ASU Modeling Instruction in High School Physics & Chemistry: Annual Report
The Modeling Instruction Program in the ASU Department of Physics has addressed a severe shortage of qualified physics teachers in Arizona since 1998, even while the number of local physics teachers doubled. Since 2005 we have addressed a shortage of local chemistry teachers as well. A surplus of biology teachers exists, and we have prepared many of them to teach chemistry and/or physics.
Physics is STEM! Physics is a true STEM course, when Modeling Instruction is used. It includes more math, technology, and engineering than any other high school science course.
Actions for sustainability in 2015-16:
* Special recognition for first-time supporters Air Products and ON Semiconductor.
* Special recognition to long-time supporter Salt River Project and first-time supporter Western Alliance Bank (to finance a fall 2016 chemistry Modeling Workshop in the West Valley).
* Increased participation on Sun Devil Giving Day by 100% and raised more than $2000 for scholarships. Teachers and the community that benefit from this program also support it!
Recent news stories:
ASU graduate courses in summer 2016:
Enrollment increased: 76 physics and chemistry teachers — 63 in Arizona and 13 from out-of-state — participated in four peer-led Modeling Workshops and three other graduate courses. Included were four teachers sent by the Ministry of Education in Singapore. This brings their total to 47 teachers in ten years. Singapore students have highest math and science scores in international tests; this is strong evidence for the high quality of Modeling Instruction.
Courses are content-intensive; and integration of physics, chemistry, and math is emphasized. The ultimate target is not the teachers themselves but their students. Therefore each course addresses the subject at a level that prepares them to entice and inform their students.
We are thankful for our two major donors, The Boeing Company and Salt River Project. Their donations for program support and partial tuition scholarships made our summer 2016 program possible. ASU tuition is unaffordable for most teachers. For 6 years, we have not been eligible for state grants, so we serve half as many Arizona teachers, with one-fifth the budget. We are thankful for partial tuition scholarships provided also from donations by Air Products, ON Semiconductor, & numerous individuals, and payout from our scholarship endowment fund.
About Modeling Instruction:
Modeling Instruction is an innovative, effective hands-on pedagogy: it is guided inquiry structured by modeling principles. It develops in students the ability to analyze data, reach a conclusion and defend it; and it emphasizes experiment design. Other 21st century skills developed include scientific use of computers and probeware, teamwork, and verbal and written communication skills. Students become self-directed, independent learners. It is aligned with the National Research Council (NRC)’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, the research-based document upon which the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been developed.
Student achievement on tests of concept understanding is typically double that of traditional instruction. A modeler wrote, “One can only imagine the future of science if only we all could understand the power of modeling.”
Effect of ASU Modeling Instruction in Arizona:
Since 1998, 1000 unique Arizona teachers have taken 15-day Modeling Workshops. We estimate that 100,000 Arizona students benefit each year.
Modeling Instruction is used in many schools in Greater Phoenix; for example, Hamilton High School in Chandler USD, Red Mountain High School in Mesa USD, Mountain Pointe High School in Tempe UHSD, Arizona School for the Arts, Tempe Preparatory Academy, some Great Hearts Academies, Estrella Mountain Community College, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Our main school partner is Phoenix Union High School District.