Professional Development Opportunity Detail Page

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Name: Waves/Light Modeling Workshop in Miami
School/Institution: Florida International University
Department/Unit: Physics
City: Miami
State: FL
Opportunity Type: Modeling Workshop
Teacher Status: Preservice
Teacher Level: High School
Description: Two concurrent Modeling Workshops at Florida International University are appropriate for high school physics teachers. The mechanics workshop is prerequisite to Modeling Workshops in Waves/Light and on electricity and magnetism, which alternate each summer. In summer 2014 the Waves/Light workshop will be held.

The workshops are open to high school physics teachers nationwide, but local teachers have priority, then Florida teachers, then out-of-state teachers.

Waves/Light Peer Leaders:
     Jeffrey Rose of Cypress Bay HS
     David Kirkpatrick of Coral Park HS  

For information, contact David Jones:

Modeling Instruction is aligned with the eight science practices outlined in the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Immersing teachers in an environment where they see the instruction from the point of view of students is key to strengthening the intertwined content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. In several years of running Modeling workshops at FIU, we have found that three weeks of full-day workshops are the minimum exposure teachers need, to feel comfortable implementing Modeling Instruction in their own classes.

Objectives of Waves/Light Modeling Workshop:
After a day of reviewing their classroom experiences using Modeling Instruction, teachers work through the activities, discussions and worksheets, alternating between student and teacher modes. Throughout the course, teachers are asked to reflect on their practice and how they might apply the techniques they have learned in the course to their own classes.

Workshop content: three models of light: Unit 1 starts by modeling light as stream of tiny particles (rays), treating a variety of light behaviors including aspects of geometric optics. The second unit is introduced with experiments that reveal the inadequacy of light as a particle and explains light behavior as a wave.  Finally the wave model of light is discounted and a model of light as a photon is developed.  The units end with a brief introduction of how light can be used to explain the structure of the atom.
    Unit 1: Particle Model of Light. In this unit we develop the model of light as stream of particles to explain a variety of light behaviors including shadows, intensity, reflection and refraction.  A variety of experiences in light are pursued including simple low cost activities, high-tech activities and computer simulations.
    Unit 2: Wave Model of Light.   This unit starts with activities involving diffraction and interference. The unit activities and labs effectively transition the student from a model of light as a particle to a model of light as a wave.  A section on mechanical waves (one and two dimensional waves) is provided to support student practical comprehension of waves.
    Unit 3: Photon Model of Light.  This unit uses the photoelectric effect to support both the model of light as a wave and light as a particle.  The interaction of light with matter is emphasized.   The photoelectric effect is examined to establish the model of light as a photon.  The photon model is then used to explain spectra of light emitted by gasses.  Teachers use both interactive computer simulations and specialized equipment in this unit.

Click here to learn more about the Modeling Instruction Program and the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA) or visit to find information on Modeling Workshops nationwide and strategies to seek funding (if needed) to participate.
Start Date: 06/30/2014
End Date: 07/18/2014
Duration: 3 weeks (MTWThF) - Friday, July 4 (holiday -- no class)
Application Deadline: 06/15/2014
tentative deadline. Until filled.
Opportunity Website:
Application Link:
Sponsor Link:

Benefits and Requirements

Cost: Free
Benefits: Stipend
Professional Development/CEU
Benefit Explanation: $100/day stipend. Funded by a NSF physics research grant, these two annual Modeling Workshops are CHEPREO Education and Outreach activities.

Campus Housing available - $35 per night (with linen)
Citizenship Requirement: U.S. Citizen
Other Prerequisites: Mechanics workshop is prerequisite to 2nd semester content workshop.

Professional Development Opportunity Contact Information

Contact: David Jones, Physics Instructor (
Department of Physics, Florida Intl University
11200 SW 8 Street
Miami, FL 33199
Phone: 305-348-4881