2016 Annual Modeling Workshop Report

This year, we had 7 semester-long science-methods Modeling courses at secondary education institutions, of which 3 in Arizona, 2 in Iowa and 2 in Illinois.

Nine of the Workshops were one week long or shorter of which 5 were Intro to Modeling Workshops™.

37 workshops were the full three-week long workshops and 21 workshops were 2 weeks long.  The last count shows we had almost 1,300 people take a Modeling Workshop™ this year!

For the different content areas:

Mechanics:                          18

Chemistry I:                         13

Chemistry II:                        2

Biology:                                 9

Middle school:                     5

Physical science:                 6

E&M:                                     6

Other: CASTLE, thermodynamics, astronomy, and bootstrap

Engineering:                        2

Leader training:                  2

Curr. Development:           2

Distance Learning

For the first time, a synchronous Electricity and Magnetism distance learning Modeling workshop™ was offered, with an asynchronous part for the labs. The 20 participants (all but two) had taken at least one face-to-face physics Modeling Workshop™ prior to the DL workshop, as was the requirement. The distance learning workshop was the only opportunity for an Australian physics teacher to take a Modeling Workshop™! The workshop leaders were Matt Scheffler (IL) who leads E&M Modeling Workshops™ at Wheaton-Warrenville South High School each summer, and David Weaver (AZ) who has led many online courses for the Maricopa County community colleges. The responses from the attendees were positive and taken into consideration for the upcoming DL workshops for Chemistry II and a second semester for middle school Modeling Workshop™ for the spring of 2017.

Unfortunately, enrollment for the middle school session was too low. The promotions on the listservs about the distance learning workshops caused many members, predominantly associate members, to ask to take the workshop. As they had not taken a previous workshop, they would not be able to take a DL session. The board however, responded and wanted to capture the attention of this group. An intro to Modeling methods course is under development to be offered in the fall 2017. Inquiries for distance learning workshops in different content areas are being considered, supported by the overwhelming responses on a survey.


This summer, Arizona State University with host Dr. Jane Jackson offered a mechanics Modeling Workshop™, CASTLE electricity, and chemistry I (at Tempe Preparatory Academy) with respective leaders: Agatha Anderson and Zachary Kovach, Bill Edelbrock, and Mitch Sweet with trainee Justin Sheets and advisor Russ Shaffer; all leaders are from the Phoenix area. A first-time Thermodynamics Modeling Workshop (CHM 594/ PHS 594), attended by experienced chemistry and physics Modelers, was developed by the leaders Levi Torrison (Estrella Mountain Community College) and Phil Root (Scottsdale Community College), with advice from David Weaver (EMCC). In total, 65 participants took one of the workshops hosted by ASU this summer, among them four teachers from Singapore.

Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA) hosted their third middle school Modeling Workshop™, this year at Desert Oasis Elementary School in the Tolleson School District. Middle school teachers and employees (about 15 in total) from MCESA attended the workshop, led by Christie Mendoza (AZ) and Brian Hoffner (MCESA employee).

For the first time in Arizona, a biology Modeling Workshop was offered at Bourgade Catholic High School in Phoenix. The workshop was attended by 9 local teachers, one teacher from New York and another from New Mexico. The workshop leaders were Chantel Dooley (AZ) and Matthew Kennedy (OH). The workshop was a success and hopefully another biology workshop will be available for 2017.

Karie Meyers from Pima Community College in Tucson was the host and co-leader of the mechanics workshop, led by Kelli Gamez Warble (AZ). Funding for the workshop was made available by PCC, the Provost’s office in particular, and from their PCC HSI-STEM grants (Hispanic-Serving Institution) for the 15 teachers and PCC faculty members.

Aside from the spring semester course PHS 530 / PHY 480: Methods of Teaching Physics I (mechanics) at Arizona State University (for 29 students), a semester long PHS 534/PHY 494: Methods of Physical Science Teaching (matter & energy) was held in the fall at ASU for 13 students and teachers, both led by Kelli Gamez Warble (AZ). Russ Shaffer and Mitch Sweet (both AZ) led CHM 594/CHM 494: Modeling Instruction in Chemistry I (Methods of Teaching Chemistry) at Estrella Mountain Community College. The latter is a 9-week course instead of 15 weeks and all but 3 of the 12 attendees are high school teachers.


At Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Berkeley, CA a workshop to develop astronomy Modeling curriculum was held by Dr. Carl Pennypacker. The attendees were 5 experienced Modelers and three people from Hands on Universe (HOU) taking part in this collaboration with AMTA.

Brenda Royce led a chemistry II workshop for about a dozen teachers, most whom have taken Brenda’s chemistry I workshop in a previous year at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Jon Anderson was the leader of the mechanics Modeling Workshop™ with 16 participants.

At American River College in Sacramento, Larry Dukerich and Raxha (Mina) Bhagdev led a 2-week chemistry workshop to a group of ten people. The workshop was hosted by Linda Zarzana of ARC.

Megan Bartley (MI) hosted and co-led a mechanics Modeling Workshop™ at her school, The Milken School Los Angeles for 11 teachers, with Shannon McLaughlin (IA), before her moving back to Michigan and leading another mechanics workshop in Lansing, Michigan.

Debra Hammill hosted a short professional development session for 24 teachers at the Ventura County Office of Education, using the Modeling curriculum.


Because the 2016 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE) took place at Northern Colorado University in Greeley from July 31 – August 4, Laura Slocum and Larry Dukerich led a 2-week pre-conference Modeling Workshop at UNC. The 9 attendees came from Texas, California, Arizona and Colorado.


David Jones and Laird Kremer of Florida International University in Miami hosted two closed Modeling Workshops™ for 32 teachers of the Miami Dade County Schools. The chemistry workshop was led by Chris Doscher (FL) and the biology session was led by Frank Novakowski (IL) for a second year in a row.

Carlos Montero hosted and led the chemistry I Modeling Workshop™ at his school at University School of Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale for about 10 teachers.


Frank Lock was a Teacher in Residence at Georgia State University; he was the host and one of the leaders of the three week mechanics Modeling Workshop. He led the workshop with Rob Spencer (SC) and there were 9 partakers.


Jim Stankevitz, Phil Culcasi, Frank Novakowski and Matt Scheffler were the organizers and workshop leaders of 5 Modeling Workshops™ at Wheaton Warrenville South High school in June and at DeVry University in Chicago in July. The workshops were in mechanics, chemistry, biology and E&M and attended by 124 people. The leaders had interns to assist them.

The second AMTA retreat was held at Fermilab in Batavia, IL in part because of the special relationships the hosts of the workshops have with the lab. 75 Modelers from all over the United States traveled to Fermilab to spend a weekend together with fellow Modelers.

Science methods courses using the Modeling curriculum are given at University of Illinois at Champaign by Sheila Dean to 19 pre-service teachers. Nathan Harada has 9 students in his course with a physics and chemistry emphasis at the University of Illinois Chicago.

After George Nelson led two 3-week middle school Modeling Workshops™ in Michigan, he continued to lead an intro to Modeling Instruction™ for 10 of his colleagues at Lundahl Middle School in Chrystal Lake.


Dr. Escalada hosted 2 courses at the University of Northern Iowa: Resources for Teaching Physics course in the spring for 15 students and 8 students took the university’s Title II ICCISC (or Integrating Crosscutting Concepts in Iowa Science Classrooms) program during the summer.

At Iowa State University, Shannon McLaughlin (IA) and Bradley Jacobson (IA) collaborated on a mechanics and engineering Modeling Workshop which was led by Brad. Nine teachers took this three-week workshop.


Dr. Gordon Berry received funding to pay for teachers (and instructors) to take one of 3 two-week modeling workshops. The workshops were split:  first week was introductory; the second week was divided into three parts – physics, chemistry, and biology, using the Modeling curriculum. The sites in Indianapolis, Evansville and Gary are all urban and high poverty school district. A total of 66 teachers took part in these workshops. The leaders were Mike Kelley, Ben Grimes, Lynda Rose, Dawn Slein, and Robert Puskek (all IN).


Andrea Walker and CORE Element hosted a middle school Modeling Workshop at Tulane University in New Orleans. Kelli Gamez Warble (AZ) was the workshop leader for a group of 13 teachers, most elementary or middle school teachers.


James Vesenka and his leaders Shannon McLaughlin (IA) for physics and Thomas Pfeiffer (VT) for chemistry had a total of 18 participants in the workshops in Kennebunk. 6 teachers took the chemistry Modeling Workshop: 2 took week 1, 2 others took the second week and 2 teachers attended both the introduction and the intermediate session. The attendance for the physics workshop was larger: 6 people took only the first week, while the other 6 attended both weeks.


Mike Gallagher and the organizers of the MSP grants Modeling Workshops™ were able to host 11 workshops across the state. Workshops were offered in biology – one led by Angela Gard (NC) and the other by Derek Nussbaum Wagler (PA); two middle school workshops were led by George Nelson (IL) and assisted by Richard McNamara (AZ) and Jeff Hengesbach (AZ). Physics workshops were offered in mechanics (1st semester) and E&M (2nd semester); the latter was led by Laura Ritter and Don Pata. The mechanics workshop was led by Laura Sloma and Megan Bartley (both MI). The three chemistry workshops were led by teams of Levi Torrison (AZ), Seth Furlow (MI) and Russ Shaffer (AZ), and Alan Vancil (KS). New curriculum was developed for the 2 physical science Modeling workshops, one led by Phil Root (AZ) and David Leib (KS), the other led by Earl Legleiter (CO) and Alan Vancil (KS). A total of almost 300 teachers took one or two Modeling this summer, and many had taken a workshop in the previous year(s).


A group of 16 teachers were introduced to Modeling Instruction during a one-week session led by Jim Reichling and Eric Gettrust (both WI). The workshop was hosted at Shakopee high school by Casey Rutherford, who is planning to have 2 week- sessions in physics and chemistry for next summer.

New York

Workshops in the state of New York were held at three sites; Darren Broder hosted a workshop at Siena College in Albany for a group of 10 physics teachers. The four-day introductory workshop on the Modeling approach to teaching high school physics focused on utilizing whiteboards.

In Buffalo NY, Dan MacIsaac and his leaders, Dave Doty and Craig Ulrich (all NY) conducted their mechanics Modeling Workshop™ for 14 teachers.

At the Teachers College at Colombia University, Fernand Brunschwig and STEMteachersNYC   delivered workshops to 116 teachers. The mechanics workshop was conducted by Paul Bianchi and Zhanna Glazenburg (both NY) for 13 teachers. The first semester chemistry workshop (18 individuals) was led by Donghong Sun and Rachel Ward (both NY), who just took part in the second semester chemistry Modeling Workshop™, led by Larry Dukerich (AZ), Donghong as co-leader and Rachel as one of the 10 participants. The middle school workshop was led again by team teachers Erin Conrardy (HI) and Kate Bauer (AZ) for a total of 11 teachers.

Funding from the Simons Foundation enabled STEMteachersNYC and AMTA to organize two one-week Modeling Leadership Workshops. Week I was led by Craig Buszka (NJ) and Ray Howanski (PA) for 11 new Modelers and Colleen Megowan-Romanowicz (CA) had 13 new leaders in her session. The candidates were from all over the United States and one even from Hong Kong, and all content areas. To round up the summer sessions, a one week curriculum development workshop and an intro to modeling session were hosted as well by STEMteachersNYC and led by Mark Schober (NY).

A collaboration of AMTA, STEMteachersNYC and AAPT worked at a 3-week workshop to develop Modeling curriculum in coding with partner Pyret and Bootstrap. This endeavor is a 2-year program, funded by grants from NSF and 100 k in 10. The 11 Modelers worked with the developers and continue the partnership during the school year and the 2017 summer.

 North Carolina

Scott Ragan organized four funded Modeling Workshops™ at North Carolina State University’s Science House again. David Farabee and Stephen Colbert led a chemistry workshop, attended by 22 teachers. Thirty-five teachers took one of the 2 biology workshops with Julie Maimes, LaToya Scott, Jennifer Griffin, and Lynn Gaskin. The physical science workshop was led by Tom Brown and Mike Turner and attended by 23 teachers. All workshop leaders are local.


Holly McTernan hosted a second Modeling Workshop™ with Baldwin Wallace College in Cleveland. This summer, 8 teachers took the mechanics Modeling workshop, led by Jess Dykes (PA) and Holly (OH). Plans are in the works for a chemistry Modeling Workshop™ for next summer.

Kathy Koenig from the University of Cincinnati hosted a mechanics Modeling Workshop™ for the second year in a row, this summer for 17 teachers. The workshop leaders were Ben Buehler (IN) and Aaron Debbink (OH).

Ohio State University offered 3-week workshops in chemistry, mechanics, curriculum development/advanced, and a one-week session in engineering and Modeling. The chemistry workshop was led by Liz Emmer and Tom Wisard for 20 participants. 15 teachers took part in the mechanics workshop, led by Brian Carpenter and Chas Deremer.  Heidi Kresge and Rick Jacox, with assistance of Matthew Kennedy, led the curriculum development workshop for 14 returning Modelers. Kathy Harper, the organizer of the Modeling Workshops™ at OSU and long-time Modeler, led the one week engineering session with a small group of teachers. The workshop leaders and interns are all from Ohio.

At Bowling Green State University, a total of 37 teachers took either the biology Modeling Workshop™ led by Kristina Newman or the physics/chemistry session conducted by Kim Layden and Nate Ash. The workshop leaders are all local.

Nidaa Makki hosted a second workshop for teachers at the University of Akron. Materials used for this professional development session are, among other resources, Modeling curriculum.

South Carolina

Nathan Belcher hosted his second Intro to Modeling Workshop™ at Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant. The school’s PTO helped with funding, allowing a small group of 3 teachers to take the workshop, which was led by Jason Lonon, who led the workshop last summer as well.


After the first semester physics Modeling Workshop in 2015, Southern Methodist University and host Dr. Dalley hosted a second semester workshop. The Electricity and Magnetism workshop was led by Michael Crofton (MN) and Dan Garrison (TX). Seven teachers took the three week workshop.

In Austin, a 10-day mechanics Modeling Workshop™ was hosted at Michal Dolan’s school; St Edwards. Kay Fincher was the workshop leader for a group of 9 novice modelers.

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