In the fall of 2021, I taught a first-year seminar on energy, environment, and sustainability at my 4-year state college. The primary goal of this course was to prepare students for success in college. I also wanted to introduce the joys of physics and the rigor of math to my audience through this timely topic. I was also hoping to attract more students into our physics program since this would be their first science course in college. Many of them hadn’t done physics in the second half of high school. Over the course of the semester, I learned that generating buy-in and taking a scaffolded approach to math-based problem solving are important in nurturing student engagement. I also learned to design my pedagogy around curiosity, experimentation, and data analysis. In this manuscript, I describe the initial missteps, the modified course outline, and the final takeaways from my experience.

I teach...

Supplementary Material

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