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Professional Development Opportunity Detail Page

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Name: 8-12 Investigations in Science Modeling Instruction
School/Institution: James Madison University
Department/Unit: Content Teaching Academy (CTA)
City: Harrisonburg
State: VA
Opportunity Type: Modeling Workshop
Teacher Status: Inservice
Teacher Level: Middle School
High School
Description: Four concurrent 5-day summer courses focused on physics (mechanics), physical science, chemistry, and biology that introduce Modeling Instruction to high school teachers. Open only to Virginia teachers (public and private). There is no cost to participants. Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will pay for CTA fees and housing/food for the week. Participants will receive professional development on both content and pedagogical methods, be given curricular materials they can use in their classrooms, and become members of the American Modeling Teachers Association. Upon successful completion of the academy, participants will receive 3 hours of education graduate credit.

In the CTA Modeling Academies, each participant will design and carry out several investigations that use Modeling Instruction. (The materials used in the investigations are quite standard in any reasonably equipped science classroom.) They will practice Socratic questioning techniques that will enable them to foster scientific discourse among students. They will develop skills in authentic assessment. In addition to the daily work conducted in class, each participant will keep a daily journal book of problems solved, labs done, personal notes and reactions to activities and readings, and expected student difficulties with ways to address them. Teachers will also be asked to reflect on their own teaching practice and how they might apply some of the techniques they have learned in the academy to their own classes.

Goals of the CTA Modeling Academies are:
1. Introduce teachers to a pedagogy that uses a model-centered, guided inquiry method of teaching and, concurrently, improve content knowledge.
2. Give participants experiences with computer courseware that they can integrate into their science curriculum.
3. Establish an electronic network support and a learning community among participants.
4. Encourage participants to seek further training in Modeling Instruction.

Physics Modeling Academy (for high school physics teachers):

The Physics Modeling Academy in mechanics is an intensive five-day course. The main objective is to introduce teachers to aspects of the Modeling Method, and develop skills in implementing this method to teach mechanics. Participants will complete three of the nine mechanics units. To that end, teachers will be provided with a fairly complete set of written course materials (organized into coherent Modeling cycles) to assist them as they incorporate what they have learned in the Academy into their classrooms.

Physical Science Academy (for teachers of grade 8 and high school science):

Participants will be introduced to a pedagogy known as Modeling Instruction. Modeling Instruction holds as its core principles that scientific models and their representations (not problems and facts) are the artifacts of knowledge and that students must actively generate and use these models in the classroom in order to learn science. Participants will be exposed to the research-based evidence backing the use of Modeling Instruction and interact with the Modeling method by engaging, as students, in two units from a physical science curriculum. The goal for the class is to provide enough information and experience for the participant to make an educated decision about whether they desire to pursue further training in Modeling Instruction and use it in their classroom.

Chemistry Modeling Academy and Biology Modeling Academy (for high school teachers of the respective subject):
See descriptions at the opportunity website.

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 to seek funding (if needed) to participate.
Start Date: 06/24/2013
End Date: 06/28/2013
Duration: 1 week in June
Application Deadline: 06/03/2013
Opportunity Website:
Application Link:
Sponsor Link:

Benefits and Requirements

Cost: Free
Benefits: Housing
Professional Development/CEU
College Transcript Credit
Benefit Explanation: • Registration fees, lodging, and food will be FREE. Participants will stay in a dorm at JMU and have a meal plan to eat in the award-winning dining hall.

3 Hours of Education Graduate credit will be awarded by James Madison University.

Virginia Instructors of Physics (VIP) will issue renewal credit for follow-up sessions.

This is a collaborative effort of the DOE, VIP, Virginia Advanced Studies Strategies, and James Madison University, with support by the American Modeling Teachers Assn (AMTA).

Professional Development Opportunity Contact Information

Contact: Joe Mahler
Science Dept, St. Catherine's High School
Richmond, VA