## Natural Selection Programming

A lesson for middle school science that uses a variation of the rabbits and grass program to explore concepts of natural selection.

A lesson for middle school science that uses a variation of the rabbits and grass program to explore concepts of natural selection.

In the NSF-funded DecodeNYC program at the American Museum of Natural History, middle school students use the agent-based game and simulation programming environment StarLogo Nova to use, modify, decode, and create scientific models to test different strategies for fighting Lyme disease and answer questions about their urban ecosystem.

This remote lesson serves as an opportunity for students to modify the code of an agent-based model to reflect the complexity of real-world food webs. Students will evaluate theeffectiveness of the modifications based on their understanding of population dynamics.

Learn basic StarLogo Nova skills then use those skills to customize your model to reflect how Coronavirus spreads. To that model, you can add different strategies and study the impact of the strategies on containing COVID-19’s spread.

In this lesson, students will complete their ecosystems models and then design and run experiments using their models as experimental test beds. As an extension, students can prepare a presentation on their model, experimental design and findings.

In this lesson, students will design their own ecosystems projects consisting of a question, experimental design and model. In the first activity, students will learn about the computational science cycle and use it to scope their project. This leads to a second activity where they start designing and implementing their model.

In this lesson, students will modify the Rabbits and Grass model by adding a predator, a Mountain Lion, to answer a new question: “Does adding a top predator increase or decrease the stability of an ecosystem?” In the second activity, students will design and run experiments to see if adding a predator has an impact on the ecosystem. This activity will reinforce the concepts of energy flow through ecosystems and the often unexpected results of interactions in complex adaptive systems.

In this lesson, students will participate in two activities that USE the Rabbits and Grass model. The first activity is a look under the hood at the model to understand what was included and left out of the model (abstraction). In

the second activity, students will learn to design and conduct systematic experiments using the model as an experimental test bed. They will instrument their model to collect data, then analyze data and report out on

their findings.

In this lesson, students will be introduced to ecosystems concepts through an activity called "Papercatchers", a participatory simulation in which students play the part of agents in a simulation. After playing the “game” that illustrates population dynamics and carrying capacity, students will view a computer model of a simple ecosystem. Through the model, students will review concepts of population growth, producers and consumers, and the

movement of energy through an ecosystem.

A participatory simulation where partners examine strategies of cooperation versus individual gain. Based on the game theory activity of Prisoner's Dilemma, this activity introduces students to the contrast between theories of "Tragedy of the Commons" (individuals maximizing their own gain will result in collapse of the resources) and classic economic theory (maximum individual gain will lead to greatest efficiency).

This model simulates the transmission of the dengue virus in a neighborhood of four blocks during 180 (one hundred and eighty) days. The vector of the virus is the mosquito Aedes egyptii. The simulation shows a chart of the evolution of the outbreak (the change in the number of healthy people and infected people), another graph with the evolution of the mosquito population and some monitors that indicate the state of the mosquito population and how many people were infected.

Este modelo simula la transmisión del virus del dengue en un barrio de cuatro manzanas durante 180 días. El vector del virus es el mosquito Aedes egyptii. La simulación muestra un gráfico con la evolución del brote (el cambio en la cantidad de personas sanas y de personas infectadas), otro gráfico con la evolución de la población de mosquitos y unos monitores que indican el estado de la población de mosquitos y cuántas personas fueron infectadas.

These exercises ask the learner to identify abstractions in the computer model as compared to a diagram or image of a natural phenomenon.

As a virus spreads through a community, epidemiologists might study how far a disease has spread, how quickly it spreads and how infectious it can be as well a numerous other pieces of data in order to understand the disease and its potential impact on a community. In this activity, students will simulate the spread of a virus such as the flu. Students will work in pairs to accumulate data using graph paper, a data chart, and a die. Before starting, groups will need to decide on three variables.

"Papeles en el viento" (Papercatchers) es una simulación participativa en la que los estudiantes aprenden sobre el crecimiento de la población y los límites al crecimiento. Los estudiantes desempeñan el papel de miembros de una población creciente, siguen reglas sencillas que rigen la supervivencia y la reproducción, y recopilan y grafican datos.

¿Complejo o Complicado? utiliza una presentación de diapositivas para crear una actividad que se utiliza para involucrar a los estudiantes en argumentar basándose en evidencias y mejorar su comprensión sobre los sistemas adaptativos complejos.

Papercatchers is a participatory simulation in which students learn about population growth and limits to growth. Students play the role of members of a growing population, follow simple rules governing survival and reproduction, and collect and graph data.

El Juego de la Pesca utiliza el concepto de Tragedia de los Comunes (Hardin, 1968) para trabajar sobre sustentabilidad. El jugador (pescador) tiene 10 días para atrapar tantos peces como pueda para alimentar a su familia. Cada día, el pescador puede elegir pescar uno, dos o tres peces, o no pescar ninguno. Hay otros dos pescadores que también tratan de capturar tantos peces como puedan. El lago en el que se pesca sólo puede soportar 20 peces (que es la capacidad de carga del lago).