Computer Science in Science PD: Using Models in the Classroom - Discussion

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Build a definition of a successful Science classroom that integrates modeling and simulation. Tell us what you imagine a successful Science classroom looks like, how it functions, how the teacher and students interact, how the students interact with one another, and the role of computers.

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My vision of the ideal science classroom has always been an area of organized chaos. As place that to the outsider might look like total confusion, but to those in the room, it makes perfect sense. Everyone is engaged in some sort of activity - some students working together, some may be working by themselves and the teacher is circulating around the room not only addressing questions posed by students, but also asking questions to push the students to deeper understanding. All the students may be working on something slightly different, but they are all working on something that challenges them and their current thinking about the world around them. Currently computers are mostly used as a source of information, for access to interactive websites, or assessment but I see their use being expanded into other areas as technology becomes a more ubiquitous part of everyday life. I see coding and complex system modeling fitting well into this type of classroom.


My vision of the perfect science classroom is that every student is engaged and learning at the highest level. If students are actively using the scientific inquiry process they will be engaged in learning. For so long, we have made students sit and listen to someone tell them the how things interact in this world. Now, students can use a simulation and design their own experiments to discover how things interact on their own. They can use the scientific method like a real scientist and conduct their own experiments using simulations and computer models.


With the change over to next generation science standards and requirements to incorporate common core techniques, I am not exactly sure what a successful Science classroom would look like. Hopefully technological resources will be available as we make this transition out in California and computer modeling and simulations can be a part of my classroom to help students interact with one another and learn concepts that promote understanding.

My definition of a successful science classroom would include all of the students actively engaged in inquiry based lessons and the teacher as a facilitator, more of a guide on the side instead of a lecturer. Each student would be provided with working computers. The students and teacher would interact respectfully. The students wouldn’t be afraid to fail and try again. The students would try to succeed.

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I see a successful science classroom as one where students do real-world science, they are scientists discovering concepts through inquiry and the use of computer models and simulations. I see the teacher as a facilitator that interacts as a coach, I see students discovering and presenting their findings to their peers, I see collaborative efforts between students with similar interests. The computer is a tool of discovery, research, project creation, and presentation.

An idea science classroom allows students to design, create, and use computational models to discover the real-world. The teach as the facilitator, while students formulate their own mental models. Students should ask the question and create their own computer model collect real data.

My idea of a successful science classroom involves having every student actively engage in relating and solving real-world issues. My middle school students need encouragement to explore and try new things. Using the computer to create models will allow them to manipulate code and have immediate feedback on their efforts.

My idea of a successful science classroom includes students actively engaged in inquiry based activities. The teacher is a facilitator not a lecturer. Students may be in small groups or working on their own. While all students are working on their understanding of an over arching concept they may be accessing the information in different ways and at different levels of understanding. Some students may immediately want to create a computational model where other students may need to research the concept first. Other students may need to try a hands on lab first to gain basic understanding of a concept before working on a computational model. While all of this is happening students are communicating their thoughts and ideas to one another and the teacher.

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I agree, a successful science classroom often looks like organized chaos. But any student can clearly explain what they are doing and why.


I really like your idea of a successful science classroom. I too share this vision and would love to see this vision realized more in my classroom setting. Thank you for sharing and reminding me of one of the reasons why I teach…to learn. :grinning:

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A successful science classroom is a space where students are not only learning content but being strengthened in the whole learning process. They are able to evaluate and analyze their learning and their peers learning through the use of models and simulation. A free flow of questioning takes place that leads them to deeper understanding of each other and how to coordinate each others strengths toward a common goal. The teacher is involved in driving the learning to an increased thorough inquiry into evaluation and questioning of the process. The teacher teaches the students to question themselves in their evaluation of their own experiments. The students question each other to help each other evaluate their experiments and evaluate their learning.

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I think that a high functioning science classroom looks like any high functioning classroom. Students are given a meaningful, relevant problems to solve and then design the methods by which they come to a solution. the teacher presents the problem, facilitates by offering useful information or resources, and then guides students through deep discussion of the processes and conclusions.

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I completely agree Carrie. Your answer was very well stated. My classroom is often chaotic to the untrained eye. A quiet classroom makes me uneasy. When students are engaged and involved in their learning it is very often followed with constructive noise.

Ideally I would see organized chaos where the teacher is offering guidance and direction as the students make discoveries with one another and the computer.

Our students are already digital natives and wish to utilize technology whenever possible. Because I teach 11-12 year olds, I suspect coding will require quite a bit of patience and collaboration. However, perseverance is a very important skill. My hope is that by incorporating computer science into the content, students will better understand abstract concepts that are not easily modeled in the physical classroom. An added benefit is the development of critical thinking/reasoning skills and the solving of potentially real world problems. Students have the innate need to know why they are learning about specific content and how it affects their lives specifically.

My classroom has always been somewhat chaotic, but everyone was working towards a common goal using the same resources or instructions. Through the use of models, students can be exploring the same concept, but at their own level of understanding. For those students that quickly grasp concepts, I could ask probing questions to challenge them to think about the model they created and possibly take it a step further and explore other possibilities. For the student that needs more time to process a concept, by creating their own model of the concept being explored, they will be able to better understand that concept because they created their own model to explain their learning process.

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A successful science classroom has students who are actively involved in the learning process. Students often work together to pose questions and solve problems. The teacher facilitates and guides the discussion to help students gain knowledge and apply this knowledge to real life situations.

A successful science classroom is one where students are engaged in the learning environment. The classroom is noisy and students do not sit in rows. The teacher is a facilitator and students ask many questions. They work together to solve problems and apply their knowledge to real life situations. Students use computers to help them solve their problems and answer questions. However, they don’t just use the computers to Google or research, but rather to build their own models or to test their theories.

My ideal classroom would be student excitement and interaction between students and teacher. My hope is that students learn to be the facilitator with one another and they help each other answer questions and be creative with one another. Though at time is will look chaotic there will be order within the classroom and students will be learning at all times and be excited to do so.