(This Modeling Workshop has been held 6 times at ASU as PHS 594/PHY 494: Physical Science with Math Modeling Workshop II, taught by Patricia Burr using curriculum developed for use in her 9th grade course.)



PHS 594/PHY 494: Physical Science Modeling Instruction in Mechanics and Chemistry

Academic year and/or summers at Arizona State University (Feb. 2013 update)


Catalog description: Physical Science Modeling Instruction in Mechanics and Chemistry (3 credits) Teaching core concepts in force, motion, and chemistry foundations 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. Recommended prerequisite: PHS 534/PHY 494.


            This course provides a deep understanding of core content in force, motion, and introductory chemistry for 8th grade and lower-level high school physical science with mathematics. 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 recognized the Modeling Instruction Program at ASU as one of two Exemplary K-12 science programs nationwide.

            Content of an entire semester course is reorganized around basic models to increase its structural coherence. Participants are supplied with a complete set of course materials (resources) and work through activities alternately in the roles of student or teacher.

            Modeling Instruction is introduced 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 both NSES and NCTM Standards as well as AAAS Project 2061.

            Mathematics instruction is integrated seamlessly throughout the entire course by an emphasis on mathematical modeling.

    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.



* focuses on force, motion, introductory chemistry, nature of science.

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

* aligned with Common Core Math Standards and ELA.

* aligned with Arizona Science & Math Standards.

* 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, proportional reasoning), forces, particle motion, atomic structure/periodic table, 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 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. (Undergraduate students omit the 3rd focus but retain the 2-page minimum.)

"A"      All the above plus 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). Due on the next-to-last class day. (Undergraduate 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.

            In the first 5 days, all participants who did not take the suggested prior course, PHS 534/PHY 434, may be asked to stay an hour after class for instruction on underpinnings and for summaries of PHS 534/PHY 434 content on matter and energy.

            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. Instructional resources are provided by instructor to assist teachers in implementing a model-centered, guided inquiry approach to core concepts in physical science.



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


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

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


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

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


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



Camp, Charles and Clement, John: Preconceptions in Mechanics. Chapter 1. AMTA members can download it freely at http://modelinginstruction.org. In the ‘teachers’ tab.


Download these 7 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,TPT 2004)

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

* Physical science lab supplies list

* 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


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]

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 (use with RTOP Self-Assessment or Modeling Implementation rubric):


* Larry Dukerich: Newton's 2nd Law Pre-lesson Interview

* Larry Dukerich: Newton's 2nd Law Lesson

* Larry Dukerich: Newton's 2nd Law Post-lesson Interview



Motion Conception taxonomy (Hestenes & Halloun, 1985). Download at http://modeling.asu.edu/Projects-Resources.html

(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.

The $2 Interactive Whiteboard (a blogpost) http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/the-2-interactive-whiteboard/

Derek Muller’s 15 4-minute videos on basic force and motion, that include naēve conceptions: weblinks are at http://modeling.asu.edu/modeling/DerekMullerVideos.htm

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

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 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 are described in documents at http://modeling.asu.edu/MNS/MNS.html , in the section on course descriptions.

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. Logistics, policies. Pre-test: Force & Motion Conceptual Evaluation.


tension force, Newton’s 3rd law. Activities/Labs/Worksheets/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: RTOP Self-Assessment with Reflection paper; 3rd Law Wkst(s)

Day 2

tension force, Newton’s 3rd law (continued) Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: Reflection paper: 3rd Law and Wkst(s)

Day 3

Forces (tension force, support force) Newton’s 3rd and 1st laws. Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: TBA (To Be Announced)

Day 4

Normal force (support force), weight vs mass. Newton’s 1st law. Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: Reflection paper: 1st Law and Wkst(s)

Day 5


Modeling particle motion (constant velocity model) Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: Prepare lab book for grading on Day 6. TBA

Day 6

Modeling particle motion (constant acceleration model).


Homework: Reflection paper: Constant/ Non Constant Motion and Wkst(s)

Day 7

Modeling particle motion (accelerated motion, mass vs weight)

Dynamics: constant force model (& Newton’s 2nd law)


Homework: Reflection paper: Weight vs. Mass

Day 8

Dynamics: constant force model (& Newton’s 2nd law) (continued)


Homework: Reflection paper: 2nd Law and Wkst(s)

Day 9


Modeling the atomic structure of matter: parts of the atom. Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: Reflection paper: Atomic Structure

Day 10

Modeling the atomic structure of matter (continued). Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: Prepare lab book for grading on Day 11 and TBA

Day 11

Structure of the periodic table. Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: Reflection paper: Periodic Table and Wkst(s)

Day 12

Structure of the periodic table (continued). Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: TBA

Day 13

Turn in 2-page reflection paper, to qualify for B grade.


Applying a particle model to compounds: chemical bonds -- how atoms combine. Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: Prepare lab book for grading on Day 14.

Reflection paper: modeling compounds

Day 14


Lab book will be collected at end of session.

Applying a particle model to chemical reactions. Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams

Homework: Reflection paper and Wkst(s)

Day 15

Post-test: Force & Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE).

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

Applying a particle model to chemical reactions (continued). Activities/Labs/Wksts/Quizzes/Exams