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Name: mechanics Modeling Workshop
School/Institution: Birmingham-Southern College
Department/Unit: 900 Arkadelphia Road
City: Birmingham
State: AL
Opportunity Type: Modeling Workshop
Teacher Status: Preservice
post-secondary faculty
Teacher Level: High School
Description: CANCELLED on May 18, due to low enrollment.

This workshop is open to physics and physical science teachers worldwide.

PEER LEADER: Tim Burgess, a long-time Modeling Workshop leader who had great success with PHYSICS FIRST in his high school in Mobile AL.
CO-LEADER: Michelle Houston, physics & biology teacher in Birmingham.    

The Modeling Workshop is an intensive 2-or 3-week course with these goals:
1. educate teachers in use of a model-centered, guided inquiry method of teaching, and improve content understanding at the same time,
2. help participants integrate computers effectively into the science 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 is to acquaint teachers with all aspects of the modeling method of instruction and develop some skill in implementing it. To that end, teachers are provided with a fairly complete set of written curriculum materials to support instruction organized into coherent modeling cycles (as described in Wells et al., 1995). The physical materials and experiments are simple and quite standard, already available in any reasonably equipped science classroom.

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

Modeling Instruction is aligned with the eight science practices outlined in the National Research Council Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011), the research basis for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

First we will introduce the Modeling approach to high school physics instruction.  This methodology makes student thinking visible through white board presentations, Socratic questioning and peer review.  The second goal is to practice and enhance the current mechanics modeling curriculum.

An overview is at the AMTA   webpage on curriculum storylines.

Modeling Instruction is a complex transformative pedagogy. Experience has shown that most teachers require at least 80 to 90 contact hours of intensive workshop to begin to implement it. A second Modeling Workshop in the next summer is highly recommended to deepen and broaden one's understanding.

Click here to learn more about Modeling Instruction 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: 07/15/2019
End Date: 07/26/2019
Duration: 2 weeks (MTWThF, all day)
Application Deadline: 05/10/2019
Opportunity Website:
Application Link:
Sponsor Link:

Benefits and Requirements

Cost: $725
Benefits: Professional Development/CEU
Benefit Explanation: Registration includes instructional materials and 1-year trial membership in the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA) for 1st-timers.

FLYING? Birmingham has an international airport. Airport shuttle and taxi information are at the airport website.

Ask Michelle Houston ( for housing suggestions. Dorm housing is $50/night for single, or $26/night for double.

Up to 4 graduate credits at Dominican University optional, for $100/credit. (Not accepted as transfer courses for masters' degrees at many universities.)
Other Prerequisites: Prerequisite: 2 semesters of trigonometry-based college physics.

The workshop is for current physics and physical science teachers, and those who intend to begin teaching high school or community college physics or physical science.

Professional Development Opportunity Contact Information

Contact: Wendy Heheman
AMTA Outreach Coordinator
Mesa, AZ