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Professional Development Opportunity Detail Page

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Name: Mechanics Modeling Workshop in NYC
School/Institution: STEMteachersNYC, Hosted by Teachers College, Columbia University
Department/Unit: Math, Science, and Technology Dept.
City: New York
State: NY
Opportunity Type: Modeling Workshop
Teacher Status: Preservice
Teacher Level: High School
Description: This workshop is for high school physics and physical science teachers worldwide. Students preparing to teach science, as well as college faculty, are welcome. Modeling Instruction is useful for science teaching at any level, and key concepts of kinematics and Newtonian mechanics are directly relevant to all sciences.

Location: Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 W 120th St. NYC, 10027
Peer leader:
     Paul Bianchi (Chappaqua High School, Chappaqua, NY) and Zhanna Glazenburg (Croton Harmon High School, Croton-on-Hudson, NY)

Prerequisite:   One semester of college-level algebra-based physics is highly recommended.

ORGANIZER: Prof. Fernand Brunschwig, Teachers College, Columbia University (AMTA Board, member-at-large).

A Chemistry Modeling Workshop is offered concurrently. A Middle School Science Modeling Workshop is offered from July 13 to July 31.

Modeling Instruction focuses on key selected physics 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 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.
5. Strengthen local institutional support for participants as school leaders in disseminating standards-based reform in science education.

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 are based on a specific 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 (projectile motion) model; f) Circular motion model; g) Momentum transfer (conservation) model; and h) Energy transfer (conservation) 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.

Three graduate credits will be available from SUNY Empire State College, with additional cost.

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

Strategies for getting funding to support attendance:
Start Date: 07/20/2015
End Date: 08/07/2015
Duration: 3 weeks M-F
Application Deadline: 07/02/2015
Opportunity Website:
Application Link:
Sponsor Link:

Benefits and Requirements

Cost: $600 (includes one-year membership in AMTA) ($300 reimbursed after completion)
Benefits: Professional Development/CEU
optional graduate credit - extra cost
Benefit Explanation: Lodging reimbursement available up to $750 by application at

Meals, and travel expenses responsibility of the participant or school district.

Housing possibilities at and near workshop (525 West 120th St., New York, NY 10027). (Unofficial list)

Dormitory-type rooms at Teachers College:
    Rooms have twin bed and bathroom but no kitchen, with access to shared kitchen facilities.

Two other nearby organizations:
Union Theological Center:

International House:

A Youth Hostel is at 104th and Amsterdam, 16 blocks (.8 mile) from Teachers College: and other, similar websites offer a wide variety of housing options in NY City worth exploring. Hoboken, Newark, and other NJ locations are also worth exploring because there are trains into Manhattan, especially the PATH trains, many of which connect with the #1, 2 and 3 subway lines and thus offer a relatively fast trip to Teachers College.
Other Prerequisites: One semester of college-level algebra-based physics is highly recommended.

Professional Development Opportunity Contact Information

Contact: Fernand Brunschwig
New York, NY 10027