PHY 480/PHS 530 Methods of Teaching Physics

Modeling Mechanics Workshop

Syllabus in summer 2021



Kirticia Jarrett

Kelli Warble | discord Kelli W#4784

Course Dates: June 7, 2021-July 13, 2021

Meeting Times: M-F 8:30-11:00 am AZ time



Welcome to Methods of Teaching Physics, also known as Modeling Instruction in Physics I: Mechanics.  This course is designed to train current and future teachers in the use of research based pedagogies for teaching physics, focusing primarily on Modeling Instruction pedagogy. Modeling Instruction is a guided-inquiry approach to teaching science that organizes instruction around a coherent storyline of model development. This method provides content instruction while students are immersed in the process of doing science.

In a Modeling classroom:

     Instruction is organized into modeling cycles which move students through all phases of model development, evaluation, and application in concrete situations.

     The teacher sets the stage for student activities to establish a common understanding of a question to be asked. Then, in small groups, students collaborate in planning and conducting experiments to answer or clarify the question.

     Students present and justify their conclusions in oral and/or written form, including a formulation of models for the phenomena in question and evaluation of the models by comparison with data.

     Technical terms and concepts are introduced by the teacher only after students display conceptual understanding to sharpen models, facilitate modeling activities, and improve the quality of discourse.


Grading Policies

Category Weights

Class Attendance/Classwork 30%

     Attend all class sessions and contribute to small and large group discussions.

     Thoughtfully complete and submit activities done during each class session.

     Promptly email about missed activities when unavoidably absent.

'Student Mode' Laboratories and Physics Homework 30%

     Submit lab reports, lab handouts, and typical physics student homework at the level of a high school senior or introductory college student.

     Do your best to complete "Student Mode" assignments from the perspective of a student experiencing the concepts and activities for the first time.

     Complete assignments at the level of a high-performing high school or community college student.

'Teacher Mode' Perusall Reflections & Annotations 30%

     Read, view, or listen to approximately 1 long selection or 2 shorter selections from physics education research (or general STEM education research) each few days. 

     Typically post a minimum of 5 annotations and/or questions via perusall online on each set assigned.

     Annotations might include your reaction to the ideas discussed and whether they would or would not be beneficial to you as a student or future instructor. 

     Perusall assignments are accessible via a link from our course Canvas page.

Lesson Plan Project 10% (To be considered for an 'A' grade)

     Create sample lessons for three sessions of a typical 7th-12th grade or community college physical science classroom.

     Include teacher notes explaining each lesson and a student worksheet or description of what students will do for each lesson.

     Create lessons that reflect Modeling pedagogy, and explain where in the Modeling sequence they would occur. For example, explain if the lesson would serve as a paradigm lab for a unit, a deployment of the model, a lab practicum, or some other purpose.


Continuing Education Units

To obtain CEUs participants must complete the requirements for a minimum of a 'C' in the course, including meeting attendance and participation expectations. At the conclusion of the course, names of participants who met expectations will be communicated to Jane Jackson. She will request a pdf certificate from the ASU Office of Continuing Education and can also provide you with a letter describing the content of the course. The cost for the certificate is part of your fee for participating in a non-credit capacity.

Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) and ASU grading & workload policies

     Each student is expected to spend a minimum of 45 hours per semester-hour of credit (ABOR).

     Pass-fail is not an option for graduate courses.

     “B” grade means average; a 3.0 GPA is a minimum requirement for MNS & other graduate degrees.

     Incompletes are issued only for special circumstances. Students must finish the course within 1 year, or it becomes “E”.

     An instructor may drop a student for non-attendance during the first two class days (in summer).

     An instructor may withdraw a student with a mark of "W" or a grade of "E" only in cases of disruptive classroom behavior."


Percentage to Letter Grade to GPA Point Conversions at ASU*

*instructors reserve the right to round up or down percentages near a borderline between letter grades

A+ = 97 to 100% = 4.33

A = 94 to <97% = 4.00

A- = 90 to <94% = 3.66

B+ = 87 to <90% = 3.33

B = 84 to <87% = 3.00

B- = 80 to <84% = 2.66

C+ = 76 to <80% = 2.33

C = 70 to <76% = 2.00

D = 60 to <70% = 1.00

E = 0 to <60% = 0.00


Physics Content

The topics that will be addressed may include the following (not necessarily in this order):

1. Scientific Methods

2. Constant Velocity

3. Uniform Acceleration

4. Free Particle Model (N1 & N3)

5. Constant Force Particle Model (N3)

6. Two-dimensional Motion

7. Central Force Particle Model

8. Energy

9. Momentum (Impulsive Force Model)



Class Materials

Most course materials are selected because they can be used directly with students in your classroom at little to no cost. The expectation is that teachers use these materials in "student mode" during this course and thus have options for which systems and materials will be appropriate for use with their own students.


Course Canvas Page

All course documents and guidelines will be available on the free version of Canvas for education. If you do not already have a free Canvas account, you will need to create one. Participants will be asked to provide the email address they prefer to use for access to our Canvas page and will then be sent an invitation to join the course.


Student and Teacher Instructional Materials

     In lieu of a textbook, we will be using the materials available via the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA). 

     It is recommended that participants go to and scroll to the bottom to find the “JOIN AMTA” button.  Your names will be submitted to the membership administrator so that you can join as a “Student Member” for $37.50 (student membership might only be available the first time you participate in a Modeling course).

     Membership gives free access to all of the teacher and student classroom materials in physics, physical science, chemistry, biology, and middle school science for 1 year.


Software for General Graphing and Data Analysis

Participants will be trained in the use of Logger Pro and Graphical Analysis from Vernier Software (, both of which can be used to graph and analyze data and are appropriate for classrooms from middle school to university. 

     Logger Pro is available via myasu on the ‘My Apps’ link, and can be downloaded for either Windows or Macintosh operating systems. It is a very robust graphing and data collection tool that can be used for a wide variety of science experiments.

     Graphical Analysis is a FREE APP for most cell phones, computers, and tablets. It has fewer features than Logger Pro, but is sufficient for most class graphing needs. Go to the Vernier website to find the appropriate download option for Graphical Analysis.


Remote Labs

We will use an online platform called Pivot Interactives for some lab activities.

     During this course you can access Pivot as a student, which should cost $10 for the entire semester.

     Please use your full first and last name as it appears on the ASU class roster when joining this course.

     Follow a link given by the instructor, to join our Pivot class as a student.

     If you already have a student Pivot account, you should be able to join our class using the class key (given by the instructor).

     If you are interested in using Pivot Interactives as an instructor, visit the Pivot Interactives website, to sign up for a 30-day free trial.

Perusall for Interactive Reading

We will use a free online platform called Perusall for reflection on materials related to physics teaching pedagogy in "teacher mode."

     Perusall allows users to annotate a wide range of materials (text, video, podcast, webpage, etc.) and to see and react to the annotations of other course members, thereby leveraging a social-media-like platform to foster discourse.

     Instructors using the Perusall platform can have its embedded artificial intelligence system automatically grade student annotations based on a variety of metrics. (Ask the instructor for links to two documents on how Perusall works and on Perusal scoring examples.

     We have connected Perusall directly to our course Canvas page, so you should not need the course code for use during our summer class.

     If you are interested in using Perusall with your own courses, you can create a free account at any time by visiting the Perusall website.

Optional Textbook

Arons, Arnold Teaching Introductory Physics ISBN-10: 0471137073 | ISBN-13: 978-0471137078  (Recommended should you intend to become a physics teacher.)


Late Work/Missed Class

If you must miss class for some reason, the expectation is that you submit any work that is due prior to the class meeting.  If you miss an unannounced class activity, no credit will be given unless you have emailed to explain your absence, preferably in advance of the class meeting. Granting of credit will be decided on a case-by-case basis dependent upon the circumstances.  


Academic dishonesty policy

Academic honesty is expected of all students in all examinations, papers, laboratory work, academic transactions and records. The possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, appropriate grade penalties, course failure (indicated on the transcript as a grade of E), course failure due to academic dishonesty (indicated on the transcript as a grade of XE), loss of registration privileges, disqualification and dismissal.  For more information, see


Disability policy

Refer to  Qualified students with disabilities who require disability accommodations in this course are encouraged to make their requests to the instructor on the first class day or before. Note: Prior to receiving disability accommodations, verification of eligibility from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) is required. Disability information is confidential.


Title IX

Title IX is a federal law that provides that no person be excluded on the basis of sex from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity.  Both Title IX and university policy make clear that sexual violence and harassment based on sex is prohibited.  An individual who believes they have been subjected to sexual violence or harassed on the basis of sex can seek support, including counseling and academic support, from the university.  If you or someone you know has been harassed on the basis of sex or sexually assaulted, you can find information and resources at the ASU website: search on sexual violence prevention.

As a mandated reporter, instructors are obligated to report any information they become aware of regarding alleged acts of sexual discrimination, including sexual violence and dating violence.  ASU Counseling Services is available if you wish to discuss any concerns confidentially and privately. ASU online students may access 360 Life Services.