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Name: mechanics Modeling Workshop in Buffalo
School/Institution: Buffalo State College
Department/Unit: Physics
City: Buffalo
State: NY
Opportunity Type: Modeling Workshop
Teacher Status: Preservice
Teacher Level: High School
Description: Peer leaders:
   Meg Helmes, Craig Uhrich (PHY 620: mechanics; 6 credits)
   8am-5pm MTWRF

PHY620 includes the entire modeling mechanics first semester workshop as a subset, PLUS additional academics, assignments, physics content exam and a physics content media project to qualify for six SUNY PHY620 credits. (This is crucial information for NY teachers who seek certification.)

To exemplify effective instruction, each workshop is taught using a robust pedagogy, Modeling Instruction, developed at Arizona State University. Course content is reorganized around basic models to increase the structural coherence. Participants are supplied with a complete set of course materials (resources) and work through activities alternately in 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 and chemical phenomena as central to learning and doing science.

Using models and modeling in science education is recommended by NSES, AAAS Project 2061 and state K-12 science standards. Modeling Instruction is completely aligned with the eight science practices outlined in the National Research Council Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011), the basis for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

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.

Participants will design and carry out a series of investigations that use Modeling Instruction. They will practice Socratic questioning techniques that will enable them to foster scientific discourse among students and that aid in assessing student learning. Each participant will keep a daily journal book of problems solved, labs done, personal notes and reflections on activities and readings, and expected student difficulties with ways to address them.

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 for funding your registration or travel.
Start Date: 07/23/2018
End Date: 08/10/2018
Duration: 3 weeks (MTWThF)
Application Deadline: 07/11/2018
or until filled
Opportunity Website:
Application Link:
Sponsor Link:

Benefits and Requirements

Cost: In 2014, the cost was ~$2500 tuition for in-state teachers
Benefits: College Transcript Credit
Benefit Explanation: Tuition was ~$4300 for out-of-state teachers in 2014.

Limited financial support might be available: see

Low-cost on-campus dorm housing is available.

These courses are part of an MSEd (Physics) program, and other graduate physics summer and regular semester evening and online courses are also available.
Other Prerequisites: Two semesters of college physics.

A mechanics Modeling Workshop is ideally the prerequisite to the 2nd semester content (e&m) Modeling Workshop.

Professional Development Opportunity Contact Information

Contact: Dan MacIsaac, Ph.D., Professor of Physics
Department of Physics, Buffalo State College
Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: 716-878-3802