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Episode 46 (repost) – David Hestenes – “The Modeling Theory of Cognition”

This episode is a conversation with Dr. David Hestenes. Dr. Hestenes talks about his own education and work in various universities and departments. He talks about his graduate education and then goes in-depth about the research that led to developing the ideas and methodology underlying modeling instruction in physics and later other sciences and mathematics.

Guest Bio

David Orlin Hestenes, Ph.D. (born May 21, 1933) is a theoretical physicist and science educator. He is best known as chief architect of geometric algebra as a unified language for mathematics and physics, and as the founder of Modelling Instruction, a research-based program to reform K–12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. For more than 30 years, he was employed in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Arizona State University (ASU), where he retired with the rank of Research Professor and is now emeritus.


[18:21] David Hestenes quoting Malcolm Wells:

“It’s not enough to know that the students have alternative conceptions or if you will, misconceptions about how the world works because they interpret everything in terms of those. The question is how do you get the students to have the scientific view of what’s going on in the world rather than the common sense everyday world.”

[19:15] David Hestenes: “my theoretical view is that science is fundamentally about making and using models of the real world.”

[36:55] Dr. Hestenes: “Well, okay, so what is it that is going to make an effective teacher? The trouble with especially physics teachers is that they’re not connected to anybody. Usually the physics teacher is the only physics teacher in the school…” building up local communities

[41:02] Mark Royce: “What in your mind is the reason that modeling is successful?”

[46:00] Dr. Hestenes: “Without private funding, I don’t think that there can be any substantial STEM education reform.”



David Hestenes – transcription

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