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Summer Teacher Workshops
in Scientific Modeling Instruction

Shady Side Academy continues to be a national center for scientific modeling instruction. For years, teachers have traveled from around the world to our suburban Pittsburgh campus in order to take part in our innovative, informative and exciting offerings. In 2010, we are running five different workshops over two weeks in June. These include:

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About the Courses

Modeling Instruction in Freshman Physics: Constant Acceleration and Forces (algebra-based)

This course will include an introduction to modeling instruction. It will cover the following units: review of Energy Models, Constant Acceleration and Force Models. These units are algebra based and were written for freshman physics students. This course is appropriate for teachers who have not taken a modeling instruction course previously and for those who have taken a modeling instruction course in the past. In addition, this course would be appropriate for science and math teacher teams or math teachers looking for practical examples of functions for their classrooms. Teachers will be asked to operate in student-mode and the instructors will model modeling techniques. There will be time for discussion and sharing of ideas.

Modeling Instruction in Advanced Physics: Experiment Design, Constant Velocity and Constant Acceleration

This course is based on the Modeling Mechanics course materials developed at Arizona State University and is written for junior/senior trigonometry level physics classes. It will cover scientific design, constant velocity and constant acceleration models. This course will cover the normal course sequence for the normal three week modeling instruction course in Physics. this course would be appropriate for science and math teacher teams or math teachers looking for practical examples of functions for their classrooms. Teachers will be asked to operate in student-mode and the instructors will model modeling techniques. There will be time for discussion and sharing of ideas.

Modeling Instruction in Chemistry

This course is designed to be a quick look at the process of modeling chemistry. It is appropriate for teachers who have not experienced modeling instruction previously, or who have previously taken a modeling physics course. Teachers will be asked to put on their "student" caps as we work through traditional topics in a new way. Special attention will be paid on how to incorporate energy into the chemistry curriculum in a more thoughtful and useful manner. Lab work and demonstrations will be used often as a guide throughout the course. There will be collegial interaction concerning best teaching practices and how to translate your favorite topics to a more modeling centered focus.

Modeling Instruction in Biology for Beginners

This course will include an introduction to modeling instruction. It will cover the following units: Evolution, Cell Structure and Function, and Energy Flow in Ecosystems. In the last unit, we will discuss how to apply the energy representations used in modeling chemistry and physics to biological systems. This course is appropriate for teachers who have not taken a modeling instruction course previously and for those who have taken a modeling instruction course in chemistry and physics and would like to apply those principles to biology. Teachers will be asked to operate in student-mode and the instructors will model modeling techniques. There will be time for discussion and sharing of ideas.

Modeling Instruction in Biology for Intermediates

This course is an extension of Modeling Instruction in Biology 1. It will cover the following units: Mitosis/Meiosis; Mendelian genetics; and Transcription and Translation. It will be assumed that students have taken a modeling course in biology, chemistry or physics and that they are familiar with the units covered in Modeling Instruction in Biology 1. This course is appropriate for either experienced biology teachers who have taken a modeling instruction course or teachers who have taken Modeling Instruction in Biology 1. The course will be conducted as a modeling course and students will be asked to apply what they have learned to a lesson and will be given the opportunity to try out that lesson with the class.

About Modeling Instruction

Modeling instruction in physics was recognized in 2000 by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the seven best K–12 educational technology programs out of 134 programs evaluated.  Modeling instruction is grounded in the notion that true scientific inquiry is centered on the construction, validation and application of conceptual models that allow us to organize our understanding of the physical world.  The modeling method corrects many weaknesses of the traditional lecture-demonstration method, including fragmentation of knowledge, student passivity and persistence of naive beliefs about the physical world.  Unlike the traditional approach, in which students wade through an endless stream of seemingly unrelated topics, the modeling method organizes the course around a small number of scientific models, thus making the course coherent.

 


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