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Name: Mechanics Modeling Workshop
School/Institution: University of New Mexico
Department/Unit: Physics and Astronomy
City: Albuquerque
State: NM
Opportunity Type: Modeling Workshop
Teacher Status: Preservice
Teacher Level: Middle School
High School
Description: This workshop is for physics and physical science teachers who want to create student-centered, active-inquiry classrooms. The workshop will occur at the University of New Mexico; it  is open to high school and middle school science teachers nationwide.

Peer leaders:
Richard McNamara
Jeff Saul, Ph.D., Physics Education Researcher, University level modeler, and UNM Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy

To exemplify effective instruction, this workshop is taught using a robust pedagogy, Modeling Instruction, developed at Arizona State University. Physics content in mechanics is reorganized around basic models to increase its structural coherence. Participants are supplied with a complete set of course materials (resources) and work through activities alternately in the roles of student and teacher.

The Modeling Method is introduced as a systematic approach to the design of curriculum and instruction. The name Modeling Instruction expresses an emphasis on making and using conceptual models of physical phenomena as central to learning and doing science. Using models and modeling in science education is recommended by NSES, AAAS Project 2061 and the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Student activities are organized into modeling cycles that engage students systematically in all aspects of modeling. (Specifics of the modeling cycle are at The teacher guides students through each modeling cycle, with an eye to improving the quality of student discourse by insisting on accurate use of scientific terms, on clarity and cogency of expressed ideas and arguments. After a few cycles, students gain skill at conducting scientific investigations without excessive prompting from the teacher. The main job of the teacher is then to supply them with more powerful modeling tools. Lecturing is restricted to scaffolding new concepts and principles on a need basis.

For questions, please email Jeff Saul: SaulJ@me.comĀ 

Click here to learn more about the Modeling Instruction Program. Visit to find information on Modeling Workshops nationwide, and to view possible strategies on how to gain funding (if needed) to attend.
Start Date: 06/11/2012
End Date: 06/29/2012
Application Deadline: 05/30/2012
Opportunity Website:
Application Link:
Sponsor Link:

Benefits and Requirements

Cost: FREE.  UNM graduate credit available at additional cost.
Benefits: Stipend
Professional Development/CEU
College Transcript Credit
Benefit Explanation: Funded by Conoco-Phillips.
Optional graduate credit is low cost (three credits)
Housing in dorm or extended stay motel.
Each teacher will receive $400 worth of materials, including $250 of lab supplies.
$750 stipend for New Mexico teachers.
Other Prerequisites: One semester of college level algebra-based physics is highly recommended.

Professional Development Opportunity Contact Information

Contact: Jeff Saul, Ph.D., Lecturer in Physics
Department of Physics, University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Phone: (954) 665-5373