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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Prac Inquiry in Physics Ed 2 & Physics Lab 3
Module Code PS483
School School of Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Eilish McLoughlin
Semester 2: Eilish McLoughlin
Autumn: Eilish McLoughlin
Module TeachersEilish McLoughlin
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module will provide students with the necessary practical skills and competencies to design and carry out physics experiments appropriate to the junior and senior cycle physics second level curricula. The workshops will develop future physics teachers pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and metacognition skills through inquiry-based teaching, learning and assessment approaches. Students will be provided an opportunity to inquire into their own practice of using IBL through the use of Practitioner Inquiry, a systematic study by a teacher used to inquiry into their own practice. Parallels will be drawn between IBL for students and Practitioner Inquiry (PI) for teachers. Students enrolled in this module will form their own professional learning community, and through this community inquire into their own practice using a practitioner inquiry approach. By engaging in this module, students will: Learn about and conduct a Practitioner Inquiry (PI) Become an active member of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) Learn about and work collaboratively to build skills in Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) in Physics Education. By collaboratively reviewing, critiquing and developing teaching, learning and assessment practices in Physics Education, student will develop skills that will prepare them to be future leaders of Physics Education in schools. By participating in professional learning communities they will also develop skills that will allow them to build future relationships with early year's practitioner, teachers, learners, parents and the wider STEM community.

Learning Outcomes

1. Use theories, concepts and evidence from key educational research to reflect on current teaching, learning and assessment practices in Physics education.
2. Demonstrate their understanding of how different elements of IBL can be used in different classroom contexts.
3. Design a Practitioner Inquiry (PI) to inquire into their own practice of using IBL in Physics education.
4. Conduct a Practitioner Inquiry to inquire into their own practice of using IBL in Physics education
5. Demonstrate expertise to actively participate in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) with teachers and other stakeholders in education.
6. Engage in critical discussion and debate relating to physics education.
7. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of a wide range physics experiments appropriate to the junior and senior cycle physics curricula
8. Apply inquiry based learning approaches for teaching physics as a laboratory subject at Junior and Senior Cycle level
9. Reflect on inquiry based learning approaches to teaching, learning and assessement in physics
10. Apply appropriate safe laboratory practices

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Laboratory18Laboratory based investigations
Professional Practice36Conduct and Report on own Practitioner Inquiry
Assignment Completion18Prepare plan and presentation of own investigations
Fieldwork115.5Independent preparation and reflections
Workshop18Students will engage in inquiry based physics workshops designed specifically for use with in-service and pre-service teachers. The development of critical thinking skills, scientific modelling, pedagogical content knowledge (how to teach the material) and metacognition (how do I know that I know what I know) are firmly embedded in these workshops. Students will submit laboratory portfolio of investigations conducted.
Professional Practice10Students will be supported as a member of a professional learning community to carrry out their own Practitioner Inquiry on the use of Inquiry based learning in the classroom.
Report18Students will showcase and discuss the role and impact of inquiry based learning and practitioner inquiry approaches in physics education.
Independent Study142Student self-directed learning
Total Workload: 375.5

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Practitioner inquiry
Students will participate in a professional learning community to support them carrying out a practitioner inquiry on the use of inquiry based learning in their own classroom. Participation in the community will require online communication with other members of the PLC. During this period students will complete tasks related to their practitioner inquiry. These tasks will be included in their final professional portfolio.

Experimental Investigations
Students will engage in experimental investigations in Physics and develop skills in designing and carrying out investigations in physics.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Professional PortfolioSubmit a professional portfolio to showcase the design and use of inquiry based learning in the classroom. Report on findings from data/evidence collected as part of a practitioner inquiry. Reflect on and share experiences of working as part of a Professional Learning Community to carry out a practitioner inquiry.67%Once per semester
Laboratory PortfolioSubmit a laboratory portfolio for experiments conducted during the semester.33%Once per semester
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Dana, N. & Yendol-Hoppey, D.,: 2014, The Reflective Educator's Guide to Classroom Research: Learning to Teach and Teaching to Learn Through Practitioner Inquiry, 2nd Edition, Corwin,
  • Dana, N. , Thomas, C. and Boynton S.: 2011, Inquiry. A Districtwide Approach to Staff and Student Learning,, Corwin Sage Company.,
  • Harlen W.: 2012, Inquiry in science education, https://www.fondation-lamap.org/sites/default/files/upload/media/minisites/action_internationale/inquiry_in_science_education.pdf,
  • McDermott, L.C.: 1996, Physics by Inquiry: An Introduction to Physics and the Physical Sciences, John Wiley & Sons,
  • Timperley, H., Wilson, A., Barrar, H., & Fung, I.: 2007, Teacher professional learning and development: Best evidence synthesis iteration, https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2515/15341, Auckland, New Zealand: University of Auckland,
Other Resources

55298, Website, 0, ESTABLISH, European Science and Technology in Action: Building Links with Industry, School and Home., http://www.establish-fp7.eu/, 55299, Website, 0, FIBONACCI, Large scale dissemination of inquiry based science and mathematics education, http://www.fibonacci-project.eu/, 55300, Website, 0, Pathway, The Pathway to Inquiry based Science Teaching, http://pathway.ea.gr/, 55301, Website, 0, SAILS, Strategies for Assessment of Inquiry Learning in Science, http://sails-project.eu/, 55302, Website, 0, Science on Stage Ireland, http://www.scienceonstage.ie/resources/, 55303, Curriculum Documentation, 0, Department of Education and Skills, Junior Cycle Science - Curriculum Specification,, http://curriculumonline.ie/Juniorcycle/ Junior-Cycle-Subjects/Science, 55304, Curriculum Documentation, 0, Department of Education and Skills, Junior Cycle Science Guidelines for the Classroom-Based Assessments and Assessment Tasks, http://curriculumonline.ie/getmedia/02768f26-b9f4-45e7-8e19-f5efdf223d71/Assessment-guidelines_Science_Jan-2016- (1).pdf, 55305, Curriculum Documentation, 0, Department of Education and Skills, Essential: Leaving Certificate Physics Syllabus,, https://www.curriculumonline.ie/getmedia/a789272e-823f-4d40-b095-4ff8f6f195e4/SCSEC27_Physics_syllabus_eng.pdf,
Programme or List of Programmes
PDITPProfessional Diploma in Teaching Physics

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