A colleague I teach with strongly recommends the modeling approach to teaching science. While I’ve read a little bit about it, I hope to attend one of the workshops being offered in the summer of 2013.
Here’s a summary of modeling instruction from the American Modeling Teachers Association for those who aren’t familiar with it:
Modeling instruction is one of the most successful reforms to the teaching of physics in the last 50 years. It is predicated on the notion that it is the nature of humans to think using “models”—conceptual representations of real things. Firmly grounded in cognitive science and based upon the belief that science content cannot be separated from pedagogy, modeling instruction uses an iterative cycle of model construction, model testing and elaboration and model application to help students learn physics deeply and coherently. Even more important, it helps them learn to think like a scientist.