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


Computational science is much different than the way I learned science many years ago. Our science discussions were limited to what our textbook stated and what our teachers told us about. The lab experiments were very limited with a lack of resources available. An experiment that would be much more effective through computational science is reconstructing natural disasters. This can be done in a traditional science lab, but not nearly as accurately as in a computational science experiment.


I agree with you! How exciting for our students to be able to get a more valuable hands-on experience than we did through our textbooks.


Most of the science I learned in school was either from a text book or doing an experiment. An example of an experiment that could be done using computational science instead of traditional science, is the effect of clear cutting a forest and erosion to the area.


I graduated college before there was a such thing as personal computers so everything is different. Sadly, until college I didn’t do a whole lot of labs either. So coming into teaching high school long after my own high school experience has meant figuring out labs that can be inquiry based, doable with minimal budget and meaningful. I have used a Hardy-Weinberg simulation (obviously makes sense for evolution over many generations) and for factors that affect photosynthesis (done in less than an hour vs. 30 days to grow plants. So I guess doing simulations for things that otherwise would take a prohibitive amount of time is an obvious example.


I agree. I think you could use computer simulations to look at strategies that would mitigate the effects of hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, oil spills–all manner of natural disasters as well as man-made disasters.


An experiment which would be fun to conduct, which would also tap into my love of The Walking Dead and my students love of zombies would be the evacuation of Atlanta during the zombie crisis. Could relate it back to real-world evacuations – such as the fire in San Jose model mentioned in the video.


Growing up most if not all science was learning from the text and lectures. I foresee a good use of computational science in determining the outcome of an organism with natural selection depending on the coloring of the organism and environment in conjunction with predator-prey relationships.


Teaching in a flat state, IL, I would love to be able to simulate geological events for my students who have no idea what water running down hill looks like because we don’t have any hills. :slight_smile:


Yes, a Zombie Apocolypse simulation would be pretty engaging for middle schoolers and their teacher too.


Would be so useful in the spread of harmful diseases throughout a community


As I reflect on examples of computational science, I am drawn to the predator and prey cycles. Obviously something that can be done by continuous field study observations, but is something that can and has been easily adapted to formula base with graphical simulations. Its wonderful to see how theoretical tweaks can change potential outcomes.


Traditional labs allow students to see the effects. Computational science allows students to see the effects and make informed predictions in real life situations. I can use computational science when studying the erosion effects of a cliff. Currently, I conduct labs where students use sand to see how various barriers would reduce the effects of erosion. Using computational science, students can see the effects and make actual predictions on the amount of erosion.


Environmental concerns such as global warming, recycling, conservationism can be explored using computational science.


Computational science allows us to conduct investigations around phenomenon that may be too large scale, too expensive, too dangerous, and potentially have affects that are irreversible. When thinking back at my own schooling, we did not support theory and lab research strongly with computational science. Reflecting on how i may conduct an investigation in computational science i think about using computational science to investigate the effects of introduces an invasive species in a given environment.



In traditional middle school labs, we are very limited as to what we can test/prove at a large scale model. Testing a system I. Computational science e.g. Rabbits and wolves populations in conjunction with temperature and vegetation. Creating a model at this level is not possible in a classroom. A model to make on the computer to complement class studies could be algae growth in a tank, taking into account oxygen, sunlight, etc.


Great possibilities and opportunity to expand the minds of our students lies within. Computational science.


The models presented using computational science seem as if they can accelerate mathematical interpretations in faster-than-real time. Patterns of human behavior related to, say, carbon dioxide emissions, can be displayed graphically based on statistical trends.


I never remember do labs in science class during elementary and high school. Most topics that were covered came from a book. There are many experiments that can be done using computational science. One experiment that I would like to try using computational science is the relationship between human activities and climate change.


If you wanted to send a balloon up into near space with and experiment and track the balloons travel it would be impossible in a classroom. If you wanted data on the speed of travel, temperature, the height in which it traveled you could not track these variables. Using onboard sensors and computers you could launch a small helium balloon with experiments on board to capture the data during the flight. You could use data collected fro other flights to predict the flight path. Later you can analyze the data and compare it to other flights.


Predator and Prey relationship when you change the variables.