Welcome to the public website of the American Modeling Teachers Association!
AMTA is an professional organization of teachers, by teachers and for teachers who utilize Modeling Instruction in their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teaching practice. Its mission is to provide professional development for science teachers in the Modeling Method of Instruction, to provide resources that support the use of Modeling Instruction in physics, chemistry, biology and middle school science classrooms, to support and enable collaboration among Modelers–to foster brilliant teaching and deep learning. 

Modeling Instruction, under continuous development since 1990 under the leadership of David Hestenes (Emeritus Professor of Physics, Arizona State University), corrects many weaknesses of the traditional lecture-demonstration method of teaching science, including fragmentation of knowledge, student passivity, and the persistence of naive beliefs about the physical world. Unlike traditional approaches to teaching science, in which students wade through an endless stream of seemingly unrelated topics, Modeling Instruction organizes each course around a small number of scientific models that form the content core of the discipline, thus making the course coherent. It applies structured inquiry techniques to the teaching of basic skills: (the Next Generation Science Standards call these Science and Engineering Practices) in mathematical modeling, proportional reasoning, quantitative estimation and technology-enabled data collection and analysis.. Continue reading Welcome

AMTA Board member David Weaver receives AAPT Homer L. Dodge Citation

David Weaver, AMTA Board Member at Large, today received the Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service to the American Association of Physics Teachers. David’s term as Member at Large on the AMTA Board runs from 2014-2017, and we are honored to have his contribution to AMTA in addition to his exceptional work with AAPT.

Read the press release announcing David’s award here.

David Weaver receiving the Citation
Steven Ino, Past President of AAPT, presenting the Homer L. Dodge Citation to David Weaver at the AAPT National Meeting in New Orleans, LA.


Distance Learning: Electricity and Magnetism available spring 2016

There has been a lot of interest in having distance learning “second” Modeling Workshops for Modelers who really want to experience second semester conceptual model development (in physics and chemistry) using Modeling curriculum resources in a workshop setting with experienced instructors. In light of this, AMTA will offer a 45-hour Distance Learning E&M Modeling Workshop led by Matt Scheffler and David Weaver.

E & M iconThe course will run on Wednesdays from Feb. 3 through May 11, 2016, with synchronous class meetings:

  • 4:00-7:00 PM Pacific
  • 5:00-8:00 PM Mountain
  • 6:00-9:00 PM Central
  • 7:00-10:00 PM Eastern,

The course will run for 15 consecutive weeks which will require three hours per week during the aforementioned times for synchronous communications as well as at least three additional hours per week for individual and virtual group work. Regardless of whether you sign up for graduate credit or not, we expect you bring your Modeling “A” game each week and interact both in class and out of class like we all expect from our students. If you don’t have at least 6 hours per week to devote to this course, you should probably wait until you can attend a traditional face-to-face course.

Prerequisites: A distance learning course is a different learning experience from a face-to-face Modeling Workshop. It assumes participants are familiar with Modeling discourse management, classroom culture and the design of the learning environment in a Modeling classroom. For this reason we do not recommend that you take this course if you have never before taken a Modeling Workshop. But if you’ve been wishing you could make it to another workshop and just couldn’t manage the logistics, this could be just what you have been looking for. Nothing beats a face-to-face workshop, but if that’s not possible for you, this will be a solid alternative.

Here is David’s description of the course:

E&M Distance Learning Modeling Workshop (not an oxymoron)

Matt Scheffler, who teaches at Wheaton Warrenville South HS, and I are offering a distance learning E&M modeling workshop for 4 graduate credits, starting in February. Continue reading Distance Learning: Electricity and Magnetism available spring 2016

Contribute to AMTA when you buy whiteboards

AMTA has entered an agreement with WhiteBoardsUSA in which they will donate to AMTA 10% of all sales to our members. All you need to do is mention that you are an AMTA member, and they will send us a check!

group around a whiteboardFor ten years, WhiteBoardsUSA has been distributing class-size whiteboards (23.6″ x 31.6″) in both portrait and landscape formats (each has a handhold cutout which determines if the board is landscape or portrait). They thought a ten-year anniversary would be a good time to offer a fundraising opportunity for AMTA–we appreciate their thought and encourage you to think of whiteboardsUSA for your next whiteboard purchase.

whiteboard being routedThese boards aren’t as cheap as buying them and having them cut at your local big-box lumber store, but they have smoothed/ rounded edges and the handhold cutout that you won’t get going “on the cheap.”

If your budget will allow it, we encourage you to purchase from whiteboardsUSA–click here and be sure to mention you are an AMTA member when you purchase so we get our donation!

If you place an order with WhiteboardsUSA, please let us know we we can judge how well this campaign is going:

Maiden Voyage of a Kinematics Robot

Matt Greenwolfe, a long-time physics modeler, recently had an article published in The Physics Teacher (April 2015) describing a robotic kinematics apparatus he designed. Students program the robot by drawing kinematic graphs on a computer and then observe its motion. The full article is available on the Publications and Report page under the [Research] tab. Enjoy.

Supporting Modeling Instruction around the USA and the world.

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