CoreModels emphasizes computational science activities, especially
computer modeling, in a learning environment integrating
project based science and the Karplus learning cycle
(Trowbridge & Bybee, 1990),
which according to Tinker (1992) are complementary strategies which
together make up a complete instructional program. These activities
stress systems thinking and modeling processes emphasized in both the
Maryland Core Learning Goals and the AAAS Benchmarks (American Association
for the Advancement of Science, 1993). |
The links below are some of the important standards documents which
shaped CoreModels activities.
Project 2061 of AAAS, especially the Benchmarks
Online, and more particularly
11, Common Themes.
Core Learning Goals in Science, especially Goal 1 - Skills
Some examples of content expectations in tune with
Benchmark Common Themes for which modeling activities are very
- Expectation 2.5 -
Earth Science - natural cycles
- Expectation 3.5 - Biology
- interdependence of diverse living organisms
- Expectation 3.1 - Biology - cell processes
- Goal 5 - Physics
Goals, including mechanics, electricity and magnetism,
By constructing computer models of
wildlife populations, the carbon cycle, chemical reactions, and projectile
motion, students construct their own understanding of important recurring
scientific concepts involving equilibrium processes, feedback and causal
relationships. For example, in the rock cycle model, students manipulate
the model to determine how disruption of equilibrium can lead
alternatively to a restoration of a similar equilibrium, to a geologically
dead planet, or to one that becomes destructive and uninhabitable. In the
glucose regulation model, students simulate the body's glucose-insulin
feedback process in an attempt to maintain homeostasis (equilibrium) in the
face of such disruptive events as eating a candy bar.
Used thoughtfully, computer modeling brings students into closer touch
with the real world rather than moving them farther away, as a very
intimate knowledge of the phenomenon and its interconnected parts is
needed to successfully model it. In both project based science and the
learning cycle paradigm, the teacher takes on the role of facilitator,
interacting with student teams to monitor progress, assist with
problem-solving, assess their understanding and serve as an advisor. Such
interaction almost always involves the uncovering of some fundamental
misconceptions held by students.
Experts in any field, whether it is chess, football, or modeling, differ
from novices in two ways. They have acquired many schemas that help
organize their understanding about the field. In addition, their
procedural knowledge is automated so that skills can be accessed easily.
Cognitive load theory is a model of memory that has important
implications for instructional design.
Improving Traditional Instruction: Cognitive Load Theory is an overview of the
ideas of John Sweller, chief architect of the theory.