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How Fifth-Grade English Learners Engage in Systems Thinking Using Computational Models
Article

Expanding Opportunities for Systems Thinking, Conceptual Learning, and Participation through Embodied and Computational Modeling

1
Department of Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
2
Department of Teaching and Learning, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37212, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2020 / Revised: 24 November 2020 / Accepted: 24 November 2020 / Published: 26 November 2020
Previous research has established that embodied modeling (role-playing agents in a system) can support learning about complexity. Separately, research has demonstrated that increasing the multimodal resources available to students can support sensemaking, particularly for students classified as English Learners. This study bridges these two bodies of research to consider how embodied models can strengthen an interconnected system of multimodal models created by a classroom. We explore how iteratively refining embodied modeling activities strengthened connections to other models, real-world phenomena, and multimodal representations. Through design-based research in a sixth grade classroom studying ecosystems, we refined embodied modeling activities initially conceived as supports for computational thinking and modeling. Across three iterative cycles, we illustrate how the conceptual and epistemic relationship between the computational and embodied model shifted, and we analyze how these shifts shaped opportunities for learning and participation by: (1) recognizing each student’s perspectives as critical for making sense of the model, (2) encouraging students to question and modify the “code” for the model, and (3) leveraging multimodal resources, including graphs, gestures, and student-generated language, for meaning-making. Through these shifts, the embodied model became a full-fledged component of the classroom’s model system and created more equitable opportunities for learning and participation. View Full-Text
Keywords: science education; scientific modeling; computational modeling; embodied modeling; multimodality; English learners science education; scientific modeling; computational modeling; embodied modeling; multimodality; English learners
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pierson, A.E.; Brady, C.E. Expanding Opportunities for Systems Thinking, Conceptual Learning, and Participation through Embodied and Computational Modeling. Systems 2020, 8, 48. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/systems8040048

AMA Style

Pierson AE, Brady CE. Expanding Opportunities for Systems Thinking, Conceptual Learning, and Participation through Embodied and Computational Modeling. Systems. 2020; 8(4):48. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/systems8040048

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pierson, Ashlyn E., and Corey E. Brady 2020. "Expanding Opportunities for Systems Thinking, Conceptual Learning, and Participation through Embodied and Computational Modeling" Systems 8, no. 4: 48. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/systems8040048

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