These are a sample of letters sent to the ASU Dean of Natural Sciences by Arizona high school and middle school physics, chemistry, physical science, and math teachers who took ASU Modeling Workshops and Energy & the Environment course in summer 2008. The letters express thanks for tuition exemptions; almost all teachers wrote that they could NOT have afforded to pay the ASU tuition, so those comments are omitted here. (Compiled by Jane Jackson)




I teach 8th grade science at a middle school in ----- and this course fit perfectly with our curriculum.  I started this school year revived with so many new ideas on how to make student learning more meaningful.


I gained ideas in the area of scientific inquiry, Socratic questioning, and classroom management that will help me improve my 8th grade science instruction this year.  My instructors Burr and Rodgers are passionate teachers.  They are both knowledgeable and entertaining.  I hope that you can continue to make a difference for Arizona science teachers.


I strongly hope that this program will continue as it has been a great benefit for me and other teachers throughout Arizona.  I strongly recommend it for other teachers.


I teach on the Navajo reservation at ---- Middle School, It was an excellent opportunity that was provided to me to be able to take the PHS 534 course this past summer.  I am thankful once again for the opportunity, it has given me new insights into teaching my students number sense and the Socratic questioning method---my students are more aware of the importance of questioning the question and discovering new information from a subject they once thought was dry.


I believe these modeling classes should be taken by all science teachers and this method of teaching is the direction that science needs to be moving towards.  It is one of the best science resources and opportunities in the state!


I really feel that the modeling courses have substantially improved my teaching methods and content knowledge.  Specifically, this summer I took Methods of Teaching Physical Science, and I am actively modifying how I approach my inquiry based chemistry labs from what I learned, and I am thrilled with the experience. 




I participated in a chemistry/energy class, and I learned invaluable information to share with my students.


This last summer's Energy in the Environment course I took gave me the opportunity to not only learn some new concepts, but also how to apply and bring them in to my classroom.  I was also able to share many best practices with other teachers in the course.  The summer classes I have taken at ASU are truly the best and most useful Professional Development I have experienced.  This includes the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate conferences I have been to.


I participated in the Energy and the Environment class.  This was such a great experience!  I am using the information I learned to help my students and other teachers learn about how we can sustain the energy in our environment.  The science club at my school has used my experience from this class to start a "going green" campaign at our school.  I have also convinced the other teachers in my department to work topics from this class into their classrooms regardless of science discipline.


These classes provide me with more information to teach my classes, different points of view on different problems, and the contacts that help the ideas keep flowing.


I was very fortunate to be one of the teachers that receive a tuition scholarship to take PHS 505- Energy and the Environment. Lorna and Bill were very enthusiastic teachers, the content of the classroom was very helpful and I am already applying part of it with my students. I would also like to thank you for the  opportunity to take  Modeling Instruction in High School Physics. This was a course that introduced me to a whole new method  of instruction which has been very helpful on my physics classes this year. [A teacher who grew up in South America]




I found the class to be even better than expected and I have told anyone who will listen that it was the most valuable teaching methods course I have ever taken.


The class was truly amazing, and has completely changed my teaching career. I have been energized, and feel that I am finally teaching my students in a way that they can benefit from.


As a teacher, it is difficult to find aligned courses to content area that also enhances quality instruction.  I have recommended this course to numerous other science professionals …


I have been able to apply the modeling method to my teaching of both physics and chemistry and already see the benefits to my students.




The modeling workshop and materials have drastically improved my physics class from last year to this year.  These modeling methods are working far better than I could have ever dreamed, and I am having far more fun as a teacher than I did last year when my physics course looked much like the lecture courses where I learned physics.

  [from a 2nd year teacher]




These courses spill into not only the physics courses I am a part of, but also the mathematics I teach.


I just wanted to thank you sincerely for the tuition scholarship that you provided me this past summer for the Microscopic Models in Electricity and Magnetism course.  It was a wonderful course both in content and teaching pedagogy.  I am always anxious to take these courses because they provide me with great professional development as a physics teacher.  The instructors are always great and there is ample opportunity to dialogue with colleagues and learn from them. [a National Board Certified teacher]


Physics teachers are not plentiful on high school campuses; as such the chance to meet and talk shop with others that understand our same challenges has been the most meaningful aspect of taking summer courses. I have learned much over the last few summers from the courses I have taken that I arrive back to campus excited and energized to share and challenge my students. By taking these upper division courses I have actually sat in the seat of that student in my classroom. I have felt thrill of being at the head of the class, well as that lost student with no idea on where to turn. It has been a while since I have been lost, and the humbling experience was a glorious one because I had other Physics teachers to help me see where/how to progress. These feelings stay with me as I teach and spend additional hours assisting students. [a National Board Certified teacher]


These courses are more valuable than you can possibly imagine, without taking one and implementing yourself.  I have never seen such consistent and grand results from any other thing I've tried to implement in my teaching career.  My students, these past two years, have responded very positively, as have their parents.  For the first time in years, I've been able to push my students to think and apply what they are learning, instead of leaning on me for the answers.