UNSOLICITED TESTIMONIALS FROM TEACHERS WORLDWIDE, ABOUT MODELING INSTRUCTION

2004-2009

 

Many teachers have participated in Modeling Workshops at universities in many states, including, for example, Maine, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri. The excerpts here are a sample of many letters of appreciation that were submitted spontaneously, without being requested – too many to record.  (Collected by Jane Jackson)

 

Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2004

From an experienced modeler in California:

... our conceptual physics course that started with 20 students two years ago is now up to 60 students.  Many students who would not have otherwise taken physics with our algebra II concurrent enrollment prerequisite are learning modeling physics with their C in algebra I

prerequisite.  All labs and problems in the conceptual physics course are kept linear.  The conceptual physics course counts toward the A-G California University physical lab science requirement.

 

Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004

(This note is from an Arizona "crossover" physics teacher who is a longtime Modeling Workshop leader and whose student FCI posttest average is always among the highest in the nation.)

[The Modeling Instruction Program is] responsible for my understanding of and love for physics. Sometimes I wish I could afford to take a sabbatical just to study and learn more physics. Before modeling I did NOT feel that way.

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Date:    Tue, 22 Jun 2004

... I have officially retired from teaching ... I would still like to keep in touch with what is happening, and your listserv is full of good information. I am still one of your strong supporters and advocate of Modeling Physics. I still talk up your program to anyone who will listen.

     I finished my last four years doing only modeling and it was a fun and very rewarding.  This has been one of the first times I feel my students have accomplished something (and myself as well). I wish I were 30 years younger and I would really have gone 'bananas' with Modeling.  I want to

thank you very much for allowing me to come out for two summers at ASU. Those two summers were extremely beneficial to me.

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Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004

From a "Teach for America" teacher

Thank you for all the work you did in making the Modeling Workshop...work. It was such a great time, by far the best "professional development" I've encountered so far (never mind my short teaching career).  The camaraderie developed among our group was more than I expected and it made for a great social/learning experience.  The facilities that you provided were excellent.  I greatly appreciate your efforts and sense of quality.

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Fall 2004. From a teacher in Texas:

... You know, I really thought that modeling wouldn't work until I tried it, and I can't believe what I'm hearing and seeing as far as the amount of student understanding.  My classes are so much fun and they like to come to class and even have skipped a field trip so that they didn't miss a lab.  I couldn't believe that one. I was amazed.

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Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004

From a Wisconsin teacher

I took a modeling class this past summer at UW-Oshkosh.  It was wonderful.  I plan on taking the next phase this coming summer. ... Thanks for all of the insights on listserve.  It's been very beneficial.

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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004

From John Matsik, a modeler in North Carolina

I have gone through the workshops at Appalachian State and UNCG in NC.  Last year was the first physics class since taking the classes. In NC we have to take the End Of Course Test for a lot of our science, math and English classes.  Only two classes had 100% proficiency on the EOC.  One was in an English class at our "Technology School" where all students must be proficient to just get into the school; and my Physics class at ______ High School.  The only thing that I changed from the last class that I taught was the methods that I learned in the modeling workshops.

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Date:    Sat, 22 Jan 2005

From:    Robert W. Bingham

    I'm happy to tell the world that both our crew(s) and leaders this past summer, and the work we all did, were some of the best experiences in my life. I have a Master's and three prior careers, so I take these courses for technique practice, curriculum content, and collegial sharing. "I like it; I love it; I want some more of it!"

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Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005

From: Short, Tom (KNHS) (a teacher in a DoDEA high school in Japan)

The value of the modeling course is well beyond any other teaching support or education I have ever, or expect to receive. I am disappointed to hear that the funding and therefore opportunity for educating more physics teachers has been lost. I can not overstate the value of what I learned.

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Feb. 2, 2005

From: robert mullgardt (instructor at the University of Missouri at St. Louis)

    I often think of those days at ASU and the modeling workshops.  Though officially retired from Clayton I am still teaching there, as my university class meets there in my old room where Rex and I taught for many years.... I am using the modeling materials and philosophy entirely in the course (these are MAT students in science) with great success.  I have had students indicate that their college physics experience was not their favorite and that for the first time they really understood mechanics and Newton's Laws!!

  WOW...some endorsement of the modeling approach!

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Feb. 18, 2005. From a high school physics teacher in Michigan:

Two and 3 summers ago I attended two Modeling Workshops at ASU and found them to be the most important summers of my young teaching career.  That is why I am applying to come back for a third summer.

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Feb. 21, 2005

From Brenda Royce, Modeling Workshop leader in Fresno, California:

The modeling workshops and e-mail conversations of the last few years (physics and chemistry) have been some of the best professional development I have been a part of, in terms of curriculum and pedagogy.

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March 6, 2005. From Andrew Stillman.

I have had a wonderful time and built a successful program with a great deal of help from the "Modeling Approach," ... The kids are intense, loving, angry, diverse, poor, non-white Brooklyn kids. The best and brightest end up in my Physics class.  Many will be the first in their families to attend 4-year colleges.  On a bad day, the job can challenge you to the core, but getting them to think and work like scientists sends chills down the spine! Modeling works tremendously with them because they love to argue and be in the spotlight...

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Date: Mon, 16 May 2005

From: Laurance Lohr

I took the modeling workshop at UNCG, 99-2000.  ... I am a Biology major certified also in math.  I went through High School and College without ever taking Physics.  Physics Modeling was the first Physics class I have ever taken. I took it because I was asked by my principal to teach Physics the next school year.  I believe I am an effective Physics teacher and I owe it all to the Modeling Pedagogy and the valuable experience of participating in the workshops.  I would love to take more.  Thanks for all you have done for high school Physics. 

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Date: Fri, 06 May 2005

From: Jim Stankevitz, a Modeling Workshop leader near Chicago

...By the way, after our district workshop this summer, all of our school's physics teachers will have been trained in modeling, and 15 out of the entire 18 science staff will have had a modeling workshop!  (Only 3 biology teachers will not have been trained.)  It has taken 9 years, but one by one, we've become a modeling staff!

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Joseph Vanderway, a young high school physics teacher near Los Angeles, earned a degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). He learned Modeling Instruction in 1995-1997 at ASU.  Excerpt from a post to the modeling listserv (1600 subscribers at the time):

Mon, 10 Apr 2006

     I've always been up-front about this.  I tell my students that I don't attempt to teach physics.  I attempt to teach thinking - I use physics as a vehicle.

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Date: Sun, 03 Sep 2006 

From: "dean, trevor" (a young teacher in Louisiana, whose degree is in Theatre. He attended ASU.)

... in the one year that I have been modeling I have seen wonderful results.

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Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006

From: Marci Denney

Hi!  I love the modeling physics program and want to cheer for the difference I saw in the understanding of my students when I implemented the Mechanics materials for the first time last year!  I wish Arizona State was closer to Iowa, as I would love to take the rest of the Modeling sequence (including chemistry, which I am now teaching).

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Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006

From: "Gareth Kucinkas" (took a Modeling Workshop in Maine; teaches in Switzerland)

Thank you for the entire modeling website and support. I love teaching this way, but without the site it would be impossible.  I am teaching IB physics and unfortunately must teach to the test for a significant amount of time. I also teach the IGCSE curriculum but that is easier to accomplish with the modeling. Last year I also used the chemistry material and it was fantastic.

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Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006

From: Ray Howanski (He co-led a chemistry modeling workshop in 2008 in Philadelphia, PA.)

This is Ray Howanski from Ridley High School. We have had 3 Physics teachers and 5 Chemistry teachers enhance their professional development at your ASU modeling workshops.  Modeling has made a world of difference in our science courses and we are working to continue this improvement. In addition to spearheading a Physics modeling workshop of our own here on the east coast, we are also teaming with a local college to have a Chemistry professor provide ongoing professional development.

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(Roberta's modeling workshop was at Black Hills State University, in Spearfish, South Dakota.)

From: Roberta Traxinger

Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006

I am a high school Physics teacher, and I attended a modeling workshop presented by Jerry Loomer in the summer of 2000. I have used the materials ever since, and I believe that workshop made a bigger positive change in my teaching than anything else I have ever done.

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Karrie Anderson teaches at Randolph HS, Randolph WI. She attended three-week modeling workshops in physics at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh in summers 2003 and 2004.

 

Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006

From: Karrie Anderson

Subject: Modeling vs Traditional and effects on AP

Sender: chemMod - chemistry modeling teachers <CHEMMOD@asu.edu>

To: CHEMMOD@asu.edu

     Hello all!  This is my second year teaching with the modeling curriculum and I have to say that I never thought that high school students could ever understand some of the more complicated concepts.  I mean after Unit 2 and 3, they are a hop, skip, and a jump from enthalpy.  This, by the way, is a topic that is well covered in the AP exam.  I struggled with some of these things even as a junior in college.  I never thought that they could get it in high school!

     I am also teaching AP chem. for the first time this year.  I have a couple of students that had me when I was "traditional" and the rest had modeling. I have found even though all are exceptional students, the modelers have an easier time connecting ideas.  I know that this is still my first year, but the further I go into the AP depths, I can really see how modeling in the first year class fits really well with the AP curriculum.  I don't think that you are lacking or missing material necessarily, it just allows ideas to be developed as a whole rather than bits and pieces tossed in because they are on the topic list.

     I also take the time to add in items that used to find difficult spending quality time on.  For example; orbitals.  I teach them in unit 4 right after the sticky tape lab and students finally understand what they mean.  I then continue with them to help explain the bonding and why they bond with certain #s of electrons.  They come away with a real functional knowledge of

orbitals but without getting into all of the pesky ins and outs.  They see them as useful when applied to their particle model and not just something else to memorize for the test and then forget later.

     I am a true believer.  And so are my students.  They have said on numerous occasions that they have learned more this year than they ever did in all of the other science classes.  Whiteboarding sessions are incredible and the students take an ownership in the modeling.  Thanks for everything you do, Larry and Brenda.  Your materials are awesome and I am so pleased that you are willing to share this with me!

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From: Leigh Reisinger

Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2007

    I attended a workshop in St. Louis, Missouri in 2000.  Hal Harris of UMSL and Rex Rice were coordinating.  I have been using modeling ever since  - love it!

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Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007

From: Pamela Perry

I participated in a two week modeling method workshop for physics at the University of Maine in Orono in the late 1990's.  I have been using this ever since with wonderful results.

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(The next two notes are from teachers in Sydney, Australia and Perth, Australia, respectively. Their government had paid for them to participate here in previous summers. The notes were written to another teacher in Sydney who expressed interest in taking our ASU modeling workshop.)

 

Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007

From: Silburn, Kenneth

The course is excellent.  It definitely has influenced the way that I teach science.  Not just the modeling instruction, but also the interaction with some very dedicated and switched on teachers.

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Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007

From: George Przywolnik

I can only echo Ken's comments - it's a life changing kinda course and a fantastic opportunity to interact with some dedicated and talented people. Get there, do the course, any way you can.

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(When Carolyn Hannum took a five-week Modeling Workshop in 1992 at ASU from Malcolm Wells and Gregg Swackhamer, she was teaching in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She now is an administrator in that school district.)

Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007

From: hannum, carolyn

The modeling workshop I attended at ASU was the most valuable professional development I have ever had as a physics teacher.

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18 Oct 2007

From: Javier Melendez (physics teacher at Brophy Prep in Phoenix, AZ. National Board Certified)

Better trained teachers make for higher achieving students.  Tuition costs are a real obstacle for teachers to take these courses, which I believe are the best form of professional development.

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On 9/2/08, Steven Keith wrote:

I retired from teaching in 2006 after spending the last part of my career implementing the Modeling methodology which I gleaned mainly through attendance at PASCO Scientific's Summer Institutes in  Roseville California.  Because of Modeling, the last years of my teaching were the most exciting and rewarding of my 32 year career.

 

 

 

From: Silburn, Kenneth

Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2009

Subject: thank you from Australia

Hi Jane

     I thought I would send you an email.  Just to again thank you for the opportunity to have completed the modelling instruction physics course.  Although I completed the course in 2006, it has been highly beneficial and its philosophy is embedded into the way that I teach.  Our curriculum is different from that in the US, however the techniques of teaching are still the same.

     Since completing the course my teaching has been rewarded with the recognition from the NSW Department of Education in receiving a Ministers Award for Quality Teaching in 2007, and the Excellence in the integration of ICT award 2008.  I have finally completed my thesis for a Doctor of Education.  All of these have been a flow on effect of completing the course.

     Could you please pass on sincere thanks to your instructors of the course who might be pleased that they are contributing not only to the science education of students in the US, but also internationally in Australia.

Many thanks

Ken Silburn

Head Teacher Science

Casula High School