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


A successful science classroom MUST start with a teacher who is enthusiastic about their curriculum. Concepts are introduced in multiple formats (such as powerpoints or videos or readings) and then students are asked to apply their knowledge by experimenting. Simpler hands-on experiments should lead into deeper questioning of the concepts which can then be explored through computer modeling. This moves from the teacher directed giving of information for the student to read/watch/listen to, to the student broadening their understanding by performing the hands-on experiments.This should then evolve to student directed computer modeling simulations as they try to answer questions encountered / developed during their initial experiments.


Carrie - I love your idea of “organized chaos”. I hope that the administrators observing us will come to feel the same way. Learning should be messy and not organized!


A successful science classroom is one where all students are engaged in science inquiry that relates to real issues in the world. The teacher guides the students and serves as a resource for them - but the other students in the room can also guide and learn from each other. Students need to learn to interact with each other and collaborate on their ideas and the ideas of others.


A successful science classroom has students that are engaged, using scientific inquiry, and collaborative learning to accomplish common goals. In addition, project based learning through various modes can be achieved through the use of computational models and computer science strategies.


The ideal science classroom is not a classroom but a state of mind and community in which all move from prior knowledge to new knowledge through interaction with the prepared environment, the natural environment, and the digital environment to provide interest driven project based completion of the acquisition of the knowledge and skills deemed of value by our social leaders and those ancillary and freely chosen by the learners.


Students are active learners, they participate, they try with no fear of failure. I would help facilitate learning with project based assignments and hopefully have technology in the classroom.


My ideal classroom would be one where every student is engaged at a high level. Students are working in groups, asking their own questions, determining how they will answer that question, determining how they will communicate what they have learned with others, and then sharing what they’ve learned in an authentic way. Students would be excited about what they are learning and the teacher would not serve as the “knower of all” but as a coach who guides students to construct their own knowledge.


My view of a successful science classroom (which is definitely a work in progress for me as I am a new science teacher) involves all students being engaged all of the time. Students feel comfortable to ask questions and there is trust between the students and teacher. Students actively listen when the teacher is delivering direct instruction and the actively work together when solving problems. Hands on labs and model making occur on a regular basis, and computers are used for research as well as computational models.


I totally agree that the students should not fear failure. The learning environment should be a nurturing one in which the children are willing to take risks. This applies to all disciplines but is especially true in science because failure is an important part of the scientific process.


A successful Science classroom is one in which questions are constantly being asked. The teacher is asking her studen questions and they are asking themselves and each other questions (why? what if? how come? etc.) Students come to my classroom from all walks of life and bring their unique perspectives. Every student input would be valued and respected. The classroom is a place where curiosity reigns and answers are discovered through a variety of methods: books, experimenting, and computers (for research, modeling and simulations)


A successful science classroom is one where the students are driving the learning on a given topic. A scientific concept might be introduced, but the relevance to the student’s lives and how they engage with this question is driven by student questions and concerns about the science. I want my students to be problem solvers. Using the modeling and simulation will allow my students to develop methods for answering questions that they have that previously would have been very difficult for them to engage in discovery around. For example, how do more bicycles and less gas powered cars impact the amount of carbon we put into the atmosphere. I’m looking for ways to empower my students thinking and questioning.


I’ve found that ALOT of my sixth grade students already have coding experience similar to Starlogo Nova. To them, it’s like a game. I’m excited to use it with my kiddos and have them experiment with it in new ways.


I agree. When I relate real life to the science concepts we’re studying in class, students remember the concepts better and are more engaged in the lesson. Your classroom sounds very organized. I find that with Middle Schoolers, it’s best to prep them beforehand so they know what they need to do and when they need to do it. Expectations are key to a smooth working learning environment.


Ideal classroom has the teacher in a facilator role. All students have access to up to date technology and the knowledge of how to use it effectively. Students must have the time required to thoroughly investigate topics, create experiments, run simulations, make models, and collaborate often with peers. Long term, project based learning.


Sounds like an environment of high level critical thinking. Are we dreaming or might we get there before retirement?


A successful science classroom that integrates modeling and simulation would first have a teacher introducing a model to let the students use it, perhaps about an ecosystem. Then students would look at the code and modify parameters and variables. Finally, students would come up with their own experiments and design their own models to test it.


A successful science classroom would use the teacher as a guide, rather than a facilitator of information. The teacher would present a model, let the students interact with it, and then, as students learn more, use that model as a base for idea that they can build off.


My vision is that a teacher will present some (discrepant) event for the students to wonder about. They will then construct mental models and discuss their mental models. They can then create a computer model to make their mental model explicit. Perhaps after running their models they can share their findings with other students. The class can work on coming to a consensus model.


A successful Science classroom that integrates modeling and simulation would have engaged students working at times both independently and collaboratively. Students would utilize technology for inquiry based lessons and the teacher would facilitate student learning. Each student would have access to a reliable computer and students would develop the skills and confidence to problem solve and work independently to design, create, analyze, and interpret results.


A successful science classroom allows students create their own models and the teacher is the facilitator. Students will be able to create, design create, and use computational models to help each other to discover and understand the scientific concepts they are learning.