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Physics Modeling Workshop

Instructor Bio

Joe Mahler Writing on Board

The WKU Modeling instructor is Joseph Mahler, who is an experienced Modeling Method instructor. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a B.A. in Physics and received his Masters degree in Education from Walden University.

He’s been teaching high school physics for 13 years, implementing the Modeling Method for the last 10 years. He has been actively involved in physics education community and has led numerous modeling workshops at places including UNC-Charlotte and James Madison University.

Joe has also worked with physics teachers throughout Virginia as the Master Physics Teacher in Residence at JMU during the 2013-2014 school year. He currently teaches physics/AP physics at the Sayre School in Lexington KY.

Physics BannerPhysics Workshop
(Registration is Currently Closed)

Classes will meet in the WKU Thompson Complex, Central Wing. 
Questions about the workshop should be directed to Dr. Richard Gelderman.


9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Lunch provided during 45-minute period around Noon

Tuesday - Thursday 

8:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Lunch provided during 45-minute period around 11:30


8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

No lunch provided


Two registration options available:

  1. Non-credit Continuing Education Workshop: $775
  2. 3 Graduate Credit Hours (PHYS 511) (Additional $770)
What is Physics Modeling Instruction?

While all sciences involve models, Modeling Instruction is a pedagogical technique in which teachers are trained to use Socratic Dialogue and guided inquiry to actively engage students in the process of developing these models themselves based on data they collect and their own life experiences. This approach has had great success in improving students' understanding of fundamental principles in introductory science courses.

Workshop Description

The Physics Modeling Workshop in mechanics is an intensive fifteen-day course. The main objective of the workshop is to introduce teachers to aspects of the Modeling Method, and develop skills needed in implementing this method to teach mechanics. Participants will complete the nine mechanics units. To that end, teachers will be provided with a fairly complete set of written course materials (organized into coherent Modeling cycles) to assist them as they incorporate what they have learned in the workshop into their classrooms.

In the Physics Modeling workshop, each participant will design and carry out investigations that use the Modeling Method. (The materials used in the investigations are quite standard in any reasonably equipped science classroom.) They will practice Socratic questioning techniques that will enable them to foster scientific discourse among students. They will develop skills in authentic assessment. In addition to the daily work conducted in class, 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. Teachers will also be asked to reflect on their own teaching practice and how they might apply some of the techniques they have learned in the workshop to their own classes.

Housing Options

Campus Housing

WKU Students may take advantage of Residence Hall accommodations.

Visit the Summer School Housing website for more information. 

Staybridge Inn and Suites

Staybridge Inn and Suites offers government rates and discounts for extended stays. Share the parking lot with WKU Parking and Transportation for convenient shuttle service.

Visit the Staybridge website for more information. 

Additional accommodation options can be found by visiting the Knicely Conference Center website.

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 Last Modified 2/27/18