68006 - Elements of Physics and Physics Teaching

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Clean water and sanitation Affordable and clean energy Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The student is expected to reach the following learning objectives:

- disciplinary knowledge on selected topics within a more general view of the cultural role of Physics and its history;

- ability to re-construct basic disciplinary concepts taking into account the various interconnected aspects of scientific knowledge: the experience based, the linguistic and the mathematical ones;

- ability to design educational projects devoted to infant and primary school levels according to the approach to teaching/learning science based on the guided transition from spontaneous and individual ideas to shared concepts that aim at the accepted disciplinary knowledge.

Course contents

The course is organized into two modules and runs during the second semester, from the middle of February to the end of May.

The first module that will be implemented (Module 1, 24h) deals with calorimetry and climate change, including radiation-matter interaction aiming at interpreting the greenhouse effect.

The second one (Module 2, 24h) deals with Optics, in particular with geometrical optics.

Within these topics, the following knowledge and competences are introduced and developed:

- basic Physics concepts and peculiarities of Physics knowledge;

- phenomenological approach and model building in Physics;

- the role of children's spontaneous ideas in the construction of scientific knowledge

- the role of scientific education in the knowledge society.

The course also includes 1 CFU of laboratory activity.

Science labs: a transversal laboratory and disciplinary laboratories (only for students who started their graduate course in/after A.Y. 2016-2017)



(on behalf of the Teaching Board of the Single Cycle Degree of Primary Teacher Education on 06/16/2021)

The unprecedented situation associated to the sanitary emergence prompted some modifications to the well-established plan of laboratories, only for the academic year 2021/2022 and only for scientific laboratories (disciplinary and interdisciplinary). Recall the complicated logistics, some turns of scientific laboratories will take place at the Opificio Golinelli (with no remote attending), while other will be delivered online through Microsoft Teams only.

Specifically, during April/May 2022 there will be 5 disciplinary laboratories (two Chemistry laboratories, two Physics laboratories and one Biology laboratory) and 7 interdisciplinary laboratories entirely held at the Opificio Golinelli (with no remote attending). Moreover, there will be 1 entirely online disciplinary laboratory for each discipline and 1 entirely online interdisciplinary laboratory. During July, there will be 1 entirely online Biology disciplinary laboratory and 1 entirely online interdisciplinary laboratory.

The choice will be up to the single student, who will be allowed to select the desired participation option. This is strictly associated to the laboratory date: it will not be allowed to take part in a laboratory held at the Opificio Golinelli through Microsft Teams, nor will it be allowed to take part in an online laboratory from the Opificio Golinelli. All scientific laboratories are equivalent in both flavors, and the same presence, participation, hand in, and assessment rules will hold. In every applicable date, the student will be admitted to an online laboratory (either disciplinary or interdisciplinary) only providing the positive reply of the AQ commission, which retains the right to reject or approve the request (as explicitly stated on the Website of the graduate course).


Starting from A. Y. 2018/2019, science labs have been revisited and improved, resulting not only in the reorganization of the disciplinary laboratories but also in the realization of interdisciplinary laboratories spanning over Physics, Chemistry, Ecology and Biology.

Given the 360° education required for future primary school teachers, these laboratories were planned to be both interdisciplinary, thus involving the four scientific disciplines, and multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary as well: maximum effort will be put into highlighting links with non-scientific knowledge, in order to clarify that there is no dichotomy between sciences and humanities.

The main goals of this rearrangement of the scientific education of teachers are to:

• stimulate curiosity towards scientific themes;

• highlight the ethic and social impact of science and technology;

• communicate the importance of delivering a scientific education starting from the lowest school levels;

• provide conceptual and practical tools mandatory to plan and carry out science-based activities with pupils.

Science labs focused on single disciplines are activated as well, after being improved following aforementioned goals and rationales.

The interdisciplinary laboratory deals with a topic underpinning all the scientific disciplines involved in the master degree with the aim of showing that the same issue can be investigated under different frameworks, each related to a different discipline, and how we can obtain “a big picture” of a given issue by integrating all the different aspects. Disciplinary laboratories, dealing with Physics, Chemistry, Ecology, and Biology, are strictly interconnected with lectures: these classes have the specific purpose of “putting into practice, showing, and touching” some of the course’s topics.

Students will be divided into small work teams and will carry out simple experiments. The lab teacher will conduct also the discussion of results. Suitable experiments have been laid down so that they can be easily reproduced at pre-primary and primary schools.

The following disciplinary laboratories have been planned:

“Light and sight”

“Light and colour”

“Touching DNA”

On the other hand, the planned interdisciplinary laboratory is:

Not just HtwoO: The unexpected features of water

Students must follow two laboratories: the interdisciplinary laboratory and one of the disciplinary laboratories of their choice. The scheduling will be communicated before the beginning of the course.

Each laboratory provides 1 CFU, meaning 8 presence hours and 17 homework hours. In fact, laboratories involve not only the active participation of students but also a “final product”. After the completion of the laboratory experiences, where some disciplinary aspects are investigated and some strategies for stimulating scientific knowledge are proposed, the planning of a didactic activity is requested (which might be useful during school trainings as well).

Students will be graded by lab teachers with -1, 0, or +1 (on a 30 scale). The grade obtained in one of the disciplinary laboratories will add to the final score of the Physics course, while the grade obtained in the interdisciplinary laboratory will add to the final score of the integrated Chemistry and Ecology course. These grades will be available up to the completion of the grading procedure. You cannot register for any disciplinary exam (Elements of General Biology, Elements of Chemistry and Ecology, Elements of Physics) unless you have attended both a disciplinary laboratory and an interdisciplinary laboratory.




During the course, teaching materials are made available on the online platform “Insegnamenti online”.

The materials include slides and presentations, excerpts from Physics textbooks and other materials for study (e.g.: tutorials, guides for group activities, questionnaires, etc.).

The following texts are suggested (and available from the teacher when out of print) for more in depth study of the course topics.


Texts for module 1:

- Guidoni P., Arcà M., Guardare per sistemi e guardare per variabili, riedizione a cura di AIF.

- Giordano E., Longo C., Majorino Bonelli P. (1988). Calore e Temperatura. Edizioni EMME.

- Romeni C. (2014). La Fisica dei cambiamenti Climatici. Edizioni: Zanichelli.

- Pasini A., Fiorani L. (2010). Il pianeta che scotta. Capire il dibattito sui cambiamenti climatici. Città Nuova. [FACOLTATIVO]

- F. Taddia, E. Palazzi (2019). Perché la terra ha la febbre?Editoriale Scienza. [FACOLTATIVO]


Texts for module 2:

- Arcà M., Ferrarini M., Garuti N., Guerzoni D., Guidoni P., Magni M. (1989). Esperienze di luce. Edizioni EMME

- Website: http://www.didascienze.formazione.unimib.it/Lucevisione/Index.html

Text for oral examination:

- Gagliardi M., Giordano E. (2014), Metodi e strumenti per l'insegnamento e l'apprendimento della fisica, EdiSES

Teaching methods

The course is so designed as to illustrate a large variety of educational methods that can be used in teaching science at elementary level.

For this purpose the students experience on themselves different types of lesson (socratic/dialogical vs. academic lectures), seminars by experts, brainstorming activities, group work supported by tutorials, peer-to peer evaluation, microteaching activities.

During the lab sessions the students are requested to carry out and discuss simple experiments and/or work in small groups on materials provided by the tutor. These activities too are intended to suggest possible activities to include in science teaching at elementary level.

Assessment methods

The final examination, concerning both modules, is made of a compulsory written part and an optional oral part. The written examination is assessed on a 30 point scale (18 meaning "pass") and the  mark of 30 cum laude can be only awarded after taking the oral examination.

The written examination contains both open-end and multiple- choice questions, concerning Physics topics addressed in the modules and taking into account the connected educational aspects and problems. The written examination is individual and takes about 1 hour.

If rejected at the exam, it is possible to have a second chance.

Only after succeeding in the written part and after having attended the laboratory course, the student can ask to take also the oral part of the examination (that is an optional).

Participation into lab activities is mandatory and the students will be graded by lab teachers with -1, 0, or +1 (on a 30 scale), according to the level of participation shown by the candidate.

For ERASMUS students only: possibility to arrange an oral exam in Italian Language.

In order to take the exam it is absolutely necessary for a student to have enrolled on Almaesami before the enrolment deadline. It is not possible to take any exam without formal enrolment there. In case of problems students MUST contact the UFFICIO DIDATTICO.



The management of written exams will take place remotely through the joint use of the platform called Online Exams (EOL) and Zoom.

Teaching tools

Teaching materialsintroduced during the course will be availableon the online platform “Insegnamenti online”.

Laboratory devices and materialsnecessary for performing experiments and discuss educational implications are provided by the teacher.

Video and audio recordersare used to present multimedia materials (e.g.: educational applets, movies, recorded materials from implementation of teaching sequences in primary schools, etc.).

Office hours

See the website of Giulia Tasquier

See the website of Cecilia Bulgarelli