Learning Physical Science

Learning Physical Science (LEPS) is a one-semester curriculum designed in part for prospective elementary teachers. The course uses a student-oriented pedagogy with a content focus that aims to help students develop physical science ideas included in the National Science Education Standards and the Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy. In addition to the physical science content focus, there is also a unique Learning about Learning (LAL) component, which include activities designed to help students focus on the nature of science, on the learning processes of elementary school students, and on their own learning.

The LEPS curriculum has been taught at two-year and four-year institutions; has been adapted for a science methods course in schools of education; and can be offered as a workshop for practicing elementary teachers.  In addition, the ESET (Elementary Science and Everyday Thinking) set of activities have also been developed for elementary school teachers to use in their own classrooms.

Resources are available to help faculty implement LEPS in their classrooms and for staff development leaders to implement a LEPS workshop for practicing teachers. These resources include a DVD with a comprehensive set of resources for instructors, a web-based teacher guide, and introductory workshops at professional meetings. Physical science faculty may also want to take a look at the related PET (Physics and Everyday Thinking) curriculum. Similar to LEPS in structure and pedagogy, PET is a one-semester general education physics course.


Development of the LEPS project has been  supported by the National Science Foundation Grant ESI-0096856. The LEPS curriculum, pedagogy and web-based professional development resources have been partially adapted from three other NSF-supported projects: The Constructing Physics Understanding (CPU) Project (NSF Grant ESI-9454341), the Constructing Ideas in Physical Science (CIPS) Project (NSF Grant ESI-9812299), and the CIPS Professional Development Project (NSF Grant ESI-0138900).