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Developing content knowledge, pedagogical expertise, and skill in using technology for discrete and continuous modeling, geometric modeling, and spatial reasoning

Modeling and Spatial Reasoning (Modspar) is a yearlong Advanced Teacher Capacity professional development program for mathematics teachers in Grades 9-12. If funded for 2016, Modspar will offer two programs begining in Summer 2016:  (Save the dates!)

  • Modeling with Algebra, 19-24 June and 1-2 August, 2016
  • Modeling with Geometry, 10-15 July and 1-2 August 2016

Both begin with a 1-week summer institute at Ohio University in Athens, followed by two days of scholar presentations on 1-2 August 2016 and two Friday follow-up workshops scheduled for 28 October 2016 and 17 February 2017.  Both groups merge into a single learning community for the presentation and follow-up workshops.  In addition, there will be ongoing online support, including bi-weekly webinars throughout the 2016-2015 academic year.  See related article: Of Note: Research News Briefs: Cool Tools, page 6 of 44.Modspar scholars Andy Lovejoy and Janelle Grube use a TI-nspire handheld computer

Modeling with Algebra focuses on modeling with discrete and continuous functions, modeling that combines the general proportional model and re-expression of data, and exploring dynamical systems.  Modeling with Geometry examines geometric modeling and spatial reasoning, concentrating on transformations and coordinate systems and on spherical geometry and trigonometry.  Participants of both programs explore these concepts in-depth using TI-nspire handheld computers, TI-nspire software, and other tools for teaching and learning.  The programs are designed to help teachers who are not highly qualified, have no formal education in modeling and spatial reasoning, or have limited preparation in developing models for solving real world problems.  Special education and intervention teachers are encouraged to apply.  All participants develop and enact plans to use rich instructional activities and assessments in their classrooms and can share lesson plans with other Modspar scholars.

The Modspar program provides participants with $400 worth of materials, access to additional resources, plus food and stipends.  Optional graduate credit is available at a reduced tuition rate.  A free residential option is available for participants who live more than 45 miles from Ohio University.

If funded, registration for Modspar will be available here in February 2016.  For more information about Modspar and the Advanced Teacher Capacity project, see the links below or contact Mary Harmison.


The summer 2014 Modspar scholars and staff are pictured below wearing their 3-D glasses.

Modspar 2014 scholars and staffundefined

Here's what past Modspar participants have said:
"Best professional development I've attended.  Will definitely try to convince others to attend."
"I gained a greater depth of understanding of the material and a broader range of applications and examples from which to build."
"Modspar has motivated me to look for ways to involve the student more in the instructional lesson.  There is high value in learning through doing."
"As a result of this institute, I used more technology in my classroom than I have ever used in the past."
"Modspar helped me to realize that learning through cooperative activities and peer interaction is extremely valuable for a deeper level of understanding and retention of materials."
"I feel more confident using different technologies and using modeling in my classroom. I have gotten many ideas for new lessons and have started revising lessons I've used in the past to make them more student-driven. This program has taken me from having little knowledge about implementing modeling, to feeling confident, and excited about implementing it. I feel my students will enjoy the results of my coming to Modspar, because they will have more opportunities to put their learning in context. GREAT PROGRAM."


The Modspar program is supported by the Advanced Teacher Capacity (ATC) grant. The total estimated costs for the 2015-2016 ATC project are $325,906, which includes a $184,829 grant of federal funds from the Improving Teacher Quality Program administered by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, covering approximately 56.7% of the total costs.