Physics Modeling: Mechanics => June 11th - June 29th
Saul @ firstname.lastname@example.org for
The University of New Mexico is offering a full three-week Modeling Instruction Workshops in Physics (Mechanics) in June 2012. Modeling Instruction
has been twice recognized by the US Dept of Education (one of 7 best
K-12 education technology programs-2000 and one of two exemplary
programs in K-12 Science Education-2001). The Modeling Instruction
project is a national program that has trained thousands of high
school science teachers in activity-based learning using guided-inquiry
and problem-based learning techniques. Modeling Instruction also
strongly ties in with the goals and funding of No Child Left Behind.
Many teachers have said this is the best workshop they have ever
attended. Most teachers report that their students achieve statistically
significant learning gains in annual progress and increased physics
enrollment within 2-3 years of implementing Modeling Instruction
in their classrooms.
Both beginning and veteran physics teachers who would like to try a more activity-based approach will
benefit from this workshop. Teachers of other sciences and math teachers
who want to use a more activity-based approach in their classrooms
would also benefit from taking this workshop.
What is Modeling Instruction?
- Modeling is about making and using scientific
descriptions (models) of physical phenomena and processes. Modeling
Instruction is a guided-inquiry method for teaching science by
actively engaging students in all aspects of scientific modeling.
- In Modeling Instruction, key ideas/key equations
are discovered by students through experiments. The experiments
are followed by worksheets. So the students are building and testing
key ideas, both conceptually and mathematically through the experiments
- Scientists structure their knowledge and build
their knowledge around models. Modeling instruction curriculum
structures the material around 6-9 key models. The focus on each
unit is developing the model, deploying the model, and extending
the model to new situations.
- The majority of class time is spent on students
working on small groups on activities designed to help them learn
physics by doing physics and then the groups report their finding
to the class in a Q and A session.
- As with most modern physics curricula based on
research on student learning, there is a heavy emphasis on conceptual
Teacher comments from the Modeling Instruction Website
on the Physics Modeling workshop:
- In thirty years of teaching, nothing has impacted
my teaching like the ideas I’ve learned in modeling. It is
the best idea to enter the teaching methods I have ever seen.
- After the first year of teaching using the modeling
method, I wished I had learned about modeling years ago.
- Most useful course I have taken since becoming
- Thanks to taking physics modeling course workshop,
I am highly qualified in physics.
- I learned a tremendous amount and am all fired
up to teach physics this fall!
- I learned more about teaching and physics this
summer than in 5 years of college!
- It was, without a doubt, the single greatest professional
development experience of my career.
Many instructors report that this type of problem/laboratory-based
learning is more fun for students and instructors than lectures.
The curriculum materials are modular and can be used to either replace
or supplement existing curriculum.
A side benefit of taking this workshp is that many
teachers find their own physics content knowledge and their physics
pedagogy knowledge (pedagogical content knowledge-PCK) improve from
participating in the workshop.
Physics Modeling Workshops are intensive three-week
workshops that thoroughly prepare teachers with the instructional
method and content for either the mechanics or electricity
and magnetism portions of a high school physics course. Content is
reorganized around basic models to increase its structural coherence.
Participants are supplied with a complete set of course materials
and work through activities alternately in the roles of student or
teacher, as they practice techniques of guided inquiry and cooperative
learning. The primary instructional mode is guided-inquiry centered
around problem/laboratory-based learning alternated with worksheets
that emphasize conceptual understanding and problem solving. Although
three-weeks is a long time for a workshop, most teachers need three
week of immersion in a Modeling Workshop to begin to transform their
teaching, as Modeling Instruction is a complex but highly effective
will be taught by Rich McNamara, a high school modeler with many years experience leading modeling workshop as well as classroom
teaching with modeling experience. Jeff
Saul, a UNM lecturer with experience in using the modeling curriculum
in university classes and research in physics education will also be assisting. Teachers
will come away with a complete curriculum notebook w/CD (electronic
materials can be edited), videos of expert practice, and supplemental
materials including some of materials needed for classroom implementation
of modeling in high school science classes.