Modification Ideas for Models

Posted April 20, 2019 by mehagaman

Choose one of the content-area modules (Module 2, 3, or 4) and brainstorm potential student modifications for the base model based on difficulty/time. Please include:

  • Your Name
  • Module Chosen
  • A modification that students could do for their models to extend them and whether the modification is:
    • An easy modification that could be done quickly
    • A medium-difficulty modification
    • A challenging modification
  • Any other ideas you have for extending or modifying the model

See the forum for an example.


Submitted by mehagaman on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 11:31 · Permalink


  • My Name:  Melody Hagaman
  • Module 1
  • Easy modification:  Add a doctor--a different colored agent--to heal the sick when they collide with it.
  • I also think a great but difficult modification would be to add walls to represent the school halls and track how student flow through the building leads to infection.

Submitted by Lytle on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 13:20 · Permalink

One of the "unrealistic" aspects of Module 4 is that the model will run, even if there is no water included.  If you put silver nitrate powder in a beaker with a piece of copper, nothing will happen.  The silver nitrate has to be in solution (with water).  I had the students modify Module 4 to create new "hydrated copper" breeds.  To create these breeds, the copper nitrate had to "collide" with water molecules (3 times) in order to form hydrated copper.  If they didn't have enough water in the model, then the reaction wouldn't work. Just like in the actual chemical experiment.

Submitted by mehagaman on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 13:22 · Permalink

My name: Melody Hagaman

Module 3: Rabbits and Grass

Medium Modification: Make some rabbits faster than others so they get to the grass more easily and see how that affects the ecosystem.

Difficult modification: Add an invasive species that eats grass too but gets more energy from it that rabbits.  See how that effects the ecosystem.

Submitted by tracyeefoster on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 13:23 · Permalink

My Name:  Tracyee C Hogans Foster 

Module 3

Easy modification:  Add a shelter where rabbits can avoid being preyed on in the four corners. Show how shelter protects the population.  

Difficult modification change grass into algae and rabbits into herbivorous fish and carnivorous fish.  Make it an aquatic ecosystem.  Add a slider to change turbidity and temperature to show how those things influence the aquatic ecosystem.  

Submitted by Vickey on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 13:26 · Permalink

Vickey Drew

Water Pump Module

Modification:  Add a rock type to the model to see if this would impact the water flow

Submitted by Kaestner on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 13:26 · Permalink

Steven Kaestner

Module 5 Easy Modification: Add "Stop the Clock" slider so students can end their experiments at set times and collect data more quickly.

Other Modifications:

Add tree that "absorbs" CO2. Add 2nd greenhouse gas (Methane?) that traps heat better, but leaves the environment quickerI

If using the greenhouse model with cars and buses, students can alter the efficiency of the vehicles (MPG) to better match reality.  The surface albedo could be changed Clouds could be added that reflect/absorb heat

Submitted by pwilsonscience on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 13:29 · Permalink

My Name:  Phylis Wilson

Module 3

Easy Modification:  adding sliders requiring nutrients for plants to reproduce

Difficult Modification:  with rabbits, grass, and predator possibly simulate seasons where the amount of grass decreases depending upon season.  This will help show why animals migrate.  Also adding it different species (invasive or natural) of animals to show competition for plants or rabbits.

Also having a way to show adaptations like camouflage would be cool.

Submitted by ameek on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 13:31 · Permalink

My Name: Alana Meek

Module 3

  • Easy Modification: Change the size of some rabbits to see if the bigger ones are eat easier than smaller ones.
  • Difficult Modification:  Change the dimensions add the "z" factor into the world so that students can "feel" like they are one of the predator/prey.  Gets students more excited about participating who might be lagging are those that have finished to try and see what they can do.
  • Or add how water might effect tumbleweed once it was added.  Rain can be added to randomly fall.

Submitted by jkdiru on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 14:01 · Permalink

Module 3

Prior to having students work on this project we created a question for each of the four classes I taught. Next students tested the question changing one variable related to the question.  For example one of the question was "What is the best ration of rabbits to wolves to have a balanced ecosystem?" After we created the question we came up with 10 different ratios that each pair of students tested 10 times.  The results were entered into a spreadsheet that was projected on the smartboard.  We discussed the results and then decided which ratio was the best.

  • research an ecosystem that was assigned to each pair of students
    • identify a predator and prey
    • reproduction rate of each predator and prey
    • other predators
    • diseases that impact both predator and prey
  • modify the rabbit and wolves model to create their ecosystem
  • create a question that model is used to test and find results
  • create a spreadsheet to record and graph test of computer model
  • create and present a powerpoint/slide presentation of their ecosystem

For my more advanced students I challenged them to create a more realistic reproduction of their ecosystem (male/female, number reproduced, and number died as infants).   Some of those students started adding more elements to their ecosystem that were relevant such as additional predators and even some of the diseases the learned about through their research.