Thoughts from the Spherical Cow

  • True Story This year's Chapel theme at Trinity School has centered on truth and truthfulness. Members of various departments explored aspects of truth in their disciplines and personal lives. I joined ...
    Posted Mar 22, 2016, 9:33 PM by Mark Schober
  • Insider Information on STEMteachersNYC 2016 Summer Modeling Workshops Here are some of the neat features of the nine workshops offered by STEMteachersNYC this summer that you won't find in the official workshop descriptions (the official stuff is ...
    Posted Feb 15, 2016, 10:04 AM by Mark Schober
  • A Simple-ish System for Standards-Based Grading The best advice for implementing SBG is to keep it simple. A complex system can do more harm than good if it mires you in paperwork and it's too ...
    Posted Feb 5, 2016, 12:26 PM by Mark Schober
  • Collaboration When the C is Circled A number of Modelers have been asked to remove resources from their websites (including me) as this violates AMTA's fair use policy, and this policy has been discussed energetically ...
    Posted Jan 29, 2016, 11:51 AM by Mark Schober
  • Dis-covering Content One of the criticisms I hear of Modeling Instruction and other student-centered, inquiry-based teaching approaches is that they’re “slow” and they “don’t cover much content.” It ...
    Posted Aug 4, 2015, 8:18 PM by Mark Schober
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 7. View more »

Physics Materials

My current approach to physics instruction attempts to do to the following:
* Provide coherent, student-centered, model-driven Modeling Instruction, 
* Support mastery learning through Standards-Based Grading, 
* Offer resources to support students' varied end-of-course goals.
* Meet kids' human needs through conscientious Rapport Building.

I'll write about each of these things in the coming months to explain what I mean.

After years of work revising and incorporating my own ideas into Modeling Instruction, some of my versions have become the "official" copyrighted versions by AMTA. As such, I'm not allowed to post them here, but must instead refer you to the AMTA site. This gets complicated, too. Over the past five years, I've created dramatically different versions with input from other collaborators while still being clearly based in Modeling Instruction. Trying to figure out a way to share those in a way that benefits teachers and protects AMTA's rights is an ongoing discussion.

Resources and Equipment

  • Soda Can Photoelectric Effect Demo The photoelectric effect was at the heart of not just one Nobel Prize, but two! If you can plunk down $175 for a short wave UV source, (or borrow the ...
    Posted Apr 8, 2016, 8:17 PM by Mark Schober
  • LED Photoelectric Effect Apparatus I first encountered Wayne Garver's low-cost LED photoelectric effect apparatus at a St. Louis Area Physics Teachers workshop in 2005. Since then, I've been involved with building ...
    Posted Apr 5, 2016, 5:35 PM by Mark Schober
  • Slow Acceleration Apparatus So that students develop a real kinesthetic sense of accelerated motion, it is ideal for them to investigate the acceleration of an object that speeds up so gradually that the ...
    Posted Apr 8, 2016, 8:27 PM by Mark Schober
  • Mega Can-Crush I've done the can crush lab with my students for years, but only crushing soda cans. I find this image of a crushed railroad tank car fascinating and I ...
    Posted Jul 13, 2015, 9:55 PM by Mark Schober
  • Upgrading an old website Dear friends, I started this website over 15 years ago as a resource for my students and, as it turns out, for the wider Modeling community.I have had the ...
    Posted Jul 16, 2015, 8:50 PM by Mark Schober
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 5. View more »

Meteorology Materials

I taught middle school meteorology for fourteen years and worked to develop an approach that built foundational meteorology concepts (temperature, air pressure, humidity) on a particle model of matter. Students interpreted and explained complex ideas by basing their explanations on their understanding of how particles interact at the smallest scale.

Chemistry Materials

Resources for Modeling chemistry. Teaching chemistry from a Modeling perspective was a fantastic experience for me. I particularly loved how seamlessly chemistry and physics were intertwined. At my school, physics is taught before chemistry, so I can prepare students with skills and foreshadow critical ideas in the physics course. In chemistry, I can take full advantage of the students' robust concepts of mass, force, energy, and electrostatics.

Environmental Science
I led a one-semester environmental science elective in the fall of 2013. This companion website has links to a variety of the electronic resources used in the class. The pages in the menu on the left reflect the sequence of the course -- it was very much taught from the point of view of a physics teacher and I found the sequence to have a wonderful flow. I do hope to teach the course again because of the critical nature of the ideas encountered in the class. Every scientific literate person needs to spend some time thinking about the complicated relationship between people and our planet.