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  1. Daniel Damelin
  2. https://concord.org/about/staff/dan-damelin
  3. Technology and Curriculum Developer
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Concord Consortium
  1. Joseph Krajcik
  2. http://create4stem.msu.edu
  3. Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Michigan State University

Supporting Secondary Students in Building External Models

NSF Awards: 1417809, 1417900

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Undergraduate

The Next Generation Science Standards identify modeling as one of eight key science and engineering practices for students to engage with in the context of disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts. However, students seldom construct runnable models to explain and predict phenomena. Existing tools for building and testing models are not typically accessible for students, especially younger students. The Building Models project, a collaboration between the Concord Consortium and the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University, is designing a new web-based systems modeling tool called SageModeler to address this need.


SageModeler is free and easy to use for students in middle and high school. Students can create a conceptual model of  how they think the world (or some particular phenomenon) works, test their idea, and use feedback from the output of their model to refine it. In the Building Models Project, we’re trying to understand how students learn through model construction, testing, and revision. With SageModeler and appropriately scaffolded curriculum around modeling, we are supporting students in building a more robust, nuanced, and intricate framework for understanding the world around us.

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Original Discussion from the 2017 STEM for All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Daniel Damelin

    Daniel Damelin

    Lead Presenter
    Technology and Curriculum Developer
    May 14, 2017 | 10:25 p.m.

    Welcome to the discussion board for the Building Models project and SageModeler model construction software. Our goal is to create software that will support students as young as middle school in quickly generating testable models and to study how they learn through model construction, testing, sharing, and revision. We look forward to your feedback and comments. If you are interested in supporting students constructing models, we'd love to hear about your work and how it might intersect with our own. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Ayham Dahi
  • Icon for: Sarah Haavind

    Sarah Haavind

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 01:59 p.m.

     

    Hello Dan and visitors to SageModeler,

    So nice that this tool is an easy download, ready to test right now! After visiting the linked website and opening SageModeler myself, I can see how it easily invites users to visually express models they are building in their heads and play around in order to hone understanding. Great that supporting videos are built right in, etc. Visitors, what do you notice as you explore SageModeler? Dan has promised to monitor the page and answer your questions! We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Icon for: Roger Tobin

    Roger Tobin

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2017 | 02:55 p.m.

    This is a very intriguing project and set of tools. I'd be interested to know what sort of data students collect to compare to their models.

  • Icon for: Daniel Damelin

    Daniel Damelin

    Lead Presenter
    Technology and Curriculum Developer
    May 15, 2017 | 03:15 p.m.

    The kind of data they use to validate their models generally falls into a few categories:

    • Publicly available governmental data sets. (Although these typically need some massaging before being intelligible for students. So, the author of a unit might make this available already in a more usable form for students.)
    • Physical experiments done with data recorded by hand, or using sensors.
    • Demonstrations in which the data is more qualitative. For example, having students blow into water containing a pH indicator to see how CO2 in water changes the pH.
    • Research from articles that talk about general trends and affects of these trends (Like an article about deforestation and its affect on ecosystems or CO2 storage.)
  • Icon for: Breanne Litts

    Breanne Litts

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 12:27 p.m.

    I've heard a lot about this project and love to see it represented in this showcase. I think SageModeler is a great example of leveraging the affordances of technology to support teaching and learning, in that, I particularly appreciate the tool wasn't designed for a specific discipline, but rather a practice or set of practices. I'm curious in what contexts SageModeler has been used and how implementation is supported across learning environments. Visitors, what ideas do you have for using SageModeler in your setting? 

  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 03:56 p.m.

    I love the idea of bringing "cross curricular ideas" into the modeling.  How much of the professional development designed for teachers using this tool reaches teachers in disciplines beyond the sciences?  do you work with social studies teachers, also?   or Phys Ed teachers?  It seems like this would be a great way to integrate disciplines and help students see how analytical thinking and modeling crosses disciplines.   

  • Icon for: Daniel Damelin

    Daniel Damelin

    Lead Presenter
    Technology and Curriculum Developer
    May 16, 2017 | 04:40 p.m.

    We think SageModeler is well suited for the kinds of modeling done outside of science, but our particular focus has been on supporting the NGSS practice of developing models in the context of scientific disciplinary core ideas. System models are frequently used in economics, social science, and business, so we hope that this might be picked up by others for just that purpose. It also provides an opportunity to consider how policy decisions affect scientific phenomena, but also impact the world from social and economic perspectives at the same time.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Dawn O'Connor
  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 08:46 a.m.

    I totally understand that NGSS is the "raison d'être" for the project--that makes sense.  Do you have an advisory council or group of external advisors on this project?  It might be interesting to bring some of those social scientists on board, if only to introduce them to the work and get them thinking about how they could carry the work forward in their own domains.

  • Icon for: Daniel Damelin

    Daniel Damelin

    Lead Presenter
    Technology and Curriculum Developer
    May 17, 2017 | 09:23 a.m.

    We do have an advisory board, but they consist of experts in modeling within the scientific domain, experts in science education research, as well as those with expertise and leadership roles in the writing of the Framework and NGSS. Pushing us to reach out to communities beyond our science focus is a good idea. As the software becomes more robust and more capable to model more types of phenomena, we will do that. Thanks for the gentle nudge.

  • Icon for: Sherry Hsi

    Sherry Hsi

    Researcher
    May 17, 2017 | 01:25 a.m.

    I like the idea that learners are building and testing models using SageModeler, and through this exploration, students are building their intuitions about phenomena, but also actively constructing a representation of their understanding. This tool affords a kind of tinkering that is so valued in engineering practice.  In your video, I also caught a glimpse of CODAP, the Common Online Data Analysis Platform (http://codap.concord.org/) working together seamlessly with SageModeler. It's great to see that virtual models can be created to generate data for further analyses and interpretation. 

  • Icon for: Ted Tagami

    Ted Tagami

    CEO
    May 18, 2017 | 11:13 p.m.

    Dan - we would love to integrate this with our exobiology lesson on the International Space Station. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Dawn O'Connor
  • Icon for: Daniel Damelin

    Daniel Damelin

    Lead Presenter
    Technology and Curriculum Developer
    May 19, 2017 | 12:14 a.m.

    Hi Ted. Thanks for visiting the page! Let's talk about how this would fit in with the experiments and curriculum you are planning.

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