Techniques to Implement a Model Effectively


Target Objectives

  • Explain/characterize by writing a definition and giving examples of models as a teaching/instructional tool
  • Generate and execute an effective instructional model that may be implemented in the particpants classroom

Unit Objectives

  • Identify proper techniques to implement a model effectively
  • Demonstrate proper techniques to implement a model effectively
  • Explain why the models presented were effective

Examples of Models

Here are three more examples of effective models. While reading each activity, think about why each model each chosen as an successful model.

  • This is a model used in the mathematics classroom in which students design and analyze soft-drink packaging
  • Pipe Cleaner DNA is a great activity to implement into a science class to increase students understanding of DNA and its structure.
  • During this activity, Walking out Graphs, student gain a better understanding of graphs, especially of the implication of the axis labels.
Movie mitosis: students make stop-animation films to illustrate the process of mitosis.
This is an example of an exciting and tactile model in whitch students create stop-animation films to solidify their understanding of mitosis.
Working model hearts: Building artificial hearts to learn about circulatory system physiology
In this engaging model, students construct an artificial heart to learn about the human circulatory system.


For a model to be effective it must:

  • Be engaging for students
    • If students are engaged throughout the entire activity, thus they are more likely to understand and think about what they learn from the analogy. (Harrison & Coll, 2008)
  • Require high-level thinking
    • Models are eeffective when they are able to “explain processes and stimulate high-level thinking rather than just dealing with superficial similarities.” (Harrison & Coll, 2008, p. 33)
    • When students create a model themselves, they are much more likely to learn the concept and enjoy the activity. (Gilbert & Ireton, 2003)
    • Modeling is not just about construction, but throughout models, students should have the opportunity to explore and explain ideas and concepts. (Harrison and Treagust)
    • Students are successful in learning with models when they are “given ample opportunity to explore model meaning and use…” (Harrison and Treagust)
  • Be familiar and interesting to students
    • "Analogies work best when the analog is familiar to the students.” (Harrison and Coll, 2008, p. 69)
    • Using familiar models is important because “students are more likely to find a science topic interesting and worth studying if they see it as relevant and connected to familiar things” (Harrison and Coll, 2008, p 68).
  • Include multiple models to reinforce the same concept
    • Models are most effective when used in conjunction with several other analogies, activities, and discussions. (Duit, Roth and Komprek)


Read the following about the importance of models: The following discusses models in the math and science classrooms, including proper techniques to implement a model and why models should be used in the classroom.

Fostering Conceptual Change by Analogies
The first four pages, until the section titled, purpose of the study, discuss proper techniques to implement a model. Next, a model is implemented and the findings are discussed.



Now that you have learned more about what a model is, please take a few minutes to address the following. Use the discussion area to exchange ideas about models with other participants.

  • Develop a list of techniques to implement a model effectively

Can You Do It?

Now that you have learn about models, now it is your turn to generate and execute an effective instructional model that may be implemented in the your classroom. Do not forget to utilize the information you have learned about models. Use the discussion area to exchange ideas other participants.

References and Resources

  • Duit, R., Roth, W.-M., Komorek, M., & Wilbers, J. (2001). Fostering conceptual change by analogies – between Scylla and Carybdis. Learning and Instruction, 11(4), 283-303.
  • Froelich, G. (2000). Modeling soft drink packaging. Mathematics Teacher, 478-484.
  • Gilbert, S. W., & Ireton, S. W. (2003). Understanding Models in Earth and Space Science. Arlington, VS: NSTA Press.
  • Harrison, A.G., & Coll, R.K. (2008). Using analogies in middle and secondary science classrooms: The FAR guide – an interesting way to teach with analogies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Koellner-Clark, K., & Newton, J. (2003). Flower Power: Creating an engaging modeling problem to motivate mathematics students at an alternative school. Mathematics Teacher, 430-433.
  • Rosenkrantz, K. (2004). Pipe cleaner DNA. The Science Teacher, 58-60.


Main page: Models: an Instructional Tool

Next Unit: Closure

Previous Unit: The Benefits of Implementing Models

View by portfolio: Portfolio for Models: an Instructional Tool