06/06/2022 11:00 am - 06/24/2022

2022 Introduction to Modeling Instruction in Mechanics

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2022 Introduction to Modeling Instruction in Mechanics, with Kay Fincher, Scott Pflaumer and Tiffany Taylor.

2022 Introduction to Modeling Instruction in Mechanics, with Kay Fincher, Scott Pflaumer and Tiffany Taylor.

Workshop description: Physics Modeling Workshops offer teachers the opportunity to experience a structured inquiry approach to high school physics teaching from both the teacher and the student perspective.  These workshops will incorporate pedagogically appropriate technology and best practices based on physics education research. The basic paradigm of the Modeling approach is to help students overcome their preconceptions about physical systems and become proficient in the scientific modeling process, thus incorporating all of the essential scientific thinking and process skills.

In this course, you will engage in a number of modeling cycles, investigating and developing a model which describes the behavior of a carefully chosen physical system, ultimately using the resulting model to accurately predict the behavior of similar systems.  This Introduction to Modeling course is not a modeling workshop, but rather an online environment which cannot perfectly replicate the experience of collaborative scientific modeling in a face to face environment, in particular the rich discourse that participants practice and learn to facilitate. However, we believe that the online environment has several advantages. 

In the process, you will:

  • examine the essential theoretical underpinnings of the modeling approach,
  • learn and practice the essential classroom practices and approaches that make learning physics work for the majority of our students,
  • use a variety of tools and techniques that can help you further hone your craft,
  • hone your understanding of physics concepts, the preconceptions your student will have, and tried and true ways to address them,
  • gain a new perspective on how using the scientific method allows students the freedom to investigate and develop these models on their own,
  • learn how to effectively moderate interactions between student groups which are designed to give students ownership of their own and each other’s learning,
  • experience and practice the potential and the challenges of an online learning environment for student-centered, interactive instruction,
  • and build a network of like-minded peers to lean upon in the months and years ahead.

The course will meet from June 6-24 every Monday through Thursday, from 11-4pm EDT (and 11-1pm on Fridays), and you can expect 1-2 hours of additional work to do at your convenience each day. Topics will include kinematics, dynamics, energy, and possibly other topics in Mechanics.

Dates: June 6-24, 2022
Meeting times: 11:00 EDT – 4:00 EDT with a 1 hr break M-Th
11:00-EDT – 1:00 EDT on Fridays

Leaders: Kay Fincher, Scott Pflaumer and Tiffany Taylor.
Costs: $775 (includes one-year AMTA membership).  .
Graduate level credits: $79 per credit through the University of Pacific 
Location: Zoom

Meet the leaders:
Kay Fincher has taught all levels of physics at Amarillo High School in Amarillo, Texas since 2000. She is a workshop leader for the American Modeling Teacher’s Association which she co-founded with other teachers to advance the use of the Modeling Instruction Teaching Method. Her students construct their understanding of physics principles by analyzing experimental data and engaging in evidence-based argument. In the words of one of her former students, “Mrs. Fincher creates, in her classroom, the perfect environment for scientific learning. We were always encouraged to find, for ourselves, what was true. Through hands on experiments, group work, or lively debate, we were always free to learn effectively in our own style. And, at any time we were stuck or needed a little extra information, she would help just enough to point us to the next step.” Fincher was the Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Science Teaching for the state of Texas in 2019. She was also selected as the 2020 Outstanding Texas Educator by the Texas Academy of Sciences and was a finalist for the Amarillo ISD 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Scott Pflaumer participated in his first Modeling Physics workshop in 2009 and has been employing Modeling Instruction ever since. Scott completed E&M and CASTLE workshops at Arizona State University while completing an MNS degree. In 2014 he attended the AMTA Leadership Training workshop at FIU & in 2020 Scott interned at a Modeling Mechanics Workshop in Wisconsin. Scott currently teaches freshmen physics at the Harker School in San Jose California. Like many teachers, Scott taught the 2020-2021 school year almost exclusively remote. Though he is happy to return to a physical classroom this year, he was pleasantly surprised by how well Modeling Instruction works virtually.

Tiffany Taylor has been using Modeling Instruction since her first Modeling Physics workshop in 2015. She has also completed Computational Modeling with Physics First and Modeling Chemistry I, both as distance learning courses/workshops. Tiffany currently teaches AP Physics, physics, and chemistry at Rogers High School in Rogers, AR. The 2020-21 school year was a hybrid year, and instruction was a blend of face-to-face and virtual. Additionally, Tiffany has led other workshops using a virtual platform, and has incorporated many strategies learned from her distance learning Modeling workshops in leading these other workshops. In addition to teaching and leading workshops, Tiffany is currently working on her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, with research interests in physics education. 

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