Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mechanics Modeling Workshop in Concord, CA (2012)

Our workshop was a great success. Twenty-six educators attended, mostly from California, but four from around the country. We hope to hold more workshops in 2013.

Two NCN AAPT members are leading a two-week workshop in Modeling Instruction of mechanics. This workshop will be held at Carondelet High School in Concord, CA, from June 18-29, 2012 (M-F, 8:00-4:00). Instead of the traditional three-week Modeling workshop, we are holding a two-week workshop with plans for four follow-up Saturday workshops during the course of the 2012-13 academic year (we hope to have electronic access for those from out of state to avoid long travel for these one-day sessions). These follow-up sessions will focus on “what’s working/what’s not” as well as covering the last few units of the mechanics curriculum.

For nationwide (and international) teachers of physics, physical science, and math. (High school teachers of all sciences will benefit and are welcome to register. Preservice high school science teachers are welcome to register too.)

This page may be bookmarked/forwarded using the following URL shortcut:

As of June 8, we are full. Register if you would like to be on a waiting list (although not likely we will have anyone withdraw at this late date).

Register online here.


The Modeling Workshop in mechanics is an intensive course with these goals:

  1. educate teachers in use of a model-centered, guided inquiry method of teaching and at the same time improve their content knowledge,
  2. help participants integrate computer courseware effectively into the science curriculum,
  3. help teachers make better use of national resources for science education,
  4. establish electronic network support and a learning community among participants,
  5. strengthen local institutional support for participants as school leaders in disseminating standards-based reform in science education.


The main objective of the 1st summer Modeling Workshop in mechanics is to acquaint teachers with all aspects of the modeling method and develop some skill in implementing it. To that end, teachers are provided with a fairly complete set of written course materials to support instruction organized into coherent modeling cycles (as described in Wells et al., 1995). The physical materials and experiments are simple and quite standard, already available in any reasonably equipped physics classroom.

Each participant will design and carry out a series of investigations that use the Modeling Method. They will practice Socratic questioning techniques that will enable them to foster scientific discourse among students. They will develop skills in authentic assessment. Each participant will keep a daily journal book of problems solved, labs done, personal notes and reactions to activities and readings, and expected student difficulties with ways to address them.Throughout the course, teachers will be asked to reflect on their practice and how they might apply the techniques they have learned in the course to their own classes.

University Credit

Credit through California State University East Bay will be available at $216 (total!) for 6 units for the two weeks (these are quarter units, generally equal to 4 semester units). Graduate level units require work outside the workshop hours, CEUs do not.


Peer leaders: Don Yost and Lee Trampleasure
Location: Carondelet High School, Concord, CA
8:00 AM to 4:oo PM; Mondays-Fridays; June 18-29, 2012

For questions about the workshop, contact Lee Trampleasure: or 510-859-8533.

Carondelet is near I-680 and a short bus ride from the BART subway. Hotels are available within bus range (near BART). A map of the area showing the school, subway, and hotels is here:

Click here to learn more about the Modeling Instruction Program or visit to find information on these workshops and to view possible strategies on how to gain funding to attend.

Lodging & travel for those from a distance

If you wish to stay overnight in the area, there are several hotels within a short drive/bus ride. We can probably arrange carpools to get you from the hotels. We are working on finding a discount rate, and will post favorable rates here in February.

Flights can be arranged either through Oakland (OAK–closer, cozier airport) or San Francisco (SFO–larger, further way, more flights). Both airports are convenient to public transit which will get to to our local hotels.

What to bring/what will be provided

All participants will receive a binder with hard-copies of all documents, as well as a CD with electronic versions (both Word and PDF). The classroom is set up with computers for those activities that use them, but teachers are invited to bring their own laptops if they desire.

Most activities will be presented with both high-tech and low-tech options, and teachers will be encouraged to group with others who have similar equipment at their respective schools (we will be using mostly Vernier equipment; if you have PASCO sensors at your school contact Lee if you’d like to bring and use them).


Registration fees are $150 (not counting university credit). We are doing everything we can to keep the cost low (and we greatly appreciate CSUEB for the low-cost units!). Teachers at Catholic schools will receive a 20% discount.

Certificates of completion (free) will be available for those who do not need University credits.

Registration deadline is two weeks in advance (June 11), but capacity is 32. Spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If you cannot commit at this time, please contact us to see if we can hold a space for you.

As of June 8, we are full. Register if you would like to be on a waiting list (although not likely we will have anyone withdraw at this late date).

Register online here.