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EDST543 Science Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is designed to develop pre-service teachers' understanding of the philosophy, values and ethics which underpin the teaching of Physics. The unit is also designed to develop pre-service teachers' understanding and skills in critically analysing and evaluating contemporary theory, concepts and issues in Physics as applied in the classroom context. Emphasis is placed on developing confidence in using the syllabus and associated policy statements, planning lessons, incorporating varied teaching and learning styles including technology, and recognising the importance of safety and requirements of the law. The contribution of Physics to our culture is studied, together with the application of Physics to social and technological problems.

This unit aims to assist pre-service teachers to develop their understanding of contemporary theory, concepts and issues in Physics as applied in the classroom context, with particular attention to current issues impacting this curriculum area including assessment, examination, reporting and curriculum design and evaluation.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Analyse and critique key ethical and moral perspectives associated with the teaching of science and synthesise to formulate a philosophy for the teaching of Physics based on research into teaching and learning in Science (GA2, GA3, GA4; APST 2.1)

LO2 - Demonstrate in-depth understanding of and apply the aims, content, structure, outcomes and theoretical concepts of the Stage 6 Physics Syllabus and related mandatory policies for its implementation (GA5, GA8; APST 2.1)

LO3 - Critically evaluate, generate and implement appropriate lesson sequences for assigned content area including the identification of prior learning, provision for first-hand and second-hand learning experiences, incorporation of ICT, employing strategies to enhance student literacy, and teaching strategies that promote independent learning (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10; APST 1.2, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.5, 2.6, 3.3, 3.4, 4.1, 4.5)

LO4 - Critically examine a wide range of resources including relevant state-based Syllabus and Curriculum Support Documents, Sample Unit Plans, school based texts and items from professional and other associations (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO5 - Analyse the relationships between learning task design, student learning and expertise, higher order thinking, assessment, feedback and reporting in Physics, and apply to the development and modification of own teaching practice (GA4, GA5, GA9; APST 2.3, 5.1, 5.2)

LO6 - Critically evaluate teaching strategies for basic Physics concepts, including those which are commonly misunderstood (GA5, GA8; APST 1.5, 3.2)

LO7 - Experience, evaluate, synthesise and develop a range of teaching strategies and resources, in selected Syllabus mandatory exercises, with consideration of diverse learner needs and including risk assessments where appropriate (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.3, 1.5, 3.1, 4.1, 4.4).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.5 Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.2 Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

5.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback to students about their learning.


Topics will include:

  • The definition of ethical and moral values associated with the teaching of Physics, leading to the formulation of a philosophy for the teaching of physics based on research into teaching and learning.
  • Factors in the educational context of Physics  (international, national, state, territory and local levels) including curriculum policies and perspectives that shape the identity of Physics Education in Years 11-12
  • The concepts, substance and structure of senior secondary curriculum content in Physics
  • Contemporary understandings of the unique ways in which students learn in Physics
  • Specific professional practices and key pedagogical approaches related to teaching and learning in senior Physics contexts, and their theoretical underpinnings, with modelling/deconstructing of teaching strategies, first-hand investigations and second hand investigations
  • Alignment and coherence in content, learning outcomes, pedagogy in curriculum programming in Physics Education with a focus on Years 11-12,  including the identification of prior learning, provision for first hand and second hand learning experiences and teaching strategies that promote independent learning.
  • Guided construction of programs and teaching resources for sample core syllabus units will be followed by independent planning and preparation of teaching resources for part of a senior secondary core unit.
  • The relationship between reflexive learning and effective concept formation to foster creativity, build promote problem solving and foster critical thinking in Physics Education
  • Catering for a diverse range of learners in Physics
  • The need for a greater range of literacy skills in the senior secondary Physics course/s will be addressed by preparation and planning explicit strategies to teach these skills
  • Specific teaching strategies and issues related to Indigenous students in Physics Education
  • Effective use of a range of resources for teaching, including ICT’s and technologies specific to Physics
  • Classroom management in Physics Education and the impact of curriculum rigour, engagement, participation and inclusion on learner behaviour
  • General principles of, ethical practice in, and ways to assess student learning, provide effective feedback, make consistent and comparable judgments, interpret student data, report on student achievement in assessment in senior secondary Physics, including Examination construction and a focus upon the elective units
  • Maintaining student safety in this curriculum area including risk identification, management and legislative requirements 
  • Resources and sources of professional learning for teachers for teachers, including professional associations, external professionals, community representatives and support networks.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. These may include pre-service teacher led discussion groups, online work, face-to-face workshops, practical off-line activities, school-based learning and research-based projects. The use of a variety of information and communication technology will be employed.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video, workshops, and assignments etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to submit all pieces of assessment and obtain an overall passing grade for the entire unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

Discussion of the application of constructivist learning theories in the Physics classroom. Include:

  • Understanding of constructivism, including distinction between social constructivism and individual constructivism;
  • Critically explore, through research, the application of these theories to the teaching of Science;
  • Draw on personal experiences as a student and observer in classrooms to translate the theoretical position into teaching practice;
  • Articulate clearly how the theory of constructivism can be realised in teaching practice in the Physics classroom; and
  • References.


LO1, LO6

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2:

Rich Assessment task

Develop a rich assessment task designed for senior Physics students. Each task will include:

  • A variety of assessment strategies, including diagnostic, formative and summative, that reflect the assessment requirements specific to the curriculum area while catering to diverse learner strengths and needs
  • Identification of learning outcomes/ achievement standards addressed
  • Strategies for making consistent and comparable judgements, including marking guidelines/criteria, and moderation
  • Ways in which data will be interpreted to modify teaching practices
  • Strategies for providing feedback
  • Source material as appropriate


LO2, LO4, LO5, LO7

GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 3:

Senior Options: Program and Practical Activities

Develop a program/unit of work for senior students. The program will be evidence-based and designed to include:

  • Nominated curriculum content/option represented in three practical activities
  • Learning outcomes/skills
  • Equipment, procedures and teacher notes
  • Questions and sample answers
  • Literacy/numeracy strategies in the teaching area
  • The integration of assessment in learning and teaching tasks
  • Differentiated pedagogical strategies to cater to diverse learners
  • Critical evaluation and development of resources, including ICT, and a field trip or excursion
  • A proposal for curriculum evaluation.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO6, LO7

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Relevant State and National Curriculum documents.

Andriessen, M., Lofts, G., Morante, R., & Mott, J.B. (2004). Physics: Preliminary course (2nd ed.). Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons.

Andriessen, M., Pentland, P., Gaut, R., & McKay, R. (2003). Physics 2: HSC Course. (2nd ed.). Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons.

Bunn, D.J. (1994). Physics for a modern world. Milton, Qld: Jacaranda Press.

Butler, M., Hopkins, D., & Willis, J. (2000). Physics 1. South Yarra, Vic: Macmillan Education.

Butler, M., Hopkins, D., & Willis, J. (2001). Physics 2. South Yarra, Vic: Macmillan Education.

Day, A. (2014). The structure of scientific examination questions. London: SpringerLink.

Stan S.W. (2014). Success one physics. Leichhardt, NSW: Pascal Press.

Warren, N. (2000). Excel: Preliminary physics. Leichhardt, NSW: Pascal Press.

Warren, N. (2000). Excel: HSC physics. Leichhardt, NSW: Pascal Press.

White, R., & Gunstone, R. (1992). Probing understanding. London: Falmer Press.

Wilkinson, J. (1997/8). Contextual physics: Books 1 and 2. Melbourne, Vic: Addison Wesly Longman.

Woerner, J.J., Rivers, R.H., & Vockel, E.L., (1991). The computer in the science curriculum. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Zealey, B., Hynoski, M., Mathur, J., & Tatnell, I. (2004). Physics in context: Forces of Life (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Zitzewitz, P. (2012). Physics: Principles and problems (Version 2.0). Australia: McGraw-Hill Education

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