(This Modeling Workshop has been held many times at ASU as PHS 534/PHY 494. It uses the modeling manual on the AMTA and ASU modeling website, developed in 2001 by Larry Dukerich and Jeff Hengesbach, with guidance by David Hestenes.)



PHS 534 / PHY 494: Methods of Physical Science Teaching

Academic year and/or summer at Arizona State University (update Feb. 2013 by Jane Jackson)


Catalog description: PHS 534 / PHY 494: Methods of Physical Science Teaching (3 credits) Teaching core concepts in matter and energy in 8th grade and lower-level high school using model-based methods and science practices. Prerequisite: in-service or pre-service science or mathematics teacher and one physics or physical science course. Credit is allowed for only PHY 494 or PHS 534.



This course provides pre-service and in-service teachers of 8th grade and high school physical sciences and mathematics with a deep understanding of core concepts in matter and energy. To exemplify effective instruction, the course is taught using a robust pedagogy, Modeling Instruction. The course is an expansion to junior high of Modeling Instruction in high school physics. In 2001 the U.S. Department of Education designated the Modeling Instruction Program at ASU as one of two Exemplary K-12 science programs in the nation.

            Content of an entire semester course in integrated physical science and mathematics is reorganized around basic models to increase its structural coherence. Participants have access to a complete set of course materials (resources) and work through activities alternately in roles of student or teacher.

            Thematic strands woven into the course include structure/properties of matter, energy, scientific modeling, and use of computers as scientific tools. Mathematics instruction is integrated seamlessly throughout the entire course by an emphasis on mathematical modeling.

The course includes these scientific models and modeling activities:

Š      modeling geometric properties of matter: length, area and volume

Š      modeling physical properties of matter: mass and density

Š      a small particle model of solids, liquids and gases

Š      modeling transfer of energy and its relation to physical properties of matter

Participants are introduced to Modeling Instruction as a systematic approach to design of curriculum and instruction. The name Modeling Instruction expresses an emphasis on making and using conceptual models of physical phenomena as central to learning and doing science. Adoption of "models and modeling" as a unifying theme for science and mathematics education is recommended by NSES and NCTM Standards, AAAS Project 2061, Common Core Standards, and the NRC “A Framework for K-12 Science Education”.

Student activities are organized into modeling cycles that engage students systematically in all aspects of modeling. (For a modeling cycle, see http://modeling.asu.edu/modeling-HS.html .) The teacher guides students unobtrusively through each modeling cycle, with an eye to improving the quality of student discourse by insisting on accurate use of scientific terms, on clarity and cogency of expressed ideas and arguments. After a few cycles, students know how to proceed with an investigation without prompting from the teacher. The main job of the teacher is then to supply them with more powerful modeling tools. Lecturing is restricted to scaffolding new concepts and principles on a need basis. Most Arizona professional teaching standards are addressed.



* STEM: integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

* aligned with Common Core Math Standards and ELA.

* aligned with Arizona Science & Math Standards for grade 8 and lower level high school.

* includes all 8 scientific practices of NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education.

* addresses multiple learning styles.

* addresses naive student conceptions.

* collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking.

* systems, models, modeling.

* coherent curriculum framework, but not a curriculum; thus flexible.

* compatible with Socratic methods, Core Knowledge, project-based instruction.

* science & math literacy.

* authentic assessments.

* high-tech and low-tech options for labs.


STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: At successful course completion, students will have

-       improved instructional pedagogy by incorporating the modeling cycle, inquiry methods, critical and creative thinking, cooperative learning, and effective use of classroom technology in instruction,

-       understood content in underpinnings (equivalencies, graphing, slope, dimensional analysis, measurement, identification and control of variables, proportional reasoning, relation between graphs and equations), geometric and physical properties of matter, storage and transfer of energy, interactions of matter and energy, scientific thinking skills, and related skills in each Arizona Mathematics Standard,

-       learned instructional strategies: Socratic questioning/whiteboarding/discourse, classroom management, use of standardized evaluation instruments, improved content organization,

-       strengthened coordination between mathematics and physical science,

-       experienced all eight scientific practices recommended by the National Research Council in “A Framework for K-12 Science Education.” Models and theories are the purpose and the outcomes of scientific practices. They are the tools for engineering design and problem solving. As such, modeling guides all other practices.


LISTING OF ASSIGNMENTS: Types of assignments are reading, worksheets, lab reports, and writing. Daily assignments are listed in the course itinerary; their links to student learning outcomes are evident in the itinerary.



A. Expectations: All participants, whether seeking ASU credit or not, are expected to do activities and homework, as described below for a “C” grade. (Non-credit participants should email the instructors, specifying which days they intend to participate, at the start of the course.)


B. Grade requirements: (Note: Late work will not be accepted.) The following will be used to determine letter grades for those taking this course for ASU credit. Students will contract for a letter grade on the second course day. Contracting for a letter grade is not a guaranteed grade. Work must be completed at ASU standards and meet all class requirements. Within grade categories, additional requirements are assigned for the graduate level course, than for the undergraduate course.

"C"      Class attendance and class participation in activities. Discussions, whiteboard presentations, log of activities/teacher notes in the lab book (highlighted), completion of assigned readings/reflections, worksheets, tests etc.

“B"      All of the above plus (for PHS 534) a two-page (minimum) typed reflection paper discussing what was learned from the course, understanding of the Modeling approach and how the student will implement material and strategies from the course in their own classes. Due on the 3rd from last day. (PHY 434 students omit the third focus but retain the 2-page minimum.)

"A"      All the above plus (for PHS 534) 2 activities (lesson plans) modified or developed for pilot use in the classroom this school year. Lesson plans must be in a modeling format (pre-lab discussion, exploration, post-lab discussion) and lead to constructing a model or utilizing models to solve a problem (3-pages minimum). Use template at http://modeling.asu.edu/MNS/ModelingLessonPlanTemplate.doc. Due on the next-to-last class day. (PHY 434 students do only 1 lesson plan.)


C. Grade percentages:

50%     Lab book/Log includes the following:

a.     All activities are to be written in student mode in the lab book.

b.     Student comments and teacher notes, which will assist in directing activities in your own classrooms, will be written and highlighted in the lab book. This will assist your instructor in assessing your understanding of material including expected student difficulties/ management and ways of addressing them.

25%     Reading reflections (what, so what, now what; consider the classroom)

These are to be typed (12-font, double-spaced) one-page reactions/thoughts to reading assignments. Article name, student name (last, first) and date are to be in stacked form -- upper right corner.

25%     Classroom participation


D. Attendance:

It is expected that credit-seeking participants will attend all class sessions and be on time. Students’ final grade can be lowered by one letter grade for each absent day after the first one, and/or excessive tardies, at the instructor’s discretion.

            Please report any expected absences to the course instructor as soon as possible. ASU credit-seeking students who miss course time are to complete and write a reflection for all activities missed, design an activity modified or developed for pilot use in the classroom this coming year, and present results to the course instructor and peers when appropriate.


E. Grading scale:       97-100 A+ 93-96.9 A 90-92.9 A-

                                    87-89.9 B+ 83-86.9 B 80-82.9 B-

                                    77-79.9 C+ 73-76.9 C 70-72.9 C-


Policies of Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), ASU, and Department of Physics:

* ABOR: Each student is expected to work a minimum of 45 hours per semester hour of credit.

* Pass-fail is not an option for graduate courses. https://students.asu.edu/grades-grading-policies

* 3.0 grade point average (GPA) is minimum requirement for MNS & other graduate degrees.

* Incomplete: only for special circumstances. Must finish 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."

* The ASU Department of Physics is critical of giving all A's, because it indicates a lack of discrimination. A grade of "B" (3.0) is an average graduate course grade, and obviously not all students do above-average work compared to their peers. Some of you can expect to earn a "B”, and those who are below average but do acceptable work will earn a "C".


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 http://provost.asu.edu/academicintegrity.     


Disability policy: 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.



No textbook. 3-ring binder (preferably 1.5 inches thick); 6 tab inserts. Quad-ruled computation book, preferably 8 ½ inches x 11 inches (buy at ASU bookstore or Staples for ~$15). Flash drive for resources from instructor. Calculator.



Mestre, Jose. “Learning and Instruction in Pre-College Physical Science” (get from instructor)

Jackson, Jane; Dukerich, Larry; and Hestenes, David (2008). Modeling Instruction: An Effective Model for Science Education, Science Educator 17(1): 10-17. http://www.nsela.org/images/stories/scienceeducator/17article7.pdf [free]

McDermott, Lillian. “How We Teach and How Students Learn – a Mismatch?”

http:// www.colorado.edu/physics/phys4810/phys4810_fa08/.../md1.pdf [free]


Benezet: The teaching of arithmetic I, II, III.



Download these 8 documents at http://modeling.asu.edu/Projects-Resources.html

* Whiteboarding: a learning process, by Don Yost (2 page article, 2003)

* Question Their Answers, by Brenda Royce (2-page article, The Physics Teacher 2004)

* Managing Discourse during Class Discussions, by Larry Dukerich & Brenda Royce

* Physical science lab supplies list

* Build a no-cost soda-straw balance for all labs in Unit 3 …

* Chinn & Brewer: Anomalous Data (research summary)

* Daniel Schwartz & John Bransford: A Time for Telling (research summary)

* Financial Asset Model of Energy, by Patricia Westphal

Socratic Questioning Strategies: download at http://modeling.asu.edu/listserv1.html

Arnold Arons: Teaching Introductory Physics. Chapter 1 – underpinnings (get from instructor)


Video: A Private Universe (20 minutes): http://www.learner.org/resources/series28.html

RTOP Self-Assessment: download at http://modeling.asu.edu/R&E/Research.html or

Modeling Implementation rubric http://modelinginstruction.org/forums/topic/modeling-implementation-rubric/


Videos of effective high school science instruction by Larry Dukerich (use with RTOP Self-Assessment or Modeling Implementation rubric): http://vimeo.com/channels/modelingphysics

Eureka videos #2, 16 to 21: mass; solids, liquids, evaporation and condensation; expansion and contraction, measuring temperature, temperature & ‘thermal energy’. (Visit http://modeling.asu.edu/weblinks.html in the section called ‘flipped classroom …”)

Video clips from Ring of Truth: video #2: Change, and video #5: Atoms



(teacher resource) Introductory Physical Science, an outstanding 9th grade textbook. A review and weblink are at http://modeling.asu.edu/modeling/weblinks.html. The newest edition is best.

Hake, Richard. “Socratic Pedagogy in the Introductory Physics Laboratory”

http://physics.indiana.edu/~sdi/SocPed1.pdf [free]

The $2 Interactive Whiteboard (award-winning blogpost by NY modeler Frank Noschese. 2010) http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/the-2-interactive-whiteboard/

A Modeling Approach to Physics Instruction (12-minute video of NYC modeler Seth Guinals Kupperman’s class, with expert commentary by Professor Fernand Brunschwig. 2012) http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/npe11_vid_modapp/

What is Modeling? (6-minute video for parents, about 9th grade physics, 10th grade chemistry, and 11th grade biology with Modeling Instruction. 2012) http://vimeo.com/49925916

Derek Muller’s 4-minute videos on matter and energy, that include naēve conceptions: weblinks are at http://modeling.asu.edu/modeling/DerekMullerVideos.htm

Lindsey, Beth; Paula Heron & Peter Shaffer: Student understanding of energy: Difficulties related to systems (research summary at http://modeling.asu.edu/Projects-Resources.html )

Reviews of middle school science and 9th grade physics textbooks.


* A Second Report on Physics First Textbooks, by John Hubisz (2009)

* Review of Middle School Physical Science Texts, by John L. Hubisz (2001)

This long article focuses on scientific accuracy, adherence to an accurate portrayal of the scientific approach, and the appropriateness and pedagogic effectiveness of the material presented for the particular grade level. The first page and last few pages summarize the unfortunate situation and suggest ways to improve it.


Physics Union Mathematics (PUM): an implementation for grades 8 and 9 of Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE), which is compatible with Modeling Instruction. ISLE was developed by Eugenia Etkina and Alan Van Heuvelen at Rutgers University in New Jersey. http://pum.rutgers.edu

Many resources are at http://modelinginstruction.org and http://modeling.asu.edu . Alignment with performance objectives in the Arizona Science Standard and Mathematics Standard for grade 8 and high school: http://modeling.asu.edu/MNS/MNS.html.
Course itinerary Each day is a minimum of 3 hours in a 15-week semester, or 4.5 hours in summer. The following itinerary is subject to change at discretion of the instructor.



Day 1





Welcome, introductions, orientation to site, workshop goals, distribute handouts.

Pre-tests: Basic Energy Concept Inventory & Physical Science Concepts Inventory


Unit 1: Modeling Geometric Properties of Matter
1.1 - Activities 1 & 2, worksheets 2 & 4 (Introduce whiteboarding results). Quiz.


Reading reflections: (typed one-page reactions to the reading assignments.)

#1: Mestre: "Learning & Instruction in Pre-College Phys Science” Hard copy.

#2: Jackson: “Modeling Instruction: An Effective Model for Science Education”

(download at http://www.nsela.org/images/stories/scienceeducator/17article7.pdf or http://modeling.asu.edu/modeling-hs.html)

Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets (including quiz)



Day 2



Discuss readings, homework.

1.2 Activity 1 (paper, pencil recording of data) & 2 (Graphical Analysis software)

Representational tools and significant figures

Discuss measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode) and graphs of lists

of data (e.g., stem-and-leaf, box-and-whisker, scatter plots)

Worksheet 1, quiz 2, worksheet 3


Reading reflection:

McDermott, “How We Teach & How Students Learn.”

http:// www.colorado.edu/physics/phys4810/phys4810_fa08/.../md1.pdf

Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets.



Day 3



Discuss reading, homework. Video: A Private Universe

1.4 Measurement of Area

Circumference vs. Diameter Activity 1, Activity 2, more features of Graphical Analysis software. Focus on proportional reasoning. (Our research indicates that 95% of suburban Phoenix 8th grade students need focused instruction & practice!)


Reading reflections:

#1: Benezet: The teaching of arithmetic I, II, III.


#2. Summary: “A time for telling” –


Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets.




Day 4


Discuss readings, homework.

1.4 Measurement of area (worksheets). Rolling disc lab - Rex Rice (quadratic model)


Reading reflections: #1: Hake: “Socratic Pedagogy in the ... Laboratory”

Download at http://physics.indiana.edu/~sdi/SocPed1.pdf

#2: Yost,:"Whiteboarding" & Dukerich: “Managing Discourse during class discussion”: at http://modeling.asu.edu/Projects-Resources.html

Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets


Day 5



Discuss readings, how to conduct whiteboarding sessions/Socratic dialogue

1.5 Measurement of volume

Activity 1: defining volume, discussion, Activity 2: volume relationships

Activity 3: volume of irregular solids, discussion. Worksheet 2

Activity 4: graphing volume relationships. Worksheet 3

(Focus on conservation of volume, for our research indicates that 50% of suburban Phoenix 8th grade students need focused instruction & practice!)

Turn in your lab notebook.


Reading reflections:

#1: Brenda Royce: "Question their Answers": at


#2: Socratic Questioning Strategies: at http://modeling.asu.edu/listserv1.html

Homework: Complete assigned worksheets.


Day 6


Discuss readings, how to conduct whiteboarding sessions/Socratic dialogue

Measurement of volume (wrap up)


Unit 2: Modeling Physical Properties of Matter

2.1 Activities 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 as time permits. Measuring mass.
Conservation of weight (mass) labs, use of histograms


Video reflection: use RTOP self-assessment or modeling implementation rubric

http://modeling.asu.edu/R&E/Research.html & http://modelinginstruction.org/forums/topic/modeling-implementation-rubric/ on video lesson of Larry Dukerich at http://vimeo.com/channels/modelingphysics

Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets. . View online Eureka video # 2: mass. (Google it, or http://goo.gl/3fwqD or visit http://modeling.asu.edu/weblinks.html in the section called ‘flipped classroom …”)

Write reflection on it, in lab book.

Day 7


Discuss readings, homework.

Finish Unit 2.1 Physical properties of matter.

Ring of Truth video #2: Change (11 min). http://goo.gl/3fwqD

Worksheet 1 &2, quiz 1 & 2


Reading reflection: Summary: the role of anomalous data in knowledge acquisition - http://modeling.asu.edu/Projects-Resources.html

Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets.


Day 8

Discuss readings, homework.

2.2 Density as a characteristic property of matter

Activity 1- mass of unit cubes

Activity 2 - density of solids. Worksheet1


Reading reflection: Arnold Arons: Teaching Introductory Physics. Chapter 1 – underpinnings (a handout)

Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets.


Day 9


Discuss reading, homework.

2.2 Density as a characteristic property of matter (continued)

Activity 3 - density of liquids. Worksheet 2

Activity 4 - density of gases

Build a soda-straw balance. http://modeling.asu.edu/Projects-Resources.html

Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets.

To be considered for “A” grade: start to write activities (lesson plans) for your class that lead to a model and/or use a model to solve a problem (due on day 15). PHS 534: 2 lesson plans. PHY 434: 1 lesson plan. Min length: 3 pages. Use template at http://modeling.asu.edu/MNS/ModelingLessonPlanTemplate.doc.


Day 10

Discuss readings, homework.


[Suggested by Javier Melendez, ASU instructor in 2013: insert a forces unit prior to Unit 3. Students must learn to see forces as equal & oppositely directed interactions. This makes the concept of pressure and particle interactions clearer. Emphasize the 3rd law & proportional reasoning aspects of the 2nd law. De-emphasize problem-solving & applications of 2nd law. His handouts are at http://modeling.asu.edu on the password-protected webpage, with the physical science modeling manual.]


Unit 3: Small Particle Model of Matter

3.1 Activity 1- Thickness of a thin layer
Video clips from Ring of Truth video #5: Atoms (http://goo.gl/3fwqD)

Demo/discussion: Icy Hot (Observations/discussion of 3 phases of H2O & motion of small particles)

[Suggested by Javier Melendez: Do pressure investigations from chemistry modeling workshop manual: P vs V; P vs # of particles]

(optional: Video: Bill Nye: Phases of Matter - take notes)

Worksheet practice


Turn in your lab notebook.

Video reflection: View Eureka videos 16,17,18: solids, liquids, evaporation and condensation (online: google it, or http://goo.gl/3fwqD or visit http://modeling.asu.edu/weblinks.html in the section called ‘flipped classroom …”) Write a reflection on videos. (We use the term ‘thermal energy’, not ‘heat’.)


Day 11


Discuss the 3 Eureka videos, homework.

Unit 3.2 Energy and the states of matter

Demo/discussion: thermal expansion

Discuss system, kinetic energy, interaction energy (potential energy)

Representations of energy storage and transfer

[Suggested by Javier Melendez: pressure vs. temperature lab. Also, practice proportional reasoning (p, V, # particles, T). See his handouts.]


Reading reflection: Pat Westphal: “Financial Asset Model of Energy”: at


Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets.

Worksheet 1, quiz 1




Day 12


Discuss readings, homework.

Unit 3.2: Activity 2a - melting point of water.


Video reflection: View online Eureka video: #19,20,21: Expansion and contraction, Measuring Temperature, Temperature & ‘Thermal Energy’. Write reflection on videos in lab book. (We use the term ‘thermal energy’, rather than ‘heat’. The proper use of “heat” and “heating” is as a verb, a process of energy transfer.)


Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets

To be considered for A and B grade: write 2-page paper. Due on Day 14.

Day 13

Discuss implementation, in relation to student work.

Activity 2b - freezing point of lauric acid (if lauric acid is available)


Homework: Write 1 page on your understanding of energy transfer. Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets.

Day 14

Discuss implementation, in relation to student work.

Representations of energy storage and transfer

Unit 3.2: Activity 3 –Boiling of liquids. Worksheet 3

Turn in your 2-page paper if you contracted for a “B” grade or higher.


Homework: Complete work in lab book and assigned worksheets.

To be considered for A grade: lesson plan(s) due on Day 15

Day 15

Discuss implementation, in relation to student work.

Unit 3.2: Activity 4 - Energy transfer in materials

Course evaluation.

Turn in your lesson plan(s) if you contracted for “A” grade.

Day 16

Final Exam Day (in academic year but not in summer).

Lab books will be returned to students, for use in their teaching.

Post-tests: Basic Energy Concept Inventory & Physical Science Concepts Inventory