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2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

American Modeling Teachers Association

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services, Secondary & High Schools

Mission: AMTA is a professional organization of teachers, by teachers and for teachers who utilize Modeling Instruction in their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teaching practice. Our mission is to provide professional development for teachers in the Modeling Method of Instruction, to provide resources that support the use of Modeling Instruction in physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, physical science, and middle school science classrooms, and to support and enable collaboration among Modelers. AMTA strives transform STEM education by fostering brilliant teaching and deep learning.

Results: Continued expansion of workshop types, number, and locations. Successful implementation of online/distance learning workshops and synchronous virtual professional development courses. Completion of a Middle School curriculum and workshop, as well as completion of an Astronomy curriculum and workshop. Over 1,000 teachers attend AMTA workshops each year and over 15,000 teachers have received training since Modeling Instruction began.

Target demographics: provide professional development to STEM teachers

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,000 teachers

Geographic areas served: the United States and some international areas

Programs: Over 2,000 members networked through a membership blog, Facebook, Twitter, seven email listservs, and a large library of curriculum resources on the website. AMTA offers distance learning modeling courses and professional development workshops, where approximately 1,000 high school and middle school science teachers are trained in 55-65 different workshops nationwide each year. Modeling workshops can be intensive 90 hour face-to-face or 45 hour virtual professional development experiences to help teachers learn a highly effective method of science teaching.

Community Stories

54 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Lynn Seguine J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After teaching for two years, I finally had the time to take my first modeling workshop. It was exactly what I was missing in my classroom instructional practices. AMTA has been a huge support as a new teacher, and now as an established teacher. Each year I am able to find workshops that meet my needs. There is a tremendous support system in place so I feel comfortable asking questions, bouncing ideas off of my peers, and finding solutions to any question.

Board Member

Rating: 5

AMTA is an amazing grass-roots network of teachers that has allowed me to connect with educators who are passionate about teaching science. These educators are from my own locale, from across the nation and around the world. They help me to refine constantly how I am present in a classroom whether this be with high school students, college students wanting to become middle school teachers, or other STEM teachers. Together we are sharing ideas for how to get learners to think deeply and refectively about scientific phenomena and specifically about how the universe operates. I had been teaching 20 years when I accidentally stumbled across Modeling Instruction at ASU and the result is that both I and my students are challenged mentally in a much more real and useful way. That makes teaching interesting and challenging and continues to make it worthwhile. It also means that my students are truly excited about what they are able to do and accomplish and enjoy science in a way that is more real than before. They are no longer learning about something called physics. They are becoming physicists each day, discovering that they can be such a person. As an educator, my friends and colleagues in AMTA help me consider my role in the classroom. They help me to reflect and act on all the aspects of today's teaching including best practice for assessment, best practice to encourage dialogue learner to learner, best practice for use of technology, and best practice to ensure equity in my classroom and to ensure that the culture in the room is such that every learner knows their contribution is equally important to the understanding.
When I teach a workshop or participate in one, I always hear an echo of my own experience: "I wish I had known about you years ago!" Your donation can help us reach teachers sooner. It can allow us to be more widely known so that teachers don't have to 'accidentally discover' what we offer. Your donation can allow us to serve locations in the USA where teachers want to learn how to implement Modeling Instruction, but their district simply does not have funds to support them. Your donation will have a lasting impact. Consider that every teacher we serve impacts dozens of students every single year! There is evidence that more students who experience Modeling Instruction will go on to serve others in STEM fields such as engineering, medicine, chemistry, and of course as STEM teachers.

melissagirmscheid

Board Member

Rating: 5

It is because of the American Modeling Teachers Association that I became a science teacher and remain in the classroom. The support I have received from workshop leaders and staff has been immeasurable. I am proud to now serve this organization and ensure that more teachers receive the support they need to foster a love of science in their students.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I appreciate what Modeling did for me and my students. The professional development was invigorating and it went beyond my expectations... by far the best PD I have ever attended. I'm happy to be a member of this organization!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization changed the trajectory of my career and life. The quality and consistency of collegial support is beyond anything I have witnessed elsewhere in education. The research behind the practices taught is deep and wide and the belief in the pedagogy to promote scientific thinking is strong. The most important part is that students are the true recipients of the amazing work this organization has done. This is rare in education and should not go unnoticed.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This nonprofit has given me the support I need to teach thousands of students using the evidence based inquiry instruction. They have impacted an overwhelming number of students in the US and across the globe! Thye provide some of the best professional development available for science teachers!

2 Tanea H.

Board Member

Rating: 5

AMTA is a collaborative and supportive place for teachers to improve both their content knowledge as well as pedagogical approach to teaching science. I have grown tremendously in the past 6 years due to all the webinars, workshops, and resources that AMTA has shared with me and the larger teaching community. They have also provided a platform for teachers to become leaders in their community and bring student-centered practices to ones classroom.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

AMTA has helped me become a much better teacher, they have provided a community of like-minded teachers with whom I can collaborate, and they have helped me grow into a leader to support other teachers like myself. They are the reason teachers stay inspired to be in the classroom

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2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Modeling saved my teaching career. I was tiered of teaching students how to crank through problems and I wanted to teach kids how to think for themselves. Now with the modeling pedagogy my students run class, they figure out how to solve problems on their own, they learn to work in teams and look to each other for answers, they truly analyze data, and they learn how to ask good questions. Along with these skills this organization offers continuous support!

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

Oh my goodness where do I begin. I would not still be a teacher today if I didn't become apart of AMTA. I have gotten amazing support from workshops and then continual support during the year from my mentors that ran the workshop. I learned how to lead a truly student led classroom where students figure out science for themselves. I was able to change from being a lecturer to a facilitator and the problems I saw my students successfully figure out together blew me away. I was trained to lead board meetings and teach through questioning. Students worked on problems on their board, met together in a circle and ask each other questions, and then they pretty much come to the correct answer. This has given my students an opportunity to learn how to work well in a team, communicate their ideas, ask good questions, and become self confident in their ability to me scientists.

1 Karle D.

Advisor

Rating: 5

AMTA has transformed my career in education. In 2016 I took my first workshop and started implementing Modeling Instruction immediately. My students were more engaged, and my love for teaching science was renewed. I am now an instructional coach who helps K-12 teachers use the strategies of Modeling Instruction in a variety of subject areas.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Modeling changed how I teach! My students are learning how to think, not memorize. The AMTA training I received is responsible for enabling me to change inner city kids lives forever!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love the PD provided by AMTA. It was such a shift in my own thinking & teaching, plus my students were way more engaged than ever before. I have recommended Modeling Instruction training to all of my colleagues.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the professional development sessions with AMTA! The facilitator was extremely engaging! He desired contributions from everyone and encouraged very diverse feedback. The experience has given me more motivation, energy and inspiration to share with my students, and it has not gone unnoticed by my peers. Thank you AMTA!

Advisor

Rating: 5

For the summer of 2020, several Modeling Workshops were already planned and ready for teachers to register. And then: COVID-19 hit. Uncertain what to do next, whether any PD would be possible, the swift actions of leaders and the organization resulted in a summer with 22 online Modeling Instruction Courses! The summer was not lost, in fact, teachers otherwise unable to attend a face to face workshop (which would mean time away from home, travel and housing costs) were able to finally attend a Modeling Instruction class.
Nice side effect of the online PD was that these teachers were a little bit better prepared to start the 2020-2021 school year off online!

The annual conference moved to the virtual realm as well, it was offered for free and more than 300 teachers registered for the event, compared to less than 100 for the traditional conferences in years past.

Previous Stories
2

Board Member

Rating: 5

As one of the 2 employees of AMTA, it is great to see how engaged the teachers are in the Modeling Workshops, like I witnesses yesterday on Day 1 of the Biology workshop in Phoenix. 26 teachers take 2 weeks out of their summer to attend a very intense workshop, some traveling from Texas, Missouri and Minnesota, others are local teachers.

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David B.17

Client Served

Rating: 5

I took modeling training in 2016 and it changed my life, my teaching and impacted hundreds of students as I went on to promote in my school and district encouraging other teachers to get trained as well. Modeling instruction changes students from passive vessals capable of retaining a few useless facts to active thinking investigators, scientists and engineers. Students are gaining the capacity to make a difference in the world no matter what field they may aspire to. Every science teacher in the country should be trained in the modeling approach. Our youth deserve it and our future may depend on it. The American Modeling Teachers Association can make effective use of their resources becuase of the strength, passion, commitment and interest of the teachers who have experienced this training and seen firsthand the incredible impact it has had on their learners. There is no way to quantify the good will contributions of 2500 teachers. Think of the possibilities of 10,000 trained science teachers.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Please consider adding the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA) to charities you support. $500 provides a 2 week workshop for STEM teachers. Backed by education research from elite universities, teachers learn an interactive engagement pedagogy called Modeling Instruction. The pedagogy doubles students' conceptual understanding over traditional teaching methods.
I am honored to volunteer as a Board Member of this non-profit organization that has trained thousands of teachers since 1995.

Previous Stories
2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AMTA is focused like a laser on helping teachers improve learning outcomes. It is based on Educational Research by top professors across the country and has solid evidence of dramatic improvements to learning outcomes.

I spent two weeks learning how to implement better teaching methods at an AMTA workshop and I have been delighted with the improvements my students have made learning physics. This organization is very lean. Every dollar donated goes a long ways to improving science education.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

AMTA has been crucial in my development as a science educator. This organization has given me the skills and curricula necessary to prepare my students for the 21st century. It has also brought me into a community of dedicated, committed, and passionate educators for our students.

Gary Abud J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Over a decade ago, this I first encountered this organization when I took a training that they offered in Phoenix. It was not only positively impactful, but the level of continuing support and development that the organization provided over the years has been priceless. They really seek to support teaching, leading and learning in STEM education. And for that I am grateful.

Matt B.10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a group run by teachers for teachers. They work to help teachers employ methods of instruction that support durable learning for students and that foster positive and supportive relationships in classrooms. They also do so at relatively low costs for cash-strapped teachers who wish to improve their teaching and they provide a network of great professionals that support each other. I have participated in multiple trainings and workshops from AMTA as well as a productive on-line conference that has transformed my physics teaching. I can't wait to see what I learn next from AMTA!

Marta R. S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

AMTA provides high-quality professional development that has improved my professional practice and equipped me to better serve my students.

Nichole S.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA) has positively impacted my life in so many ways. The support they provide STEM teachers throughout the nation is astounding, and I know that K-12 students are receiving a better STEM education thanks to AMTA. I believe in the work that AMTA does and the organization truly deserves recognition as a Top-Rated Nonprofit!

Client Served

Rating: 5

American Modeling Teachers Association is a grassroots organization created by teachers who believe that Hands-On student-driven classrooms are essential for teaching STEM subjects.

They are a research-based award-winning organization, which is why I always know I can trust them with my professional development needs. Every modeling workshop if ever been a part of, from middle school to educational leadership, has always fundamentally changed how I function in my classroom and with students as well as my fellow teachers.

everyone in this organization seems to be driven by the desire for students to have access to great quality teachers. They strive to support teachers professional growth.

I love this organization, I love the people who are a part of it, and I love Modeling workshops. Everyone should have the opportunity to take at least one! It will fundamentally change how you run your classroom!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I went to my first Modeling workshop 10 years ago, near the beginning of my teaching career. Within a couple of years, by integrating the Modeling Instruction pedagogy (including Socratic dialogue), the investigative labs, and the curriculum into my physics classes, I was able to transform my classroom completely from a teacher centered environment where students learned facts about physics to a student centered environment where they learned how to ask scientific questions, make inferences from data, and learn physics in a much more integrated way. To me it is clear that now and in the future we will need people, whether they go into STEM careers or not, who understand how to think critically and scientifically and how to apply that thinking to challenging political, economic, and environmental issues. I hope AMTA is able to continue reaching more teachers to equip them to implement this methodology and make science more accessible and comprehensible to students all over this country and world.

eposthuma

Board Member

Rating: 5

AMTA and Modeling Instruction have revolutionized how I approach science education. My classroom is more student centered and provides constant opportunities to allow students to design and carry out investigations as well as develop models to explain their findings. AMTA has provided the best PD I've ever experienced. I highly encourage other teachers look into the resources provided on our website.

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I love being a part of the AMTA community. Our teachers are dedicated to their profession and their students, they are committed to doing their best in their classrooms. I love having the support of this organization and it's members.

Read more
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is the best professional development I have ever completed. I have attended two Modeling physics workshops and they have changed the way I teach and approach physics. I hope to attend more workshops in the near future. Thanks AMTA!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first attended an AMTA workshop as a first-year physics teacher. Having 0 experience in physics, I attended to develop my own content knowledge in physics so I could provide quality education for my students. This workshop far exceeded my expectations and not only did I learn physics, I learned how to be a teacher. I so believe in the AMTA and Modeling Instruction that I started a PhD so I could provide even more data and evidence to support this pedagogical practice across content areas. I highly recommend Modeling Instruction workshops for all STEM teachers,

2

Donor

Rating: 5

AMTA provides outstanding professional development centered around Modeling Instruction. Modeling Instruction has helped me dramatically improve the quality of my teaching and the work of my students. Modeling Instruction workshops (I've been involved in five so far as both student and leader) have been the best professional development experiences in my career. Further, AMTA connects me to a network of the best teachers I know, who continually push me to be a better teacher.

2 Carmela J.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The AMTA is the best professional organization I have ever been a part of. I've served as an officer, volunteered, presented, and attended many workshops, conventions, and meetings for multiple STEM teacher associations in Hawai'i, Illinois, and nationally. The people, the knowledge, skill set, and experiences gained from the leaders and fellow teachers in the AMTA are the most valuable in my over 20-year teaching & curriculum writing career. If you want to be part of something dynamic, innovative, and collaborative this is the golden pot at the end of the rainbow.

3 janecjackson

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Modeling Workshops provide a deep understanding of standards-based content in high school physics, chemistry, physical science, and mathematics. To exemplify effective instruction, they are taught using a robust pedagogy, Modeling Instruction. In 2001 the U.S. Department of Education designated Modeling Instruction, a grass-roots movement of teachers in partnership with Professor David Hestenes of Arizona State University, as one of two EXEMPLARY K-12 science programs in the nation.
Content of an entire semester course is reorganized around basic models to increase its structural coherence. Participants are supplied with a complete set of course materials and work through activities alternately in roles of student or teacher -- usually for three weeks of all-day classes in summer. Modeling Instruction is introduced as a systematic approach to the design of curriculum and instruction. The name Modeling Instruction expresses an emphasis on making and using conceptual models of physical phenomena as central to learning and doing science.   
Modeling Workshops are ideal preparation for teachers to implement Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Math Standards.

Review from Guidestar

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I took my first Modeling workshop in 1995, and Modeling completely changed how I taught physics in the most positive way. Our school's science department is now entirely Modeling trained, and our science enrollment is through the roof. I have now led 26 workshops myself, and have trained over 600 teachers, who have in turn, impacted hundreds of thousands of students in their science classes. The AMTA continues its valuable work today with workshops nationwide, webinars on modeling methodology, curriculum development, and many more contributions to STEM education.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Modeling Instruction has dramatically improved the way my students learn and interact with each other, and the AMTA has provided a crucial professional support network for me and other teachers.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Modeling Instruction and the American Modeling Teachers Association when I took my first Modeling Workshop in 2011. This workshop revolutionized the way that I teach and learn. The AMTA has provided me with a community of educators that supports my improvement as a science educator. The AMTA has supported me with beneficial professional development through summer workshops and meetings. The AMTA provides well-developed curricular resources that I utilize in my classroom.

2 leslocum

Board Member

Rating: 5

After 18 years of teaching chemistry in a fairly traditional manner, I took my first Modeling workshop and have never looked back. Year 19 was like being a new teacher all over again and I loved it!!! My students are engaged and help each other to learn and thrive. This is so encouraging to see each day in my classroom.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The organization is full of passionate and dedicated teachers. They care about their craft and about the way their students learn. Modeling Instruction changed my teaching, made my classes more interactive, and helped my students learn & engage in ways they hadn't before. I was so happy that I put in the time & effort to attend a Modeling Workshop and would highly recommend it to STEM teachers looking to make a change.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with AMTA for over 8 years. They started as an organization of teachers striving to continue a tradition of training teachers, when that tradition seemed doomed to end due to disappearing grant funds. AMTA has done amazing work, with 50+ teacher trainings offered most summers across the USA. AMTA's teacher trainings help teachers learn to deliver extremely high-quality science education to millions of students in the US. They are doing a fantastic job!

3 Colleen M.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

By my 15th year of teaching, before I attended Modeling Workshops in 1998 and 99, I was a good physics teacher. I had the plaques and certificates to prove it. Yet, learning to use Modeling Instruction fundamentally transformed me as a teacher and as a thinker. subsequently the Modeling Teacher community supported my ongoing evolution as a modeler and teacher. Modeling provides an overarching structure--conceptual models and modeling practices--to what I do with my students in the classroom, and it allows me to hear (out loud) and see their representations of what they are thinking and how they make sense of the learning tasks in which they engage. Building, testing, refining and applying conceptual models shapes the way I think now...about everything...and ultimately has defined my career as an educator and a researcher. AMTA makes this transformation possible for science teachers by providing them with an effective pedagogy, a large supportive virtual community of practice and an extensive library of teaching resources in all the sciences taught in middle and high school. It is a grassroots teacher community--driven by the needs of the teachers it supports. It makes a tremendous impact--reaching 1000 teachers every summer with 2- to 3-week Modeling Workshops on an extremely modest annual budget (~$250K). Imagine what it could do with more resources...

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The American Modeling Teachers Association provides great professional development to in- and pre-service teachers. I have been coordinating workshops for 5-6 years and it is so exciting to see how enthusiastic teachers are and how it can transform their teaching and their lives!

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Joining AMTA and learning about the Modeling Instruction(TM) pedagogy was surely one of the wisest decisions I've made. It connected to me to an amazing group of highly dedicated educators from across the country, deepened my understanding of science content, reaffirmed my passion for teaching STEM, and even opened doors for me that I didn't know existed. Becoming trained in Modeling Instruction(TM) was a profound experience for me - it was incredibly insightful and motivating.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Modeling Instruction in 1995 as part of the initial set of national Modeling Instruction workshops for physics teaching. This methodology had such a significant impact on my teaching that I became a "modeling evangelist", leading modeling workshops and doing my best to spread the word of this superior methodology for teaching physics. Like most people who had the opportunity to experience this career changing workshop, I became worried that this would not be available for future physics teachers once National Science Foundation funding ran out for this project. Not wanting to see Modeling Instruction go the way of such excellent curriculum projects as PSSC and ChemStudy, I was eager to become a member of a grass roots organization dedicated to preserving Modeling Instruction and expanding it to disciplines beyond physics. I have been a member of AMTA since early in the existence, and was eager to serve in a leadership role within the organization. When I meet preservice and inservice science teachers, I always encourage them to consider taking a Modeling Instruction workshop and to become a member of AMTA. It is the best thing one can do to to become a better science teacher.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

In my opinion, AMTA is one of the best organizations offering professional development for teachers. PD is not always readily available, nor is it always applicable to STEM practices, but AMTA Modeling Workshops are content-specific and help teachers improve their teaching practices. With the NGSS now in effect in many states, I think more school districts should use AMTA for PD because Modeling Instruction ties into all three dimensions of NGSS. This is a fantastic organization...thank you!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

ATMA has helped my professional carrier by providing such an usuful and innovating methods to support students learning. Keep up on amazing work!

2 Tara S.1

Donor

Rating: 5

AMTA is a great organization. It has many useful resources.

3

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been a member of this organization since the day it was founded. This is a grassroots organization of teachers who are passionate about working together to become the best middle, high school and university science teachers they can be. When NSF funding to develop and disseminate Modeling Instruction expired in 2005, teachers stepped up. They did not want to see 16 years of great progress vanish. They took on the task of continuing to offer teacher workshops in physics, nurturing the teacher community (then numbering around 2000), and expanding curriculum resources available to Modeling teachers. Workshops have been added for teachers of chemistry, physical science, biology, middle school science, and this coming year astronomy and computational modeling in physics (for 9th grade) are coming on line. And we have done it all on a shoestring, thanks to committed members and peer leaders who have step up time and again to move the work forward. Currently there are around 12,000 Modelers (teachers who teach using the Modeling Method of Instruction). Around 2500 of them pay annual membership dues. AMTA reaches over 1000 teachers every summer with 2-3 week intensive professional development workshops, thanks to partnerships with almost 50 universities, schools, districts and local teacher alliances across the country. We conduct and participate in ongoing research on the effectiveness of Modeling Instruction, and are continually adapting and evolving to meet the needs of teachers, because that's who we are...and together we can help each other teach brilliantly.

2 Melissa G.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

AMTA has been a constant source of encouragement, motivation and amazing professional development throughout my teaching career.

2 wthornbu

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AMTA helped to transform my teaching and it strengthened my content knowledge as well. It is a supportive organization and a great community for STEM teachers.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first attended a physics workshop in 1995. That workshop truly changed the course of my career as well as helping me to support student learning in my classrooms to this day. I highly recommend supporting the good work of this organization.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I attended my first Modeling Instruction workshop in 2007. From that time on I was hooked. I'm now teaching my students to DO science, not just to learn it. Since then I have attended two other workshops, and each time I gather skills for my classroom.

I have co-lead one workshop, and was impressed by the quality of the teachers attending the workshop.

In 2012, I was elected as Treasurer of AMTA, and am thrilled to be able to serve the membership.