PET Goals

The pedagogical structure and activities included in the PET curriculum are designed to help students achieve the following three course goals:

  1. Physics Content: To help students develop a deep understanding of a set of physics ideas that can be used to explain interesting phenomena. For prospective and practicing teachers, these include ideas that are included in the science curricula of elementary schools.

  2. Nature of Science: To help students practice the scientific process and understand how knowledge is developed within a scientific community: That doing science involves using evidence and creative thinking; that knowledge is established through collaboration and consensus; and that science knowledge can change over time.

  3. Learning about learning: To help students become more aware of how their own physics ideas change and develop over time, and how the structure of the learning environment and curriculum facilitate these changes. Part of this involves having students examine how the the thinking of elementary students evolves while they engage in scientific inquiry, and then make connections to PET students' own learning.

Other pages on this web site provide information about the content of PET (Goal 1) and the Learning about Learning component (Goal 3). 

The PET pedagogy is designed to enable students to develop physics ideas in ways consistent with how science knowledge is developed in a scientific community and with our understanding of how people learn: 

Students in PET have the opportunity to compare the ideas they develop in class with ones that are consistent with national standards and accepted by scientists. Specific reading and discussion activities included in the curriculum help students become aware of the nature of science (Goal 2) and of their own learning of the ideas (Goal 3).