This study initiated with the recent changes and challenges of the global pandemic in our life and education. While discussing the reasons for adapting to the so-called 'Fourth Industrial Revolution,' the current and future needs for teaching and learning contemporary scientific knowledge and skills are explored. This thesis is an exploratory study of science education for middle or junior high school students that gives reasons for developing a wave-quantum-curriculum to support their physics learning in early adolescence (Grades 8–9). Situated in the context of an extracurricular after-school program, the study discusses and illustrates how a teacher develops such a curriculum and utilizes technology and pedagogical tools to engage and encourage young students, particularly girls, to learn mathematical sciences connected to their everyday lives and lived experiences. To this end, I combine theories of various curriculum scholars, the challenging times of the pandemic, and my lived experiences in teaching and learning to create an updated and adapted curriculum and pedagogy of physics from waves principles to quantum mechanics fundamentals. I argue that an early initiation to big ideas and basic concepts in physics not only can develop youths' initiation in science, but can also inspire further physics learning and continuing interest over time. Broadening girls' participation and increasing their self-confidence in physics and other STEM-related disciplines are significant aspects of this early initiation. The study includes a demonstration of the effectiveness of simulation-based inquiry learning and the use of technological and pedagogical approaches in teaching quantum physics.
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Thesis advisor: MacKinnon, Allan
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