Computational Modeling of Science Concepts Based on Constructionism: Model Construction System, Activity Design and Learning Analytics(1/3)

Project Details


Scientific modeling is considered as one of critical competency in science education. In the meanwhile, computer simulations are extensively applied in diverse learning contexts to develop students’ scientific modeling skill. However, under a guided teaching context students still hold lower level of motivation and applied superficial strategies to learn to model science phenomena with computer simulations. To address this problem, this project proposes a computational modeling approach based on constructionism guiding students to model science phenomena in a visible, operational, or a game representation through computational thinking. Students learn scientific modeling skills and knowledge through building a computational model of science phenomena. This project proposes a design framework to guide the development of the computational modeling teaching/learning activity. This framework involves (1) challenging students with the goal of construction of a game theme, (2) integrating computational thinking and computer simulation to trigger in-depth learning, and (3) guiding students through learning from examples with model progression. Based on the framework, this project will develop a construction tool with low threshold high ceiling feature supporting middle school students build computational scientific models. This project will develop a series of learning activities for a 10-week science curriculum that can be implemented in schools. Learning from examples with model progression will be the core design principle to guide students to build models from simple examples and progressively extend to sophisticated scientific models. To understand the effect of the computational modeling approach, student engagement, cognitive understanding of science model, and the perspective to the learning science will be collected and analyzed. It is hoped that we can achieve a better understanding about the pedagogical design principle that can be applied to guide teachers to implement computational modeling activities in schools.
Effective start/end date1/08/2031/07/21

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Computer simulations
  • Computational modeling
  • Scientific modeling
  • Computational thinking


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