__How will your student learn physics?__(Used with permission from Mark Schober, John Burroughs School, St. Louis Missouri, http://modelingphysics.org)

Although you probably won't get a feel for it by looking at the on-line curriculum, this physics course is very different from the "chalk and talk" or "sage on the stage" modes of teaching (and learning). The course is built around a small number of key models of physics. The goal of the models is to explicitly aid the student in building a coherent knowledge base, otherwise physics can be an endless list of seemingly unrelated topics. Through extensive lab explorations the students develop and refine the models. Class time is also spent with the students presenting problem solutions on large dry-erase marker boards. This gives the students opportunity to practice verbalizing the model. The teacher's role is to guide the discussion by asking questions so that concepts are reinforced, misconceptions are brought to light, and the coherency of the models are made explicit.

The curriculum materials are not magic. However, the structure of the materials is designed to have a clear conceptual thread running through each unit that clearly ties to an underlying physical model. The way in which the student worksheets are used in the development of the student understanding of a physical model is crucial.

Here's my (Mark Schober) way of summarizing what modeling is about: Each unit begins with a lab activity that clearly develops the key features of the physical model (for a uniformly accelerated particle, for example). These introductory labs are set up so that the students confront a physical situation and have to identify variables that would affect how the physical situation behaves (no cookbook labs here). Using scientific skills such as hypothesizing, conducting a control of variables experiment, gathering and graphing data, and mathematically analyzing graphs, students develop multiple representations (graphical, diagrammatical, mathematical, and verbal) of the physical model. Post-lab discussions feature students presenting their representations of the physical model to the class using large dry-erase boards. The teacher asks the students to recap their laboratory procedure and to explain their representations of the physical situation. Additional questions ask students to: explain how one representation relates to another; confront misconceptions; clarify definitions; and make conjectures about related situations not yet experienced. The discussion of worksheets proceeds in the same way: students write up problems and lead the discussion while the teacher guides the students' conceptual development through Socratic questioning. Knowing what questions need to be asked takes practice -- a book like Arnold Arons' _A Guide to Teaching Introductory Physics_ is a great resource. (But the best way is to see the process from the point of view of a student through a summer modeling workshop.) Additional labs (some of which may be a bit more proscribed) help students to flesh out the details of the model and the worksheets give the students the opportunity to practice what they have learned.

So while the curriculum materials may be the backbone of modeling (and a very flexible one that can exist in innumerable variations) modeling instruction involves all of this other meat around the bones.

I (Mr. Hoffman) participated in a one month workshop in June of 2013 in order to learn and build the skills needed for modeling instruction. I do plan to seek further training in Mod Physics and in Mod Chemistry. The modeling project was developed at Arizona State University and many of the curricular materials on this site were produced by the nearly 200 teachers involved with the modeling project over the last ten years.

For a more thorough description of modeling, Mr. Schober has created a formal article about Modeling Instruction in High School Physics.

For additional information about modeling, see the Modeling Workshop Project web site at ASU.

Instead of relying on lectures and textbooks, the Modeling Instruction program emphasizes active student construction of conceptual and mathematical models in an interactive learning community. Students are engaged with simple scenarios to learn to model the physical world.

The videos below will give you an excellent explanation of the research and theory behind Modeling Instruction. You will also view a classroom undergoing what is called "whiteboarding" where the bulk of learning, assessing, evaluating, and creating takes place.

A Nice Resource on "What is Modeling Instruction?" http://www.mimodelinginstruction.org/what-is-modeling.html

**Modeling Instruction in the Science Classroom (podcast)**

Mark Schober, president of the American Modeling Teacher’s Association**,**shares a history of modeling, how it can be used in the classroom, and that it is for more than just physics courses. *From NSTA’s Lab Out Loud podcast.*

**A Modeling Approach to Physics Instruction (video)**

In this video, teacher Seth Guiñals-Kupperman explains how he uses Modeling Instruction in his physics classroom.*From WNET/PBS Teacher’s Domain resources.*

**Introductory readings for those seeking more information**

**Curriculum materials:**

These resources culled from the official Modeling Instruction Website at Arizona State University.

Special thanks to Frank Noschese and his guidance to a beginning Modeling Instructor like myself. Find out more about Mr. Noschese at his website: http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/

Mark Schober, president of the American Modeling Teacher’s Association

In this video, teacher Seth Guiñals-Kupperman explains how he uses Modeling Instruction in his physics classroom.

- Slideshow about Modeling Instruction by Larry Dukerich
- Modeling Instruction: An Effective Model for Science Education (Science Educator, Vol. 17, #1. Spring 2008 NSELA) By Jane Jackson, Larry Dukerich, and David Hestenes
- Modeling Instruction in High School Physics by high school teacher and Modeling Workshop leader Mark Schober
**A Model Centered Approach to High School Physics**by high school teacher David Braunschweig- Videos of teachers using Modeling Instruction
- The Modeling Method: A Synopsis
- The Modeling Cycle
- Teachers using Modeling Instruction share their Modeling Stories.

- Kelly O’Shea’s model building storylines and materials from her blog.
- ASU Modeling Instruction materials
- Mark Schober’s ModelingPhysics.org website of materials
- Web Links for Modelers

These resources culled from the official Modeling Instruction Website at Arizona State University.

Special thanks to Frank Noschese and his guidance to a beginning Modeling Instructor like myself. Find out more about Mr. Noschese at his website: http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/

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