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MonarchTeach:Course Descriptions

The philosophy underlying the design of the MonarchTeach instructional program is that by combining individualized coaching, intensive teaching experiences in secondary classrooms, and relevant STEM content, students' knowledge and skills will develop at an accelerated rate. This approach translates into a curriculum, unique in content and sequence, that allows students to obtain a STEM field degree and secondary teaching certification in 120 to 128 hours.

MonarchTeach Courses

Course Title

Introductory Courses (2 hrs)

Step 1: Inquiry Approaches to Teaching STEM (1 hr)

Step 2: Inquiry-Based STEM Lesson Design (1 hr)

STEM Education Courses (9 hrs)

Knowing and Learning in Mathematics and Science (3 hrs)

Classroom Interactions (3 hrs)

Project-Based Instruction (3 hrs)

Specialized STEM Courses (9 hrs)

Perspectives on Science and Mathematics (3 hrs)

Research Methods (3 hrs)

Functions and Modeling (3 hrs - for mathematics majors only)

Apprentice Teaching (9 hrs)

Field Experience and Seminar (9 hrs)

The MonarchTeach course sequence is a tightly articulated set of courses focused specifically on the needs of future secondary STEM teachers.

Introductory Courses

MonarchTeach students begin by taking two introductory courses. These courses are one credit hour each, and students are issued a stipend upon successful completion. Step 1 and Step 2 are taught by highly-qualified master teachers, non-tenured clinical faculty with exemplary secondary classroom teaching experience who work closely with students as they develop inquiry-based STEM lessons using research-based curricula and materials.

  • Step 1: Inquiry Approaches to Teaching STEM allows students to explore teaching as a career. Following an introduction to the theory and practice behind excellent inquiry-based science and mathematics instruction, students teach lessons in elementary classrooms to obtain first-hand experience in planning and implementation.
  • Step 2: Inquiry-Based STEM Lesson Design allows students to continue developing their lesson planning skills as they become familiar with exemplary middle school science and math curricula. After observing a lesson being taught in a local school district classroom, students work alone or in pairs to themselves plan and teach three inquiry-based lessons to 6th, 7th, or 8th graders.

STEM Education Courses

Each of the courses in this sequence takes an integrated approach to content and pedagogy, emphasizing a strong connection between theory and practice, as well as the explicit relationships between mathematics and science. These courses are taught by research faculty in mathematics or science education with assistance from master teachers.

  • Knowing and Learning in Mathematics and Science explores the implications of learning theories on individual learning, social (classroom) learning, and within the context of larger social justice issues. Students conduct clinical interviews to analyze individuals' reasoning about math and science problems.
  • Classroom Interactions provides theoretical and practical frameworks for analyzing different instructional activities, focusing on content development through various classroom interactions. Issues of equity are explored throughout various activities and assignments, including the design, implementation, and analysis of a multi-day high school lesson sequence.
  • Project-Based Instruction focuses on problem- and project-based curricula and processes. Students develop project-based instructional units and plan, implement, and analyze three-day problem-based teaching experiences in high school classrooms. The course culminates in a day-long high school field experience specific to mathematics or science.

Specialized STEM Content Courses

These courses provide content knowledge of particular importance for STEM teachers and often fulfill multiple degree requirements. Each makes explicit the relationships between mathematics and science and among the sciences.

  • Perspectives on Science and Mathematics is taught by faculty in the history or philosophy of science or mathematics. This course promotes an understanding that science is dynamic and has been shaped by practical needs, social conflicts, and individual personalities. Students prepare lesson plans incorporating historical science and mathematics content.
  • Research Methods is a lab course taught by a team of science research faculty. This course focuses on students' understanding of how scientists develop new knowledge. Students design, implement, and document four independent research inquiries. Topics include lab safety, experimental design, statistical analysis, mathematical modeling, peer reviewed literature, and scientific controversies.
  • Functions and Modeling, required only for mathematics majors, is taught by a mathematics faculty member with working knowledge of secondary mathematics curricula and grade level expectations. This course emphasizes mathematical content knowledge and connections, as well as lab applications of mathematics topics. Student collaboration, problem solving, and presentation of findings is emphasized.

Apprentice Teaching

In the apprentice teaching experience, students engage in 40 hours of classroom observation and on-site planning before assuming full teaching responsibilities in a secondary classroom. The experience, closely supervised by master teachers and university facilitators, promotes collaboration, reflection, and sharing. Students are observed a minimum of 10 times, each time receiving intensive feedback from a trained observer, master teacher, or the cooperating classroom teacher using a standardized MonarchTeach teacher development rubric. Students also attend a weekly seminar. Part of the time in the seminar is spent preparing and submitting a final teaching portfolio aligned with state standards and additional MonarchTeach program requirements.


Throughout their course of study, students are engaged in creating individual portfolios through which they demonstrate specific teaching proficiencies, as well as mastery of content knowledge. Using a Web-based portfolio system, students continually reflect on their experiences and select specific artifacts to support their conclusions about important concepts in secondary STEM education. A passing score on the preliminary version of the portfolio is one of the prerequisites for admission to Apprentice Teaching. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Requirements for the final portfolio, which is completed during the Apprentice Teaching semester, are more extensive, and there is an expectation of greater depth, maturity, and competence at this level as students are preparing to launch their teaching careers.