Logging Students’ Model-Based Learning and Inquiry Skills in Science

Janice Gobert, Paul Horwitz, Barbara Buckley, Amie Mansfield, Edmund Burke, and Dimitry Markman

Wedescribe the Modeling Across the Curriculum Project (mac.concord.org; IERI # 0115699), a project in which we developed and refined Pedagogica™ (Horwitz and Burke 2002), a runtime and authoring environment, as well as three interactive curricular units for high school science in Genetics, Newtonian Mechanics, and Gas Laws. Pedagogica™ provides runtime support for scripting of Java components such as general-purpose software tools, manipulable models, and assessments that pose challenges to students; Pedagogica™ also monitors what students do with the models and tools. The scripts enable a researcher or curriculum developer to control all aspects of the learner’s interaction with software tools by changing the nature of the scaffolding and the assessments provided (Gobert et al, 2004). Our curricular activities for Biology (Genetics), Physics (Newtonian Mechanics), and Chemistry (Gas Laws) combine aspects of open-ended exploratory tools with content-specific text and multimedia — a combination we call a “hypermodel” (Horwitz 1995).

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