What does a successful science classroom look like?

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.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://studio.code.org/s/sciencePD-iZone/stage/7/puzzle/4


As a Computer Science teacher I really think that the instructor is more of a facilitator and the students are the scientists, the investigators, and the teachers. I always train a couple of my students how to do a certain function. I have them teach two and so on. This is the way to both learn and learn how to teach others. We all know that until you can teach it, you really do not know how to do it.


I agree. In science class we always try to have students create their own hypothesis based on materials given so they can test their hypothesis. This is a way to give my students ownership of their learning. It is most difficult at times to do so, but most student’s critical thinking is use.


In my STEM classroom, students are frequently working on projects and I monitor their progress. I spend time teaching to the whole class during the introduction of brand new topics or to clarify discrepancies. A few students always advance through the projects quickly and they act as peer mentors to help me facilitate students who are struggling with new skills. I spend a decent amount of time guiding students when they have specific questions that I can’t address in a ‘chalk and talk’ setting. We use modeling and simulations when we learn how to build games and simulations in AgentSheets, which is software that makes it much easier to build java applets for the web. If I went from teaching STEM topics back to the science classroom, I would frequently take my students to the computer lab or bring in the laptop cart to use simulations in order to help model complex science topics that aren’t as easy to describe with traditional tools.


In my science classroom I try to have a student centered classroom where we solve problems that are worth solving to them. Also, I like to have the students work towards facilitating their own conversations.


With the availability of right resources, teacher preparation, and management skills, the classroom would be student centered. My students completed on their own a module on game design using scratch. They competed the project on their own using Google CS first resources.


The role of the teacher is to introduce the topic and be the facilitator of the class. The class should be student run with some gentle guidance from the teacher when needed. The best way for students to learn is to be inquisitive and investigate on their own or in groups, feeding off of each other.


In a successful Science classroom that uses modeling and simulation, I would imagine students working actively in groups putting together a simulation that models scientific concepts that they are learning, using computer software. The teacher provides the initial instructions and describes the goal of the learning process; the computer provides the tools in the form of modeling and simulation software, that will enable the students to “make explicit” their thinking processes and their understanding of the concepts. The students move about the classroom, consulting each other and comparing works. There is a lot of fluidity in the student’s movement within the classroom, which is encouraged because the “construction” of knowledge does not only happen as the students interact with the material being learned, but it also happens in a social context. The teacher’s role constantly shifts, as the need arises: from coach, to facilitator, to inspirer. In the end, the students are able to create through their designs of their mental models, and because these mental models are now “seen,” they could compare and critique each other’s learning constructs, which lead to further refinement of ideas and an increased and more powerful understanding of the concepts.


A successful classroom is where students are fully engaged in learning on their own-where the teacher is more of a guide or facilitator. Students interact -work together, divide tasks to meet group goals, learn from each other, challenge and question each other and look to explore further at higher levels…Computers are the ever-powerful tools for research, collaboration, presentation, data collection and now can even model what students want to question. The use of the PC as a modeling tool is probably the highest level a student could attain at middle school level and leads the way for any kind of question about anything that could be tested by a computer model/simulation in their future.


I’ve heard this said as the old adage, “Be a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage.”


Your classroom sounds like a great place to learn!


A successful classroom is where students are fully engaged, as many have shared and the teacher serves as the facilitator. Students are working together to solve problems and creating new questions that they will try to answer through investigations.


I agree with what many people have already said, that ideally teachers are more facilitators, helping to guide the students in discussion/group work. When I picture my ideal classroom, I imagine presenting students with a relevant problem, and giving them the tools they need to solve it, such as computers, manipulatives, and books. I image the students working together, asking and answering their own questions to reach the final solution. Computers could play an integral role in both research, as well as designing models to help answer questions/solve problems. The teacher would have to set the students up for success ahead of time, by teaching them how to build computer models, and how to use the process of scientific inquiry.


With some basic background information, I think we can pose “real-world” problems for our students to solve. I also like the idea of having students create the questions that need answering.


A successful science classroom is one where the students are engaged, asking and answering questions and solving problems using computer modeling and or simulation. The students may work with a partner using computer models or simulations produced by others to answer questions they are interested in. However, questions or problems arising from previous activities may lead students to create their own computer models or simulations to solve the problem/s or answer question/s generated from these activities. The teacher acts as a facilitator providing the necessary support students need, making clarifications as well as helping students to successfully use each other as resources. Students interact with each other providing technical support as needed as well as clarifications. Also, students who are more knowledgeable in computational science can help struggling students. In this classroom students use computers with computer models and simulations created by others to solve problems and answer questions or they may create their own models and simulations as they become more proficient in computational science.


Whenever students can ask their own questions and investigate them by researching, or doing experiments, or creating a model and testing it , their more engaged and motivated. The teacher is facilitating or coaching them during this process.


Hi Greg: My Name is Randal.
This is a great post. Many of the things you discussed in your post is what I really would like to add to my tool kit. I am hoping that this PD will give me the ability to guide students to build games, models and simulations. I am very excited about this PD. Hope I can get some great ideas from you.


A successful science classroom is one in which students are using the lessons and content knowledge as a jumping off point and the source of additional questions and conversation. In this classroom, students react to each others ideas and use each other with the teacher as guide to develop testable questions about the particular topic or unit of study. Driven by their own curiosity, students discuss and develop ways of using models to represent their ideas and simulations to test the effect of variables. Computers are used both for modeling and research of topics, as well as communication about the topic, including potentially with other classes of students studying similar topics in other locations.


In reading through several other people’s posts, I’m struck by the similarity of many of our responses, in terms of the independence and student-centered aspects of an ideal classroom. I also started to wonder how does something like this look in the lesson plan and how can we facilitate this type of environment while making sure that students are exposed to the knowledge and skills they are expected to acquire before moving on to the next grade.


I agree with what everyone else has been saying and I am excited to be with a group of like-minded educators. I never realized the potential of computer modeling in the classroom to conduct student centered science investigations that are aligned to my curriculum! I hope that I can achieve a more student centered approach to science investigations since they can have more freedom to design their own investigations than they normally would have in a regular science lab!