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Episode 04 – Brenda Royce – “The goal is to promote understanding”

In this conversation with Brenda Royce, we hear about the things she learned while going through two summer workshops in modeling instruction and then teaching physics and later chemistry using modeling methods. Brenda talks about becoming aware of student misconceptions as well as learning to help students think through the observations they are making. Finally, she shares feedback she has received from students about how their own thinking and approach to school is changed after taking her class.

Guest Bio

Brenda Royce has her B.A. in Chemistry from California State University, Fresno and M.A. in Education from Fresno Pacific University. She has taught high school physical sciences for 25 years after a 14-year career as an environmental analytical chemist and research assistant. She has been using Modeling Instruction in her classes since 1998. Brenda has conducted numerous training workshops in the practices of Modeling Instruction for pre-service and in-service teachers since 2000 in California, Arizona, Texas, and Pennsylvania as well as made presentations about Modeling Instruction at NSTA, WRNC, ChemEd, and BCCE conferences. She has been one of the lead contributors to the curriculum materials used in Modeling Instruction in chemistry since the project began in 2004.


  • [3:15]: Brenda Royce, describing a workshop experience, “In the workshop we got a chance to see the method in action with the way that our workshop leaders interacted with us experience what the students who would be experiencing here, what the big ideas are that are being emphasized.”
  • [6:07] Brenda Royce: “one of the things that modeling did for me was give me ideas about what students might not understand, the way they would misunderstand it, competing ideas they may have. And then tools for finding those and helping me hear them and helping the students recognize that there is a better way to think about it than what they were thinking.”
  • [8:11] Brenda Royce: “And there it was — all of a sudden I was being fulfilled as a teacher. It’s like there’s no turning back from that once you know what that’s like.”
  • [13:26] Brenda Royce: “I want a method of teaching and helping them that actually produces deep enduring understanding. And I found the tools to move that direction with modeling instruction.”


Brenda Royce transcription

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