What does a successful Science classroom that integrates modeling and simulation look like?

Posted April 17, 2017 by ilee

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.

Post your thoughts to the forum below, and come back later to read other entries and comment on another teacher's response.


Submitted by eso on Fri, 06/02/2017 - 23:39 · Permalink

I love this idea! 

Considering a science classroom as a complex adaptive system, the agents would be the students, the teacher, and the computers. The environment would be the classroom. Teachers would initiate the flow of knowledge, which would then unlock knowledge to be passed on from both the teacher and computers to the students. There would eventually be an exchange of knowledge between the students and then back to the teacher who is learning from the students. This assumes that the teacher has access to technology, ideally one-to-one, and that all agents are capable of receiving and giving knowledge. 

Returning from the world of abstraction, the content is both relevant and engaging to the point where the students are able to create knowledge on their own and form new questions. A successful class is a place where everyone is happy to be and feels safe to contribute. The computers act as an enzyme to help speed up the process and mitigate any confusion because there's another point of contact to provide and receive knowledge. 

I love how you described a successful science classroom as a CAS! It is a perfect analogy and supports why implementation of a seemly terrific strategy can yield unexpected outcomes. So many feedback loops!

Submitted by Bright_Eyed_Science on Thu, 06/08/2017 - 18:03 · Permalink

A successful science classroom would be one in which all members of the community (teachers, students, administration, parents) routinely 

  • practice effective communication, with respect, enthusiasm and confidence,
  • maintain an open mind,
  • explain their reasoning using evidence,
  • demonstrate molecular, process, and computational thinking skills, 
  • ask new, testable questions, and
  • develop physical and computer models to explore phenomena.

This classroom would enable the teacher to act as a guide for students to personally invest in their education by fostering curiosity and intrinsic motivation. Class would focus on providing students the tools they need to develop and answer their own questions under the umbrella of a central concept/phenomena. Computers would play a significant role in this classroom as a tool for learning, research, and communication.

Submitted by jsimpson on Fri, 06/09/2017 - 15:23 · Permalink

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.

I am super excited about this process.  I believe using Computational Science with complex adaptive systems and modeling will help our students to become those that think!  This is a goal that I have had for some time.  

My definition of a successful science classroom is then to have those students who think about what they are doing and what they are learning and who become students that engage in their learning and drive the discussions that take place in the classroom.  

I see my role as a leader to teach process and as a facilitator once students are successful understanding the process.  These both go hand in hand and are not linear.  I believe that students will become true collaborators and move away from just trying memorize information.  Computers will play a key role in everything we do.  I also feel that traditional experimentation will also have a role as will traditional skills such as measuring, etc.  I do feel that students will understand why the skills are needed are will not be taught in isolation.  

Submitted by jgurbada on Tue, 06/13/2017 - 15:11 · Permalink

A successful science classroom is one in which learning takes place through authentic experiences (hands-on, interactive, authentic, etc.). Modeling and simulation fit perfectly into this classroom because they are interactive and show real-life phenomena in manageable ways. In this classroom, the teacher is more of a guide than a lecturer and interacts with students on a regular basis to help lead students to authentic learning. Students are also interacting with other students on a regular basis to promote collaboration, communication, team work, etc.

Submitted by llegault on Tue, 06/13/2017 - 15:36 · Permalink

A successful classroom would combine the standards the students were required to learn during the school year with student inquiry to discover the knowledge to understand the standards. In a perfect world, the students would have the necessary time to do this-this rarely happens! Some elements that would help would included one on one computer resources and a variety of information sources and equipment that students could use or modify to learn the information to meet the standards. Students demonstrating knowledge would be the final project to show mastery. Included in this would be "Use" demonstrations that students could "Modify" and then "Create" their own demonstrations or computer simulations where appropriate. The teacher's primary function should be a resource to assist students.

Submitted by hjoyal on Tue, 06/27/2017 - 17:31 · Permalink

I believe that Time is the single most important factor in determining the success of computer modeling in a classroom. Kids need time to achieve Flow State and that can happen with a Constructionism approach but that means that the teacher has to learn how to combine standards into robust units of learning and move away from the idea that we "cover" the standards. Students, like in the writing process with all of the different types of editing, need time to develop their ideas, program, and play them out through modification. That will be done by interacting with others and I circle back again to the need for meaningful amounts of time. Time to sit and ponder, time to try and fail, time to modify, time to discuss, time to blow off steam from frustration, time to talk with others. I would design my class to be one where blocks of time are given over the course of at least a week to fully engage the students and let them all be in the different phases of the model as they progress at their own individualized rate of learning. 

Submitted by bonitagirl on Mon, 07/17/2017 - 21:19 · Permalink

I am excited to encourage my students to think out of the box. To be able to model a random thought from a lesson is awesome. There is so much that we are unable to do because of money or space or just that the item is not able to manipulated easily (size) so being able to model and collaborate on their ideas would hopefully create an accepting environment and maybe cut down on negative behavior. 

Submitted by jfretz on Fri, 07/28/2017 - 20:01 · Permalink

Taking a leaf from the constructivist book of educational pedagogy, a successful science classroom is one in which students "discover" the concepts and skills through application and discussion.  In this classroom, students would do only what cannot be done at home (e.g. flipping the classroom, where basic concepts and skills are preloaded outside the classroom), leaving class time for student-teacher and peer interactions.  The teacher would act as expert resource and a facilitator, with students doing most of the heavy mental lifting.  Collaborative learning would be central in the classroom, with students challenging and scaffolding each other as they build knowledge and make new connections.   Modeling and simulations, especially computational modeling, could be a valuable resource in the classroom and at home.  Students would use class time to clarify and apply relevant concepts, generate and modify computational models, and analyze and interpret results.  At home, students could run simulations and reflect on personal development and progress.

Submitted by Amy_Myers on Sun, 07/30/2017 - 15:35 · Permalink

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.

A successful science classroom looks the same with and without computers, and this is determined by how many questions the students are asking. Are they asking themselves questions? Are they asking the instructor questions? Are they asking each other questions? The more inquiry there is, the more success the students and instructor are having. With this being said, while integrating modeling and simulation, the students should always start with a problem that needs to be solved. It is not the instructors job to walk the students through how to solve this problem. This is where inquiry comes in. Students should be coming up with a process, and this process may look different from student to student. The instructor should know how to approach each students' process and be able to ask inquiry-based questions to further the students' progress and thinking. Of course there may be some frustration and the classroom MIGHT be in some sort of organizational chaos, but this kind of chaos initiates the best learning.

Collaboration is key. Students should be assisting and evaluating each other. Peer evaluation while working on a similar task is the best way for students to further their learning by criticizing constructively.

Students should always know how to use their computers in the most productive way possible. This involves responsibility and being held accountable for their learning. This is always a hard bridge to cross, but can be accomplished with great classroom management and mutual respect between instructor and learner. 

Submitted by person11d on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 23:32 · Permalink

A successful Science classroom has a smooth effectiveness in the educational process for all students. The teacher introduces new material by clearly modeling to the class, then helping students to explore the new material until they understand it. After the foundation has been developed, the teacher can introduce computers for students to create a model that displays the newly learned concept. Depending on how familiar students are with coding, the teacher is either modeling how students can create the model or allowing students to work in their partners, helping them as needed. Interactions between the teacher and students should be providing guidance to students rather than giving them the answer to their questions to promote problem-solving and critical thinking skills. 

Submitted by jstblue on Sun, 08/27/2017 - 14:56 · Permalink

As a Studio Art teacher,a successful classroom that integrates modeling and simulation would be a collaborative learning environment where students see each other as resources for learning.  Computers would be another medium through which students can experiment with ideas and questions to serve as a base or even a manner of thinking through artistic process.