would be interested in learning about. Brainstorm potential topics by browsing the internet and finding particularly poor examples of science activities, or activities that perpetuate science misconceptions. Re-vamping already-existing activities is as valid as thinking of something new.  Browse examples of “good” activities as well to get a feel for exemplary models.

-- Wiggins and McTighe (1998)

-- Britner (2008)

-- Hofstein (2007)

--Submit 1 critical question about the reading/s to Catherine by Monday 2/17

--Evaluate activity: How does teaching and learning science differ for a high-school age group than for university students?



(Feb 26)

Assessment / Backwards Design


Begin to narrow your brainstorm into the best topic to be the subject of your science activity. The best topic should be the one with the most demonstrative skill,  that can be done in a classroom. Use the recent lecture on communication to prepare a short synopsis of the background of your research for a high school teacher that may use this activity in class.


Deliverable checklist items:

  • Decide on an activity to enhance/re-vamp through this deliverable
  • Learning objectives of your proposed activity.

(Note: these two bullet points may be iterative, until you converge on an activity that achieves the learning objectives you set forth.)

  • Questions that teachers can ask students as a warm-up to the activity
  • Background reading for teachers (~3ish pages, or however long is necessary)

--Bell (2000)

--Hanson (2011)

--Submit 1 critical question about the reading/s to Catherine by Monday 2/24



(Mar 5)

Learners and Learning


Identify achievable and concise learning goals for your activity. For each learning goal, identify its curricular priority and how you will know the goal was achieved. Ensure that goal, activity tasks, and acceptable evidence are aligned.

Reassess the introductory questions (from week 2) that the teacher can use to guide preliminary discussions, to ensure they are closely tied to the learning goals/objectives.  Then, think of some creative assessment techniques for your students, such that the teacher can assess that learning has happened.


Deliverable checklist items:

  • Pre-assessment
  • Post-assessment
  • Preliminary narrative (instructions) for activity, and associated teacher’s guide
  • Compile a “Teacher’s guide to the activity,” ~1 pg writeup of what their students should be seeing (to supplement the answer guides). Also note potential pitfalls of the activity and how to avoid them!!!



--NGSS Ch 5 (Physical Sciences)

--NGSS Ch 8 (Engineering & Technology)

-- NGSS Appendix F document with overarching goals and objectives

Skim these, looking specifically for where your activity falls, ideas  for related concepts to include, and prior knowledge of your learners


If you’re interested, there are videos and more resources on the NGSS website:


--Submit 1 critical question about the reading/s to Catherine by Monday 3/3


(Mar 12)

How People Learn framework – Design of Learning Environments

Use the K-12 STEM standards for public schools to identify what skills/classes your target high school audience is familiar with. Write down the standards, and reassess, if necessary, the activity you have chosen to represent the MNM topic.


Deliverable checklist items:

  • Pre-activity reading for students (~0.5 pg.)
  • Glossary of key terms
  • Finalized narrative for activity steps, including guiding questions for students, with space to respond, draw pictures, blank graphs to chart results, etc. Does the activity align with the learning objectives and the assessments that you have already done? Iterate if necessary.
  • Teacher Key for activity (ideally, you would yourself conduct the activity, and write down the “answers”)
  • Identify for which grade level(s) this activity is intended



--Bransford et al (2000) Chapter on Transfer


--Submit 1 critical question about the reading/s to Catherine by Monday 3/10


(Mar 26)

Engagement Strategies

Be working on the writeup format of your activity.  It should be user-friendly for both the teachers and the students!


Deliverable checklist items:

  • Final list of materials
  • Space for student reflection of their learning and space for the further questions that they have about this topic
  • A brief final summary for the students at the end of the packet (~0.5 page)
  • Ideas for further reading/websites to visit

Cite (properly!) references used in teacher and student materials

--2001 Wyckoff

--2005 Dickey

--Submit 1 critical question about the reading/s to Catherine by Monday 3/24


--Evolve activity: Which unit so far has held the most meaning for you in terms of your future career? Why?


(Mar 26)

Curriculum Development overview/ Group feedback

Your activity should be nearly complete, with all the parts of the activity as listed below in the “Final Deliverable Checklist.” The only thing that is left is the teacher presentation (slides) that they could present to their students—which is assigned next week as the basis for your in-class presentation).


Your homework for this week is to exchange your project with another student and preferably work through the experiment to critique the work. A possible rubric is given above in the final deliverables section. Be critical: Are the directions clear? Are the backward design elements consistent? Is the teacher’s guide easy to understand? Is the level of activity appropriate for the age group intended? How can this be made more interactive, or more exciting?


Use the feedback from your peers to enhance your project. Prepare the teacher slides on the activity. This should be a very good summation of the project (since it’s the presentation the teacher would show to the class), and you’ll present this to our class for week 8. Please keep presentations to ~10 minutes.

--No readings, work on project.

--Do you have all the pieces?!?!?!



(Apr. 2)

Final Presentation


Brief presentation of the final deliverable. Final deliverable due by midnight, this day. Please include all contents that have been worked on over this module, compiled into a pdf file. The teacher materials should be all together at the front in a logical order (please upload your teacher slides (a.k.a. your final ppt presentation)) separately. The student materials should be in the format of a self-contained, easy-to-use workbook to engage in this activity.  Structure can vary depending on the activity you’ve designed, but it should be logical for any high school students and/or teachers to follow.


Reflect activity: Users identify their personal strengths, weaknesses, and what they’ve learned in designing learning environments for a high-school age group.

Final Deliverable Checklist:

For Teachers

__Background reading for teachers

__Purpose/Objective (1-2 sentences)

__Grade level this activity is intended for (based on K-12 standards)

__Questions teachers can use to get students thinking properly about the activity

__Pre-assessment guide/Key

__Teacher Materials list

__Teacher Guide to conducting the activity

__Teacher Answer Guide/Key

__Post-assessment Guide/Key


__Purpose/Objective (1-2 sentences)

__List of materials

__Pre-activity reading for students, including pictures, key words, etc.

__Pre-Assessment questions

__Activity directions/questions. Leave ample room for drawings, observations, answers to the guiding questions, pre-made blank graphs (if necessary), etc.

__Post assessment questions

­­__Student self-reflection on learning and further questions


__Further Reading



Both Partners Submit a Document Covering these topics regarding your experience in the Pedagogy Module (data to be used for the writing module)—These criteria may be modified in the future.

¢  Explain how you used backward design in the construction of your activity

¢  Explain how your communication strategies differed between writing for students and writing for teachers?

¢  Explain what literature and best practices you used in the design of this learning environment.

¢  Reflect on your experiences (difficulties, successes) working with a partner at another university.

See for great examples of thorough teacher and student materials

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