Professional Development Opportunity Detail Page

Previous Page  |  New Search  |  Browse All

Name: Mechanics Modeling Workshop
School/Institution: Hiram Johnson High School
Department/Unit: Science Dept., 6879 14th Ave
City: Sacramento
State: CA
Opportunity Type: Modeling Workshop
Teacher Status: Preservice
Teacher Level: High School
Description: CANCELLED on April 15, because only one teacher had registered by then.  (The application deadline was later, but little interest was shown by April 15.)

This workshop is for high school physics and physical science teachers worldwide. Pre-service physics teachers, as well as college faculty, are welcome.

PEER LEADERS: Don Yost and Colleen Megowan. Both live in Sacramento and have led numerous Modeling Workshops.


Modeling Instruction focuses on key basic physics particle models and uses a process-oriented inquiry approach that is extremely effective in helping students develop independence and problem-solving ability. Immersing teachers in an environment where they see the instruction from the point of view of the students is key to strengthening the intertwined mechanics content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge.

1. Educate teachers in use of a model-centered, guided-inquiry, interactive engagement method of teaching mechanics concepts that are fundamental to all sciences.
2. Help participants integrate computer courseware effectively into the curriculum.
3. Help teachers make better use of national resources for science education.
4. Establish electronic network support and a learning community among participants.

The main objective of the Modeling Workshop in mechanics is to acquaint teachers with all aspects of the modeling method and develop some skill in implementing it. To that end, teachers will be provided with a fairly complete set of written curriculum materials to support instruction, organized into coherent modeling cycles. (The modeling cycle is described at The physical materials and experiments in the curriculum are simple and quite standard, already available in most physics classrooms.

To develop familiarity with materials necessary to fully implement this approach in the classroom, we find that teachers must work through the activities, discussions and worksheets, alternating between student and teacher modes. Each of the eight units in the mechanics course manual includes an extensive Teacher Notes section.

Each of the eight units is based on a specific point particle model, organized in a progressive sequence, as follows: a) Constant velocity model; b) Uniform acceleration model; c) Free particle (balanced force) model; d) Constant, unbalanced (net) force model; e) Constant vertical, and zero horizontal, acceleration particle model (i.e., combining a and b); f) Circular motion model; g) Momentum transfer process model; and h) Energy transfer process model. 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.

An overview is at the AMTA   webpage on curriculum storylines.

Link to Modeling Instruction and the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA).

Strategies for getting funding to support attendance:
Start Date: 07/15/2019
End Date: 08/02/2019
Duration: 3 weeks M-F
Application Deadline: 04/15/2019
Opportunity Website:
Sponsor Link:

Benefits and Requirements

Cost: (ask Colleen Megowan)
Benefits: Professional Development/CEU
optional graduate credit - extra cost
Benefit Explanation: Graduate credits optional, at $125/credit.

Lodging, meals, and travel expenses are the responsibility of the participant or school district.
Other Prerequisites: Two semesters of college-level algebra-based physics.

Professional Development Opportunity Contact Information

Contact: Colleen Megowan, AMTA Sr. Fellow
Sacramento, CA