Three very special awards were created by AMTA to honor three people who were instrumental in the formation and spread of Modeling Instruction since its inception.



Dr. Jane Jackson left Scottsdale Community College (Scottsdale, AZ) in 1994 to join Dr. David Hestenes as the Co-Director of the Modeling Instruction Program at Arizona State University.  In addition to the myriad of administrative tasks she was responsible for, Jane sought to build relationships with and connections between the many constituencies within the Modeling community.  Dr. Jackson continues to be a vital member of Modeling Instruction, providing Listserv management, workshop scheduling support, grant applications, etc.  The AMTA is pleased to acknowledge Jane’s decades of service to the Modeling community with the Jane Jackson Award for Notable Service to Modeling Instruction.



Dissatisfied with his students’ performance on the precursor to the Force Concept Inventory, Malcolm Wells took the initiative to change his method of teaching.  Combining ideas from David Hestenes’ modeling theory of instruction and Karplus’ learning cycle, Malcolm developed the modeling cycle.  He applied these theories to practice in his physics classroom and found proof of their efficacy in improved student performance on conceptual assessments.  Malcolm shared his Modeling Method of Instruction with his colleagues through his leadership of NSF-funded workshops.  To honor its namesake, the Malcolm Wells Leadership Award is awarded to those members of AMTA who by their example and their contributions pave the way for others to innovate and/or improve Modeling Instruction.



David Hestenes, widely regarded as the father of Modeling Instruction, began developing his Modeling Theory of science and cognition and writing about models and modeling as a framework for the design of teaching and learning science in 1979.  He guided Malcolm Wells in his development of the Modeling Method and obtained 16 years of NSF support for its development and dissemination nationwide.  To assess the effectiveness of Modeling Instruction, Hestenes and his students developed the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) which is now the most widely-used physics concept inventory in the world.  His efforts inspired the formation of AMTA by a group of Modeling teachers at the expiration of NSF funding.  We are pleased to acknowledge David’s exceptional contributions to advance the understanding of student thinking and learning and practice of science teaching with the David Hestenes Award for Exceptional Contributions to Modeling Instruction.


List of Past Award Winners

Year Jane Jackson Award Malcolm Wells Award David Hestenes Award
2016 Mitch Johnson Michael Crofton Larry Dukerich
Jack Romanowicz
2019 Dr. Kathy Harper  Melissa Girmscheid Phil Culcasi
2021 Michael Gallagher Ariel Serkin Dr. Mark Lattery
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