Physics teachers laud Modeling Workshops for Dual Enrollment teaching


This survey question was posed in September 2015 to Arizona teachers who earned the ASU MNS degree with concentration in physics: Which of your MNS degree courses  are/were most useful/valuable, for your Dual Enrollment (or adjunct community college) physics teaching?


Teachers overwhelmingly find Modeling Workshops most valuable! Not only Dual Enrollment teachers, but also adjunct and residential community college faculty.


A. Quotes from three residential physics faculty at community colleges:

            The most valuable courses are the Modeling Workshops (Mechanics, E&M, CASTLE) because they support both the content and the instruction of the content in a way that is easiest for the instructor to take and implement in their own classrooms.  Beyond that, the courses that integrate physics with something else are useful in helping us see beyond our classrooms and encourage us to help our students make those relevant connections, as well.

            My MNS degree is what qualified me for DE instruction with CGC, as well as qualifying me to teach @ CGC full time.  I still think the Modeling Workshops were the most important for preparing me to help my students learn content, as they provided the pedagogical structure that is student-centered and effective.


            As a high school teacher, the most valuable courses were the modeling workshops.  I found the mechanics, waves, Castle and E&M were probably the best.  Waves and light overlapped a lot.  (However, it would have been nice to see more calculus concepts in the E&M, or an advanced course of E&M.)

            The advanced courses of Integrated Physics & Chemistry and Light and Matter helped me to round out my overall scope of physics but didnŐt directly fit into my everyday teaching curriculum.  These upper classes are important as well. Now that I am at the community college those upper classes are a little more useful. 

            The action research was probably my favorite part of the entire experience.  Using graphing to solve is still a tool that I use.  This process helped me to focus on visual representations in every unit I present. I found this is what bridges information for struggling students and can help them to be as successful as the advanced students. It completely changed how I approach teaching.  


            Definitely the modeling workshops! These workshops allowed us to interact as teachers and students -- learning how to teach something by experiencing different teaching styles from participants.  This is how master teachers pass on their craft. 


B. Quotes from 8 Dual Enrollment physics teachers and/or adjunct TYC physics faculty:

            I found all my classes were of value. I learned more in these courses then I did in my prior traditionally-taught courses. The way the materials were presented and the labs we did made more sense and actually worked.

* Modeling Workshops  - I took chemistry and mechanics and both help in my education.

* Energy & Environment - This course let me see how the energy pieces I was learning and using in my classroom are actually applied to the real world.

* Integrated Physics & Chemistry - This course allowed me to see how physics and chemistry go hand-in-hand. I knew it before, but to see it at the molecular level was much more eye-opening.

* Light & Electron Optics - The information in this course was very hands-on and allowed me to see (no pun intended) how optics works more so than previous courses.

* Structure of Matter - This was great to apply the chemistry and physics on a more non-abstract level as we looked at the molecules with the how and why they were structured.

* The action research not only allowed me to see how all the courses were interlinked, but it enabled me to advance my own learning to better understand the course work.


            I teach general physics / DE PHY 101, AP-1 / DE PHY 111, and AP-2 / DE PHY 112. The modeling workshops are far and away the most valuable of the courses listed. They deal directly with the student curriculum and discuss methodology, pedagogy, and common misconceptions. Of the modeling workshops, I would rank mechanics and CASTLE at the top for PHY 101 and PHY 111, and I would rank E&M at the top for PHY 112. In particular, the conceptual framework built around the introduction to energy (mechanics) and circuit electricity (CASTLE) are far superior to most any other approach I've seen.

            I've never had the opportunity to take the waves and light workshops, but I use a lot of the modeling materials from those workshops and would rank those above the contemporary physics and integrated science courses as well.

            The other courses are good for helping to give the instructor a wider, more cohesive view of physics but they are not quite as directly applicable to the immediate classroom environment.

            I have taught online PHY 111 and online PHY 112 courses, and the experience that my DE students get is VASTLY SUPERIOR to the experience that online students get.


            The courses from my Master's degree in Physics that I still pull my resources and knowledge from the most in teaching Dual Enrollment are my Modeling Mechanics course, the E&M course, CASTLE and Modeling Waves.


            The courses I found most useful are the Modeling Workshops in Mechanics, E&M and Light and Waves. These courses directly relate to PHY101, 111 & 112 and teach the material in depth; and I use the demos and labs all throughout the courses I teach.  I teach Dual Enrollment for the three levels of physics courses, and I also taught adjunct for 2 semesters.


            The CASTLE workshop has had the best response from my PHY101 students.  It does not assume any knowledge of electricity. [From an adjunct instructor]


            Definitely Modeling 1 (mechanics) and Modeling 2 (e&m).  The action research was also very useful and applicable.


            The course that I have found the most useful is the PHS 530 methods of teaching physics 1.    I found the material and instruction most relevant to the first semester of my DE class.  The E and M class is a close second since I find myself constantly reviewing my notebook in order to improve my practice.  [Ed note: PHS 530 is the mechanics Modeling Workshop.]


            The Modeling Workshops were the most important for teaching me a process to use.  The most helpful workshops for me were mechanics, e&m, and light.