Read more about Exploring Physical Phenomena

Exploring Physical Phenomena

(2 reviews)

Emily van Zee, Oregon State University

Elizabeth Gire, Oregon State University

Copyright Year: 2019

Publisher: Oregon State University

Language: English

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Reviewed by Cathy Stierman, Assistant Professor, Clarke University on 1/9/23

This text thoroughly covers the mechanics of how to teach science in a clear, thorough, and straightforward manner. Using the most common physical science topics, the authors demonstrate how to lead new science teachers through phenomenon-based... read more

Reviewed by Michelle Leverette, Visiting Assistant Professor Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Texas at Arlington on 11/22/22

The authors provide multiple relevant connections (aligned with NGSS) about various aspects of the Sun and Earth's interactions. read more

Table of Contents

  • Unit 1: Exploring the Nature of Light Phenomena
  • Unit 2: Exploring the Nature of Thermal Phenomena
  • Unit 3: Considering the Influence of Light and Thermal Phenomena on Local Weather
  • Unit 4: Considering the Influence of Light and Thermal Phenomena on Global Climate
  • Unit 5: Exploring the Nature of Astronomical Phenomena in the Context of the Sun/Earth/Moon System

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  • About the Book

    This course is intended for prospective and practicing elementary and middle school teachers. By exploring physical phenomena in class, you will learn science in ways in which you are expected to teach science in schools or in informal settings such as afterschool programs, youth group meetings, and museum workshops. This course also is appropriate for general science students and others interested in exploring some of the physical phenomena underlying global climate change.

    The theme for the course is: What happens when light from the Sun shines on the Earth? The emphasis is on questioning, predicting, exploring, observing, discussing, reading, and writing about what one thinks and why. This first unit focuses on exploring the nature of light phenomena. Among the unit’s many goals are two primary ones: to learn about light phenomena and to learn about ways to foster science learning for yourself and others such as your family, friends, and students.

    About the Contributors


    Emily van Zee is a retired associate professor of science education at Oregon State University. She designed and taught this physics course for prospective elementary and middle school teachers. She also taught graduate courses in science education. Her research has included documenting and interpreting ways to engage students in “thinking like a physicist.” She also has explored student and teacher questioning during conversations about science in pre-college classrooms. In addition, she has collaborated with K-12 teachers interested in inquiring into their own teaching practices and students’ learning. She can be reached at vanzeee at

    Elizabeth Gire is an associate professor of physics at Oregon State University. She is the current instructor of this physics course for prospective elementary and middle school teachers. She also teaches physics courses for majors. Her research focuses upon ways in which to engage students in seeking coherence among different representations of physics knowledge. She also has designed and taught a course that explicitly engages students in developing knowledge of sense-making strategies, metacognitive skills, and productive beliefs about the nature of doing physics as well as in increasing their awareness and appreciation of physics sense-making processes. She can be reached at giree at

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