Physics 123 is a course taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that aims to provide student teachers with hands-on experience and knowledge of science. It started with what they saw as a deficit in scientific knowledge among elementary education student teachers. This class provides that foundational understanding and guides students through hands-on lab experiments that translate well to an elementary classroom environment. For example, the class learns about density by mixing oil and water to see how they separate. The hope is that if teachers are inspired to get excited about science, the enthusiasm will translate to their students.

What do you think are the advantages of this type classroom experience for student teachers? What might be the disadvantages? How might these hands-on experiences impact the way these future teachers will act in their classrooms? What do you think about some of the experiences they conduct in the class? Add your voice to the ongoing conversation on Vialogues.

Excerpts from the discussion

@03:22 Dallas Milanovich: Valuing and enjoying studying a particular subject isn't absolutely necessary for teaching it well, but it certainly makes learners more enthusiastic and invested if their teacher is also enthusiastic and invested. The fact that this course teaches future teachers that science is fun and can be taught in fun ways will help them in turn bring that sense of fun to their own students.

@03:22 Rebecca Sullivan: It's great that future teachers are getting ideas of experiments they can use in their classrooms. This class shows the importance of subject matter knowledge for elementary school teachers. It would be great for pre-service teachers to have classes like this in other subjects such as history, math, and art.