Learning Experiences for the GUTS component
The learning experiences offered at our Summer Teacher Institute include:
- Introduction to our pedagogy, definition and use of scientific inquiry, online
tools and website. Discussion of "what is a model?", "what do models teach us?", and "how do we evaluate models?"
- Direct instruction in learning characteristics of complex systems accompanied by a variety of examples.
- Immersion in Participatory Simulations and PDA games that demonstrate aspects of complex systems.
- Manipulating computer models of complex systems, learning to run experiments, collect data.
- Learning paradigm of implementing agent based model (interaction diagram).
- Reviewing the mathematics underlying our models and data analysis: functions and
graphs, linear vs. non-linear, probability and statistics, distributions, random
numbers, discrete vs. continuous systems, curve fitting and network analysis (power laws, scale-free, etc.)
- Examining the mechanisms underlying our models and computer programs: variables,
loops, procedures, control structures, Booleans, expressions, as well as parameter
sweeps, verification and validation of models.
- Walk-through of a Project GUTS curricular unit that we will use next year.
Participants will be introduced to an interdisciplinary topic/phenomenon
and experience each activity/investigation within the unit: a hands-on activity
and game, an online applet, and a computational and a mathematical model of the
phenomenon. Throughout, the mathematics involved will be made explicit and data
analysis methods will be used to compare the outcome of simulations. In each unit,
participants will be asked to identify the characteristics of complex systems
found in the example, construct an interaction diagram of the elements of the
model, create a word wall and concept maps, and use our online tools, pre-post
assessment using concept maps, and blogging.
- Learning to design, implement, and run experiments on models of complex systems.
Throughout the program, in addition to providing learning experiences that will
extend teachers' understanding of science and math content, we aim to develop
teachers' scientific inquiry and math process skills. We integrate activities
that encourage divergent thinking and creative problem solving, we engage teachers
in technology-mediated scientific inquiry games, and we have the teachers
participate in first-person simulations of complex systems. Other important topics
we cover include gender equity, strategies for increasing participation of women
and underrepresented groups in STEM career paths, computer ethics, and ethics in
technical writing (i.e. defining plagiarism).