Syllabus Essentials in Life Science

Syllabus Essentials in Life Science

Syllabus Essentials in Life Science

Northeast Georgia RESA:

Northeast Georgia RESA strives to provide exemplary services by working collaboratively with systems and schools to build and sustain high performing learning cultures where students are globally competitive. Our mission is to enhance student achievement through building capacity in schools and providing shared services. This course was developed in correlation with our vision and mission.

This course provides candidates with the opportunity to increase their science content and pedagogical knowledge appropriate to K-5 teaching. The coursework is equivalent to a graduate-level college course. Successful participants will earn 5 PLU’s at the completion of this course. Program evidence must be at the acceptable level to earn PLU’s. The course will be delivered in a blended format of face to face and online instruction with the online instruction not to exceed more than 40% of the course. The assignments in this course are designed to assist the candidate in fulfilling Authentic Residency and Portfolio requirements.

Note: Changes and adjustments may be made to this syllabus when judged appropriate by the instructor. Such changes, should they occur, will be announced in class or emailed. Refer to the PSC K5 Science Endorsement Standards for Learning Outcomes.


This course focuses on preparing K-5 science specialist candidates to:

  • Understand and use the major concepts of life science including heredity, classification, cells, ecology and genetics
  • Develop critical thinking by nurturing collaboration, hands-on exploration, problem-based inquiry, and technology utilization
  • Select and use a variety of formative and summative assessment techniques to monitor student progress, gauge students’ scientific understanding, and interpret school-based progress.

The following ideals are embedded in all courses:

  • All courses emphasize content knowledge with a focus on the big ideas of science, the nature of science and conceptual understanding
  • All courses are designed to infuse pedagogical strategies with content knowledge and are delivered in a manner to model good teaching practices
  • All courses embed the use of the inquiry based learning, safety, applications to “real world”, the metric system, and integrating among science disciplines and other subject areas including mathematics
  • The courses will emphasize the K-5 PSC Science Endorsement rules, the National Science Education Standards (NSES) and the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS)

Text & Resources

Membership to the National Science Teachers Association - $100 in order to access online content resources such as Scilinks, Science Objects, a professional learning community and access to articles from the journals: “The Science Teacher”, “Science Scope”, and “Science & Children.” This one time charge will occur during the first endorsement course.

Optional Resources: AIMS Elementary Science Books

Michaels, Sarah, Andrew W. Shouse and Heidi A. Schweingruber. Ready, Set, Science! Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms. National Research Academies Press. 2008.

Klentschy, Michael P. Using Science Notebooks in Elementary Classrooms. NSTA Press. 2008.

Keely, Page. Uncovering Student Ideas in Science Volumes 1 – 4. NSTA Press.

Additional readings may be required.

Primary Web Resources Life Science:

  • Evolution & the Nature of Science Institute

  • Access Excellence –
  • Hippocampus –
  • The Biology Project –
  • NSTA Science Objects

Instructional Strategies:

Introduction to Safety (PSC Rule 7)

Pedagogy Focus: Introduction to Inquiry, Learning Cycle & 5E Inquiry Model Lessons (PSC Rule 2)

Mathematics Focus: Overview of the Metric System (PSC Rules 1 (ii)(III), 3 & 4)

Literacy Focus: Journaling (Writing) – participants will maintain a journal during the duration of the course & will begin an electronic portfolio for the final endorsement portfolio (PSC Rules 3 & 4)

Technology Focus: Introduction to NSTA website (Science Objects and other resources); Life Science Resource websites; Review interactive websites such as those are and CIESE to determine potential classroom uses (PSC Rule 4 (iv))

Assessment Focus: Formative & Summative Assessment Techniques (PSC Rule 6)

Unifying Principles:

NSES Unifying Concepts of form & function, constancy, change, and measurement, evolution & equilibrium, systems, order & organization (PSC Rule 1 (ii))

Attendance Policy

As a member of a professional learning community, it is expected that you demonstrate responsible attendance—arrive punctually and remain the entire time. Tardiness and leaving early must be discussed with the instructor before its occurrence. Candidates must attend no less than 90% of the class sessions. For the 50 hour class, candidates must be in class no less than 45 hours. If an absence or tardiness is unavoidable, please notify the instructor by email as soon as possible. Failure to be present 90% of the class sessions may cause the candidate to lose credit for the entire course. The candidate is responsible for contacting the instructor for make-up work (if deemed necessary) and a class peer for material covered in class.

Academic Integrity Policy

You are expected to exhibit academic honesty and integrity at all times. All assignments should be your unique and original work unless a collaborative assignment has been approved or assigned by the instructor. Remember to cite all quotes or paraphrased material. It is better to over cite than not give credit to the author of a work or source that you are using in your assignment, paper, or project. When material is used from other sources, cite and reference the sources using current APA guidelines. Incidents of suspected academic dishonesty will be referred to the Endorsement Coordinator and, contingent upon investigation, may result in a candidate’s removal from and/or loss of credit for the course.

Assignments: Standards Based Assessment

All assignments will be assessed using 4 point rubrics. To receive credit for the course, the average for the assignments other than the Culminating Project must be at least a 3. Each of the criteria of the Culminating Project must be at the proficient level. Candidates should show acceptable growth in content knowledge by increase in scores from pre to post assessment.

All assignments should be submitted on the due date. Assignments may be revised once and all revised assignments must be submitted within one week of receiving instructor feedback. If you are absent on the day an assignment is due, email your work or make arrangements to send your work with a classmate. The numbers in parentheses behind the assignment description refer to the program standards to which the assignment is aligned.

Online Assignments

Respond to each discussion question and two colleagues per online discussion question. Refer to online posting rubric for guidelines.