Computer Science in Science PD: Introduction to Computational Science - Discussion


The concepts and content are similar but the manipulation is different from when I learned science. There are more ideas and patterns that can be observed and the visuals are more intense to grasp the visual learners. In school we always did an experiment with plant growth and light. It took weeks and could be done with computational science in a matter of minutes.


I can only began to phantom the dynamic possibilities of mastering the use of computational science. Incorporating computer technology into traditional laboratory explorations have opened up new realms of discoveries for today’s complex issues.


The science I learned in school was more linear and cut and dry. You followed the steps of a lab, project, or assignment and the better you followed the directions and pay attention the better you did. Computational science allows you to not only apple what you are learning to other things, but it also seems like students could get different outcomes depending on what they want to do and use it for. It would be really hard to simulate a space or astronomy problem in a lab and much easier in a computational science program.


I could see using computational science to help students understand kinematics, utilizing computer simulations to help students understand speed vs. velocity and how a change in velocity is an acceleration. I envision seeing the students utilizing the data from the simulations to understand the difference in motion graphs. Ultimately, I could see students utilizing computational science to simulate the drop of their eggs during our physics unit.


I like the thought process here. I could see where this could lead to valuable student interactions attempting to solve real-world problems in their communities.


Always a difficult concept for students to visualize at the eight grade level. I can surely see where computational science could help to bring the abstract into a more concrete view for students.


I think computational science could add amazing impact to a science lesson. For example, a traditional lesson on wetlands might have video, images, reading about the importance of wetlands, maybe a field trip to visit a wetland and discussion of why wetlands are important, etc. This type of technology could be incorporated to actually show how costly it is to fill wetlands for construction by modeling the flood plain on a sim table like shown in the video. Now you are taking an idea from the traditional lesson, and applying it to an actual wetland students have or could visit, and simulating if that wetland were to be built upon, what could happen if it were filled improperly, or a discovery of what type of building practices would be necessary to prevent flooding in nearby or newly constructed homes/businesses, etc.


The use of computational science allows us to use real life scenarios to run tests and hypothesis without having to deal with real mortality or true harm to living creatures or beings.


Computational Science differs from the Science I learned by allowing one to look at one organism and its characteristics and then then use time consuming computations to put a magnified number of those same organisms is a group and with other organisms to see new dynamics that occur within the entire system. Computational Science gives us more creativity in learning, and extends the depth of the learner.


I studied science only in k-12 school and had a undergrad biology class in college.
I cannot thing of any similarities between the science that I learned but the difference
is that in computational science ideas are more complete. We can look at a question
or problem and see it through where as in the science I learned there were few
conclusions to be made that did not stir up more questions to cause frustrations.


When I was in school, different layers of maps would have been printed on transparency film and projected. When I was in college, GIS was a fairly new technology–again, it was more or less static layers of maps. The similarity between computational science and the science that I learned in school is that trends could be detected between different systems by overlaying maps. The differences are that computational science is more adaptable to changes in the systems, is interactive, and can be used to predict trends.

Using computational science, I would conduct an experiment on catastrophic disturbance of an ecosystem, and determine how specific species are affected over the course of many decades. It might be difficult to get the permits and permissions to actually start a huge forest fire somewhere…


I like your idea for using computational science for plant growth. Years ago I tried a self-designed lab where students planted seeds, and then each group denied their plant one of the needs of living things. It is difficult to alter temperatures, amount of light, etc. in a consistent way in the classroom. As you have probably guessed, after several weeks this experiment was a spectacular failure.
Not only would computational science speed up the time that an experiment takes, but also expand the possibilities for variables in any experiment.


Experiments conducted in a lab is limited by time and space; however computational science can help explore many things that could not be contained in a laboratory. I see it being used in many applications such as: calculating the rate of an epidemic spread such studying the spread of SARS or H1N1 or the rate of decline of an ecosystem when an invasive species is introduced.


I had the same idea about flooding! I think computation science modeling would be an excellent way to teach the impact of flood plains and how flood waters could move through city streets, or over bridges and levees.


Modeling climate change is the thing that comes to mind for me. There are so many variables and such a long timeline that it is impossible to do the same level of experimentation in a traditional science lab. The computer model C-ROADS (which can be found at Climate Interactive) is a good example of they way computational science can be used in this field of study.


I feel like I must have learned science in the dark ages as compared to this! We learned by reading text books and simple science experiments. There was no way to see complex ideas or overall big problems over a time period. I live in the area of the Chesapeake Bay where we have trouble a lot - oyster population, run off, etc. All of these would be a cool way to see how a population can be effected should a storm happen and change the ecosystem, or if an invasive species was introduced, or some disaster. This would speed the process in order for students to see what could happen over a 100 year span within a few minutes!


Reflect on the Science you learned in school. What is similar / different in computational science? Give an example of an experiment you might conduct in computational science that would not be possible in a traditional science lab.

The science I learned in k-12 school was some hands on and a lot of paper/pencil and reading about the experiments. One of the main differences I see based on the example given in the video is that experiments using computational science would allow students to use real data (and a lot of it) to discover information and interpret current data. New experiments using this data may be possible, but at least using current data would allow students (and me!) to use information more relevant to current times. Also, using a large amount of data to see trends is much more helpful than traditional labs that allow students to collect 3-5 data points (often which skews their results making them irrelevant and potentially distracting from the point of the lab).

An experiment that we could do using computational data would be to measure forces on different systems or determine friction coefficients. Likewise, seeing stopping times/distances, and stress/strain on bridges or other structures would be much easier using computational science.


I definitely appreciate the safety of living creatures! I know a lot of my students do not learn much from dissections so that would be one aspect to use computational science for. But the ability to observe different habitats would also be beneficial, especially being able to focus on all of the different environmental factors individually.


Computational Science would have been great for when I was in school. It is similar to my experiences in school when we imagined real-world scenarios in the classroom. I would use this way of teaching to complete the Thermal energy lab that I conduct with my students that usually involves building model homes and measuring how heat escapes.


I love your explanation!!!