1165 Views
  1. Irene Lee
  2. Distinguished Scholar
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Education Development Center
  1. Joyce Malyn-Smith
  2. https://edc.org/staff/joyce-malyn-smith
  3. Distinguished Scholar
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Kirsten Peterson
  2. https://www.edc.org/staff/kirsten-peterson
  3. Senior Project Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center

Computational Sciences Pathway Option for Massachusetts High School Students

NSF Awards: 1934112

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Adult learners

EDC and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education are partnering on a three-year “Science+C” project to integrate computer modeling and simulation units into high school Biology, Chemistry, and Physics courses. The innovative curriculum engages students in using, decoding and modifying computer models to enhance their understanding of scientific processes and how computational methods and tools have changed the nature of science. In an introductory unit, we engage students in decoding and modifying a model of the spread of disease, and relating it to COVID-19. Students learn that scientists and public health officials use computer modeling to study and mitigate the spread of disease. Through decoding the model, students realize that models are a subset of the real world and that the creator of the model made choices of what to include and what to leave out. This presents the opportunity to discuss how models can be biased by not including certain groups of people or behaviors, and thus they may not address the impacts of the spread of disease on certain populations. For example, some people live in more crowded conditions or might not have access to face masks. Furthermore, through modifying models, students can address these omissions and run simulation experiments relevant to their lives. This type of computational thinking (understanding the abstractions in models made by others) places modeling and simulation practice in an ethical light and prepares all students to inspect models and consider the ways in which they do and do not represent the real world.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (15 posts)
  • Icon for: Irene Lee

    Irene Lee

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 11, 2021 | 08:51 a.m.

    Thank you for visiting and watching this video! We'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts... If you are using computer modeling and simulation in your classroom or project, do you think it is appropriate to expose students to the potential for bias in representations and generated outcomes when using computer models?  Feel free to comment on any other aspects of the project that you have questions about.  

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: PATRICK HONNER

    PATRICK HONNER

    Facilitator
    Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 09:03 a.m.

    Hi-

    I love the idea of integrating modeling and simulation into science courses. Can you say a little more about this as a “pathway”? Are there new courses being developed and offered, or are you talking about projects and units pushed in to existing courses? And is there a sequence of courses where students take this same modeling and simulation approach?

     
     
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    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Irene Lee

    Irene Lee

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 11, 2021 | 10:49 a.m.

    Hello Patrick,

    Great questions - EDC Science+C has developed three new courses in partnership with the Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE).  The courses, Biology+C, Chemistry+C, and Physics+C, are alternative courses to the traditional Biology, Chemistry and Physics introductory level courses. Each of the Science+C courses includes 10 three-day units that integrate computational science. These three courses form a pathway that prepares students for coursework and futures in CT-enabled fields.  I hope this answers your questions.

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
    PATRICK HONNER
  • Icon for: Kirsten Peterson

    Kirsten Peterson

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Project Director
    May 11, 2021 | 10:58 a.m.

    Just to add to Irene's answer, the units are not entirely new or different content - they align to MA and NGSS Standards and are existing units that teachers cover already in their respective curriculum, so they are enhancements to existing content that really enables connections between what students are expected to learn in Bio, Chem, and Physics but with strong connections to computational science. We find the real-world connections and visual manipulations help to differentiate instruction and provide opportunities for a broader range of students to take interest in CS concepts.  More information is available at https://scienceplusc.org/ .

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
    PATRICK HONNER
  • Icon for: PATRICK HONNER

    PATRICK HONNER

    Facilitator
    Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 12:31 p.m.

    It's terrific that there are actual course designations for this, and I hope to see this idea expand. I've personally done a lot bringing computing into math class, and the though of a Math+C class is really exciting to me. 

     
     
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    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Co-Presenter
    Distinguished Scholar
    May 17, 2021 | 06:39 p.m.

    We are very interested in exploring what Math+C looks like. In your Math+C are you integrating/focusing on Data fluency, or mathematical foundations of AI through Data? Can you email more info?

  • Icon for: Marion Usselman

    Marion Usselman

    Facilitator
    Associate Director, and Principal Research Scientist
    May 11, 2021 | 02:43 p.m.

    Very exciting.  What are your plans for further dissemination of the courses?  Do you have research results you can share about the student effects of the courses? 

  • Icon for: Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Co-Presenter
    Distinguished Scholar
    May 17, 2021 | 06:36 p.m.

    MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has already created course codes to enable schools to list these courses in their master schedules.  After our upcoming pilot year, the courses will be available to all high schools in MA. We are working with DESE to interest schools interested in adding these courses and identify teachers looking for professional development - so that these courses can be broadly implemented in MA in September 2022.  We are very interested in sharing this curriculum, developing new partnerships both within and outside of MA, and building new courses/programs based on this work. We invite people with like interests to contact us.  Please feel free to send us names of individuals/projects working on similar issues so that we can reach out to them.   We will have research results by July 2022.

  • Icon for: Irene Lee

    Irene Lee

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 11, 2021 | 05:07 p.m.

    Hello Marion,

    We are completing our pilot year now and next year will conduct the impact study. We hope to disseminate the courses widely thereafter.

  • May 12, 2021 | 02:39 p.m.

    I love the critical focus highlighted in your video!  How empowering to help students question the assumptions on which the computer model was constructed.   I wonder how our projects might overlap and benefit each other. A core aim of our project is also to nurture critical science literacy; your example is so powerful.  Let me know if you want to connect!  Here is a link to our video: https://stemforall2021.videohall.com/presentati...  

  • Icon for: Khyati Sanjana

    Khyati Sanjana

    Facilitator
    Senior Manager
    May 12, 2021 | 10:53 p.m.

    Integration of C+ in the content while addressing the NGSS standards is so exciting. Simply unique. Would love to hear about some challenges that you faced along the way and how you overcame it. Was the virtual setting for students advantageous?  

  • Icon for: Lei Liu

    Lei Liu

    Researcher
    May 14, 2021 | 12:20 p.m.

    Hi Irene, Your project is a great example to build connections between programming skills and science learning, which is a very organic way to integrate STEM disciplines. For the decoding to modifying stages, have you tried to have students diagnose problems in the codes? In one of our studies, we observed that sometimes errors in a simulation could arouse productive discussion among students.

  • Icon for: Susan Warshaw

    Susan Warshaw

    External Evaluator
    May 14, 2021 | 02:30 p.m.

    I like this because it goes beyond basic computer logic and coding. Computational modeling involves the next level of critical thinking.   

  • Icon for: Christine Wusylko

    Christine Wusylko

    Graduate Student
    May 15, 2021 | 01:30 p.m.

    What a cool project! The use of COVID-19 is, of course, a timely and relevant choice. I'm curious to learn about the feedback have you gotten from students. Was it easy for them to consider the ethical implications through the modeling and simulation, or did they need some extra support to get to those questions? 

  • Icon for: Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Co-Presenter
    Distinguished Scholar
    May 17, 2021 | 06:29 p.m.

    Thank you all for viewing our video and your great comments.  Imagine how great it will be to have Computational Biology, Computational Chemistry and Computational Physics courses as an option for high school students.  Our goal is to help students develop the skills needed by today's and tomorrow's scientists as they solve problems affecting our communities.  Our work over the past several years indicates that today's scientists routinely use computational tools and processes in their daily work.  We are excited to be able to offer students the opportunity to develop interests in computational sciences and a grounding in foundational skills that will prepare them for this type of work should they choose to move onto a STEM career pathway.

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