Curriculum Storylines

Driven by Model-Building

As early as 1990, teachers trained in Modeling Instruction began sharing laboratories and lessons they created to encourage student-centered building of scientific models in their classrooms. Finding quality lessons can be challenging, since traditional textbooks are often written in a piecemeal format without a coherent story-line that resonates with students to increase their understanding.

Therefore, Modeling teachers typically use summer professional development to discuss questions at the heart of student-learning:

  • What fundamental models are critical to understanding the core of each STEM field?
  • What “paradigm” labs and lessons will uncover these core ideas for students?
  • In what sequence should these activities be presented to maximize deep learning and model-building?
  • Is this sequence reflective of the true nature of scientific and mathematical practices?

The AMTA community constantly works to refine and share the most effective ideas developed by our members with STEM teachers throughout the world. AMTA members and workshop attendees have complete access to all of our shared lessons via our Curriculum Resources page.

Follow the links below to view our Storylines and Sample Curriculum


Roughly following the historical order in which scientists developed understanding of motion and force, we move from descriptive models of motion to causal models involving force and then into modeling conserved quantities such as momentum and energy.


The three questions that guide our approach to understanding chemistry are: How do we view matter? How does it behave? What is the role of energy in the changes we observe?

Middle School Science

Based upon fundamental models that unify scientific disciplines: Descriptive models of matter and classification Causal models of energy as an agent of change Interaction models of matter and energy

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