Introduction to Modeling Instruction in Mechanics

Dates: July 5-23, 2021
Meeting times: TBD
Leaders: Zhanna Glazenburg and Chris Doscher
Costs: $775 (includes one-year AMTA membership)
Option graduate-level credits: $79 per credit through the University of Pacific (up to 3 hours)
Location: Zoom

Click here to register

Course description: Physics Modeling Workshops offer teachers the opportunity to experience a structured inquiry approach to high school physics teaching from both the teacher and the student perspective.  These workshops will incorporate pedagogically appropriate technology and best practices based on physics education research. The basic paradigm of the Modeling approach is to help students overcome their preconceptions about physical systems and become proficient in the scientific modeling process, thus incorporating all of the essential scientific thinking and process skills.

In this course, you will engage in a number of modeling cycles, investigating and developing a model which describes the behavior of a carefully chosen physical system, ultimately using the resulting model to accurately predict the behavior of similar systems.  This Introduction to Modeling course is not a modeling workshop, but rather an online environment which cannot perfectly replicate the experience of collaborative scientific modeling in a face to face environment, in particular the rich discourse that participants practice and learn to facilitate. However, we believe that the online environment has several advantages.

In the process, you will:

  • examine the essential theoretical underpinnings of the modeling approach,
  • learn and practice the essential classroom practices and approaches that make learning physics work for the majority of our students,
  • use a variety of tools and techniques that can help you further hone your craft,
  • hone your understanding of physics concepts, the preconceptions your student will have, and tried and true ways to address them,
  • gain a new perspective on how using the scientific method allows students the freedom to investigate and develop these models on their own,
  • learn how to effectively moderate interactions between student groups which are designed to give students ownership of their own and each other’s learning,
  • experience and practice the potential and the challenges of an online learning environment for student-centered, interactive instruction,
  • and build a network of like-minded peers to lean upon in the months and years ahead.

You can expect 1-2 hours of additional work to do at your convenience each day. Topics will include kinematics, dynamics, energy, and possibly other topics in Mechanics.


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