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


A successful science classroom is one where students are engaged in the learning environment. 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 as a tool to to help them solve their problems and answer questions. Using the computers to construct models that allow them to answer questions as well as generate new ones based on the data and their understanding of the process.


A successful science classroom is one in which students are engaged and actively involved in inquiry in the process of understanding the science behind something they have observed. It will be controlled chaos in action with the teacher serving as a facilitator and students exploring possibly different things that when taken collectively, will provide the pieces for understanding. Modeling and simulation can greatly enhance their exploration as well as their construction of understanding.


I imagine a successful Science classroom that has the following components:

  • Teacher’s role is for support and guidance rather than direct instruction
  • Students are independently coming up with ideas and solutions
  • Individual PBLs are taking place
  • Students collaborate with each other in problem solving, giving feedback, gathering of ideas


My ideal classroom has students leading the charge! Providing students with a topic and an underlying set of knowledge, students can discover on their own. Integrating models into student learning would provide them with an unlimited source of data collection and create scenarios which would be impossible to do without the use of models.


A successful science classroom has students interacting with each other, as well as the teacher, to ask questions and then discover the answers. Sometimes this is achieved simply by using the information in a textbook. But the deeper learning and understanding happens when students are able to be “hands on.”
Whether it is by demonstration or experimentation for basic science principles, or using a computer to build and develop more complex modeling, having your students fully immersed in the process generally creates the ideal scenario for learning.


I agree. I find that the controlled chaos times in my own classroom as when my students come up with some of their best work!


I have been lucky enough to actually implement such a situation and I hope to continue. Hopefully, through Project GUTS, you will be able to successfully incorporate the core ideas of STEM as well.


Two things in the video resonated with me…that when students play with models in simulations such as PHET and Explore learning, they have not given any thought as to why the developer selected the variables. Second, by coding, students are free to select/identify any variable they wish. We dont limit their thinking.
In the ideal science classroom, students have the time to explore questions of their own making in depth. They have time to collaborate with peers and teachers, and they take ownership for their learning.


My ideal science classroom will be one in which students learn through controlled procedural experimentation. The classroom will also double as a community in which students will share ideas, hypothesis, results, and conclusions. Computers will be used to primarily store information, research, and modeling.


This year my students will be given a chrome book for use throughout the year. I agree with your statement concerning the students’ knowledge and use of technology but the proof will be in their using it to solve problems not create more. Perseverance is a trait that students and teachers must possess.


Totally agree. This year my students are supposed to receive chrome books to use in their classes. I hope their maturity level equals the responsibilities expected of them.


My idea of what a science classroom looks like is busy. Students are all working at different components and levels to solve problems that are presented by me or themselves depending on the lesson. All students are actively engaged using me as a sounding board but not relying on me to give them the answers.


A science classroom that integrates modeling and simulation needs to have a facilitator that allows students to steer the learning process towards mastery of the topic of study. Allowing students to play an active part in developing and understanding should lead them to the ultimate goal of mastery. Simulations can be used to speed up time to allow a more direct pathway to understanding the concept. Modeling must be practiced to assist a “break through” or “ah ha” moments.


A successful science classroom would be one in which the students create their own questions and use that initial thought to fuel their own curiosity. I see the teacher as being a facilitator that is not extremely involved in every thought process of the student, but rather allows the student to be “in charge” of their learning, or at least work together to find a conclusion. I believe that the teacher could benefit from learning from the student. The students should be available to one another for questioning and to help facilitate each other.


A successful science classroom would have students actively engaging in a concept that they are discovering on their own. There would be either a list of instructions or a goal that students must reach all the while the concept is under their noses. After the awareness of the concept is reached, students will apply it to real world situations and extend the concept with models to help solidify the concept and try to create and answer complex “what if” questions and possibly build their own questions. The teacher is just a figure that helps with any off track behavior or any obstacles students may be coming across.


The ideal science classroom is when students model the behaviors of a real scientist working in field and with the aid of technology will simulate the real environment to have a more accurate analysis of the data gathered while modeling those scenarios.


My science classroom has always been a little chaotic. Students working on different experiments at different stages all throughout the classroom. Once I begin to be able to have students use the computers more efficiently, I believe that creating and explaining models will become easier for the students. I will facilitate and moderate, but make sure the students are able to answer higher level questions about the what they are running on the computers. Being able to use computers to create models will challenge the students to create an image that goes along with their thoughts and is something they will be able to present to the class when their model is finalized.


That is true. If you don’t know what resources are available, then the setup and management will be an issue.


When I envision a successful science classroom, I see students who are comfortable with taking responsibility for their own learning. I see groups of students discussing ideas and finding throughout the class. The teacher is a facilitator for good discussion, asking guiding questions to get students thinking, but not a lecturer who feeds students information. Direct instruction is necessary to deliver background knowledge to students, but only in small amounts. I want my students discovering phenomenon, not being told about it. The role of the computers would be for students to keep organized records of their conversations between one another, data, and to simulate the models that they would ultimately be creating.


My definition of an ideal classroom is one where students are in control of their own learning and learning with enthusiasm. In the science classroom, models & simulations are a great way for students to exteriorize their thinking and see the implications of their ideas played out on the screen. The teacher in the ideal classroom merely gives students a defined, but fairly open-ended task. Students then work together in groups to build & observe a model that accomplishes their task. The teacher’s role after the task has been assigned is simply to give guidance that is additive to and encouraging of what students have already come up with. In the end, students arrive at a greater understanding by way of their own questioning, designing, and experimenting with only minimal help from the teacher. This way students end up having a greater sense of ownership and enthusiasm over their learning.