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Modeling Instruction


Modeling Instruction is an effective approach to instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses; it was first developed for physics in the early 1990s by a professor at Arizona State University (Dr. David Hestenes) and local high school physics teacher (Dr. Malcolm Wells). The curriculum has since been expanded to many other areas of science, with workshops held annually to train teachers in the modeling methodology. Modeling curriculum is now run by the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA); more information about the organization, curriculum, and research may be found by clicking here.


Modeling Instruction is a way to teach students collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and creativity through science by organizing scientific principles into models. Students develop, refine, and break their models, justifying their choices through written, verbal, mathematical, graphical, and diagrammatic thinking. Teachers provide opportunities for students to engage with scientific concepts and guide students to think more deeply and clearly about the way their model represents the concept. Many studies have shown that Modeling Instruction helps to increase student engagement and achievement, and teachers have time to differentiate lessons so that the needs of all students are met.


Areas of science with Modeling Instruction pedagogy:

- Physics

- Chemistry

- Biology

- Astronomy

- Earth Science

- Physical Science

- Middle School Science (6th, 7th, and 8th Grades)

For further information, please read the blog or the following documents:

- Belcher - A Brief History of US Science Education - Leading to Modeling Instruction

- Belcher - Modeling Theory of Cognition​

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