Master of Natural Sciences (MNS)


Physics and Astronomy

Document Type



Interactive Engagement methods of instruction have proven more effective than Traditional instruction in terms of conceptual learning in introductory physics classrooms. Modeling instruction is one type of Interactive Engagement methodology used in introductory physics at the secondary and collegiate level. This study compares the conceptual gains of students taught by an experienced traditional instructor to the conceptual gains of students taught by a novice, alternatively certified instructor who employs the Modeling methodology in physics classes at a large suburban high school. Pre-tests and post-tests were administered to all groups using validated physics conceptual inventories and a scientific reasoning assessment. AP Physics B mock exam scores were also compiled and analyzed to determine the impact of Modeling instruction on students’ problem solving abilities. Additional analyses were conducted to verify the impact of scientific reasoning skills on conceptual learning gains, and to examine whether Modeling instruction closed the “gender gap” in physics. Furthermore, a post hoc analysis was performed comparing the conceptual gains of general physics students taught by a novice teacher using traditional instructional methods to the conceptual gains of general physics students taught by the same teacher after completion of a Modeling Workshop. The results indicate that the Modeling methodology is an effective way to increase conceptual understanding of forces and motion in introductory high school physics. The results also support the Modeling Workshop to be an effective and efficient way to train a new, alternatively certified physics teacher.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Moreno, Juana