Activating Prior Knowledge



You may wonder what YouTube has to do with math; however, YouTube is a great site to find effective models of mathematic and scientific concepts. For example, watch the following wide students created about math. [The Pi Song] A video about mathematics is an example of a model because it simplifies a complex topic.

Unit Objectives

  • The participant will be able to classify a teaching/instructional model

What are Models?



According to Gilbert and Ireton in their book, ‘Understanding Models in Earth and Space Science’, “a model is a system of objects or symbols that represents some aspect of another system…”


Essentially, a model is a tool used to make learning easier by simplifying the target in some way. For example, a science teacher could use a diagram of a solar system to illustrate the proportional size of all the planets. What you are trying to simplify is called a target, and the simplified version is the model. In our example of the solar system, the target is the entire system and the model is the diagram.

Examples of Models

This is an example of a model found on YouTube

Self Reflection

Now that you have been provided with a brief description of a model, please take a few minutes to answer the following questions. Use this as a self-reflection to identify your current attitude towards models and their implementation. When you have finished, use the discussion area to exchange ideas about models with other participants.

  1. What do you think the benefits are implementing modeling into a lesson are?
  2. How often do you currently use models in your classroom?
  3. Why do you implement models as frequent, or infrequent, as you do? Is time, preparation, lack of knowledge a factor?
  4. What would you like to learn about models through out this course?

In addition to answering the above questions in the discussion space, please go to [Models as an Instructional Tool] and complete the self-reflection survey.

References and Resources

  • Gilbert, S.W., & Ireton, S.W. (2003). Understanding models in earth and space science. Arlington, VA: NSTA press.


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