Please DONATE ASU scholarships for teachers, or

VOLUNTEER and enjoy it, on behalf of Modeling Instruction!



Our greatest need at ASU is for partial tuition scholarships for teachers who take our summer 3-week Modeling Workshops and advanced physics courses. Reasons: teacher salaries are low (starting at $34,000 for new teachers) and ASU tuition is unaffordable for most teachers (about $2200 for a course in 2022 for Arizona teachers and about $3700 for out-of-state teachers).


Would you like to contribute to a partial tuition scholarship? To donate, ask Brendan Cunningham. He's a Development Director in our College!


Want to see a list of recent donors, and learn more? Click here.



* 1-for-1 MATCH for donations to endowment fund, since 2016 & ongoing!

* Details: In 2014, we began a $1,000,000 "improving physics and chemistry teachers scholarships" endowment fund. To invest, ask Brendan Cunningham, a Director of Development for The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, for advice. The payout (interest) goes toward an immediate scholarship for a teacher! (Read about the initial donor, Jane Jackson (thanks to her mother, Marjorie Chapman) -- or download.)



We always have work to do, and we have a good time doing it! If you are a science teacher – retired, a stay-at-home parent, have free time during the summer – and want to serve your fellows and be challenged, please join us and volunteer.


If you’d like to volunteer with us for any length of time, please call or e-mail me: 480-965-8438. We can always use volunteer help!


I wrote what’s in black below, and Colleen Megowan added the suggestions in red.


Use your talents and interests to do a project below.

Which of these five categories describes you?


I. You live within commuting distance of ASU.

·               Most needed, for we have no staff! Help update our data base of Arizona physics teachers..

·               Suggest a local project of importance to you; talk with Jane Jackson about it.

·               Call teachers to ask them to submit student data on concept inventory.

·               Recruit teachers for modeling workshops: call physics and/or chemistry teachers in metropolitan Phoenix (from your home?) and invite them to take a modeling workshop. Or call physics teachers statewide and invite them. (You’d call their school to ask when their prep period is or when their last class ends; and then call the teacher personally. It’s enjoyable!)

·               Mentor a new physical science modeler. Most 8th and 9th grade physical science teachers are out-of-field. A modeling workshop can be daunting because of the content, even if they’ve taught for many years. You can be a great help to them.

·               Offer to help newer physics modelers to increase their enrollment by working with their counselors and chemistry teachers. (A resource is Earl Barrett’s 2009 article in THE PHYSICS TEACHER). (Modeling Instruction eliminates the “higher math” prerequisite that counselors use to discourage ‘ordinary’ students from taking physics, since trigonometry can be done graphically.)

·               Ask Colleen Megowan, AMTA Executive Officer, what help she needs for the AMTA.

·               Organize or lead a short non-credit summer workshop (one to five days, or mornings, or afternoons, in early June) – on something of broad interest to local physics, chemistry, or physical science teachers. For example, teach them how to make a hovercraft; or make some of Rex Rice’s low-cost apparatus for modeling units ( ). We’d announce it on TCHRS listserv.

·               Poll Arizona physics or chemistry modelers by phone, to find out their greatest needs.

·               Set up a list of substitute modeling teachers for physics or chemistry modelers. (We’d announce it on TCHRS listserv.)

·               Figure out how modeling instruction can be used with FOSS kits in middle school.

·               Work with the curriculum coordinator in a local school district to organize middle school or elementary school modeling workshops using Federal Title II-A funds. (Info on Title II-A is at the ADE website & at; workshop designs are at .)

·               Set up a mutual ‘long-term adoption’ program with local businesses, whereby physics and chemistry teachers’ ASU tuition for modeling workshops is paid by the company, in return for which the teacher provides a service to the company.

·               Set up business partnerships with physics and chemistry modeling teachers, in conjunction with the Arizona Science Center. (Peggy Bondurant, now at Compadre HS in Tempe UHSD, partnered with a retired engineer; it was great, she said!)

·               Convince the Arizona Department of Education to add or recommend modeling workshops.

·               Offer to give talks on Modeling Instruction at meetings of the Arizona sections of the Assn of School Boards and/or groups of superintendents and principals.

·      Are you a good speaker? Let’s put together a speakers’ bureau. We all have things we are most comfortable speaking about. We need a central repository for this information. Who speaks best on what…to what type of group…how often…contact info…

·      Are you a good scavenger? Scrounge for stuff that is useful in teaching and learning physics…ball bearings, springs, batteries, bulbs, clip leads, magnets, carts, tracks, laser pointers…let’s have a “equipment and supply bank” that new/needy modelers can tap to have the stuff they need to do a good job. Maybe you aren’t a good scrounger but you’re a good organizer and you’ve got some space you can devote to our supply bank…that’s good too.

·      Are you a good librarian? Help us create a searchable library of literature and statistics (and URLs that we can use when we want to make a case for something, i.e., the effectiveness of a modeling workshop compared with the teacher prep we had in college; physics first; the usefulness of MNS courses; the central conceptual models we should be using to construct a modeling curriculum in biology.

·      Are you a web-designer? Help us develop a more pervasive interactive web presence so that we know who our users are.

·      Are you a good detective? Help us locate students who have learned physics via modeling instruction so we can find out where they are now, what they’re doing, and whether or not there is any long-term modeling residue that affected or is affecting LAMP (life after modeling physics).


II. You’re a modeler and live anywhere – could be far away from ASU. You want to work directly with us. E-mail for instructions and help in getting started.

·               Most needed: Make compilations of modeling listserv posts.

·               Get Action Research reports ready to post on the modeling website. Several groups of MNS degree teachers submitted action research reports on curricula that they developed. You’d choose a group, contact them, and ask for updated versions to post. Better yet, see if you can turn an action research finding into an article for The Physics Teacher or The Science Teacher or even one of the Teacher Action Research Journals (Colleen Megowan would help you with this).

·               Help with the AMTA website:

·               Start a research project to find out the percentage of high school graduates of modelers who intend to major in a science or engineering in college. Business people and others want to know this. For example, Carmela Minaya Jones, formerly at the Hanalani School in Hawaii, wrote in May 2006, “I have several students who are majoring in science related fields largely due to the implementation of Modeling Instruction in my classroom. The percentage has gone up from 13% (pre-modeling) to 51% in more recent years.”

·               Start a research project to find out SAT-II scores and/or AP-1 or AP-C exam scores of students of physics modelers, compared to scores of non-modelers. (This may require some special permissions—talk to Colleen to find out what you would need to do).

·               Find out what modeling-friendly instructional materials exist for high school and middle school earth science and environmental science. Post your findings to the modeling listserv. Also, investigate the MORE chemistry program. For middle school, learn about MITS (Models in Technology and Science). Weblinks to some programs are at .



III. You’re a modeler who lives anywhere, and you want to work for better science education in your region.

·               Give talks to service organizations in your town: Soroptimists, Rotary, Lions, etc. (David Hestenes gave a talk to Soroptimists Intl. of Phoenix, and they donated $3000 for ASU tuition scholarships for three women teachers to take a modeling workshop. Use a PowerPoint at )

·               Run for school board. (Jeff Steinert, a modeling workshop leader, was on the school board of his nearby town, when he was a young physics teacher in Maine.)

·               Convince your local colleagues to take a modeling workshop.

·               Talk with supportive faculty (physics, chemistry, science education) in your local college, university, or community college about modeling instruction. Convince them to seek funding to hold a local modeling workshop. Help them write a proposal. (For resources and sample proposals, visit

·               Organize or lead an introductory local modeling workshop.

·               Mentor a new modeler. (See above.)

·               Offer to help newer physics modelers to increase their enrollment by working with their counselors and chemistry teachers. (See above.)

·               If you have a local physics alliance and a group of modelers, follow the example of the St. Louis Assn of Physics Teachers (SLAPT), which is modeling-friendly. A weblink to SLAPT is at, or go directly to .)

·               Offer to give talks on Modeling Instruction at meetings of your regional sections of the Assn of School Boards and/or groups of superintendents and principals.

·               Set up business partnerships with physics and chemistry modeling teachers.

·               Work with the curriculum coordinator in a local school district to organize middle school or elementary school modeling workshops using Federal Title II-A funds.

·               Write op-ed articles for your newspaper, or a blog.

·               Host a science club that employs a modeling approach to tackling some interesting complex personally relevant problem…as David Hestenes likes to point out, the best predictor of what a student will do when they grow up is not their grades—it’s what they do in their spare time. If you don’t want to host the club yourself, help someone who does by raising the funds to help finance the club and pay the teacher a coaching salary.

·               Are you a good writer? Help new modelers find grant opportunities and write grant proposals to get the equipment they need.

·               Are you a good colleague? Start a Professional Learning Community for modelers in your school or in your area that gathers once a week, or even gathers virtually (for “virtual office hours”) and spend some time reflecting on particular aspects of their practice.

·               Do you want your students to be better prepared for your class? Start a network of science and math teachers from your feeder schools…get to know them and what they do and how they do it and what they need…sometimes it’s as simple as “could you give me 20 grams of potassium chloride?” or “could I borrow your skeleton for a couple weeks?” or “could you explain to me the difference between force and energy?”


IV. You’re a modeler who lives anywhere, and you want to work for better science education generally.

·               Write letters (not e-mails) to staff of business consortiums who care about K-12 science education. Inform them about Modeling Instruction. Try to catch their attention and to educate them about it. (They don’t see the power of modeling. All they see is the value of project/problem-based learning compared to lecture. Connect modeling with project learning: models first, then projects; models are guides that enable students to do projects.) For staff contacts: your state affiliate of the National Alliance of State Science and Mathematics Coalitions: ACHIEVE: Business-Higher Education Forum: (Examples of letters to NASSMC and BHEF are at; also letters to a newpaper education journalist.)

·               Write an article about some use of Modeling Instruction for The Physics Teacher, The Science Teacher, your AAPT section website, your state science teachers’ newsletter, etc. (For examples of published articles, visit .)

·               Write op-ed articles, or a blog.

·               Form a relationship with a legislator, and inform them about effective science education. The American Physical Society website is a resource.


V. You have no time, but you would like to donate funds. Call or e-mail me: we’ll be glad to discuss opportunities. (See above.)



The bottom line:


One of our most important tasks as educators is to teach people to think scientifically. We need a populace who can think clearly, in this day of rapid change and vast power for good or bad in our world. The modeling method of instruction teaches people to think scientifically. I encourage you to support its use in high schools in your area. This will gradually dispel ignorance and heal divisions in our society that result from dogmatism. – Jane Jackson


An important task of all of us in our society is to formulate and evaluate scientific claims. Scientific claims can be predictions or they can be explanations. How do you formulate a scientific claim clearly? How do you evaluate it? This, of course, is something we want students to be able to do in LIFE! A general capability! to be able to evaluate people’s claims in life situations. But before you can evaluate a claim, you must express it clearly! From the modeling point of view, we need MODELS for evaluating the claims. We need:

1) models, to formulate and evaluate scientific claims,

2) methods to investigate the applicability of these models,

3) data, to evaluate the models.

All of this is aimed at justified belief! We want students to have responsibility for their own knowledge.

-- David Hestenes, in his lecture #3: Discourse.




The heart that loves is always young.


Service is the mode, par excellence, of opening the heart.


Service is the urge to group good.


Service is the spontaneous outflow of a loving heart and an intelligent mind; it is the result of being in the right place and staying there.


We are called to shape an uncertain destiny.


Let’s sacrifice (= make sacred) for the greater good.



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This page was last updated on December 26, 2020.