The Role of Texas Physics Departments in the Preparation of K-12 Science Teachers

A Working Conference Sponsored by the Texas Sections of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society

March 6-7, 2002
Stephen F. Austin University
Nacogdoches, Texas

This conference is dedicated to the memory of H. T. (Tom) Hudson, University of the Incarnate Word, who worked tirelessly to prepare K-12 teachers.

The Texas Teacher Preparation conference was modeled on a similar conference that was held at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, June 8-9, 2000. Proceedings for that conference can be found at The Texas conference was organized to address the following questions:

  1. What should pre-service teachers know and be able to do at the end of a physics course?
  2. How do the needs of pre-service teachers differ from those of other students we teach in the physics department?
  3. What is the role of the physics department at the two-year college and four year college/university in addressing the needs of future K-12 teachers?

The science education for our future K-12 teachers faces two challenges during the next few years. The adoption of national and state science standards have obligated our local school systems to provide K-12 students with improved science course content and an understanding of the process and context of science. In addition there is a predicted need of two million new teachers in our country within the next ten years. Scientific societies, including the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and the American Association of Physics Teachers, are therefore urging the physics community to take an active role in improving the physics preparation of K-12 teachers. Such preparation involves the development of cooperative working relationships between physicists in universities and colleges and the individuals and groups involved in teaching physics to K-12 students.

Approximately 50 science educators from sectors of the education community from high schools through universities, as well as other resource people, participated in the Texas conference. Details on the structure of the conference, and the specific topics addressed as well as the outcomes can be found by following the links below.

Conference Agenda

Structure of the Conference

Opening Comments


Closing Talk by Robert Beck Clark

Summary of Conclusions from Conference

Follow-up to Conference

Comments or questions regarding this web site should be directed to David Donnelly