“Adventures in Modeling: Building Systems with StarLogo” by Klopfer, Colella and Resnick

  • ©Eric Klopfer, Vanessa Colella, and Mitch Resnick

  • ©Eric Klopfer, Vanessa Colella, and Mitch Resnick

  • ©Eric Klopfer, Vanessa Colella, and Mitch Resnick




    Adventures in Modeling: Building Systems with StarLogo



    For the past two decades, scientists have been building computer models to help them better understand and explain the systems they study. Biologists build models of protein folding, ecologists build models of habitat fragmentation, economists build models of commodity pricing, and physicists build models of subatomic interactions. Computers also make it easier for novices to build and explore their own models, and learn new scientific ideas in the process.

    The Adventures in Modeling Project introduces students and teachers to the process of designing, creating, and analyzing their own models of complex, dynamic systems. Our goal is to engage learners in authentic science practice by giving them the tools and the ability to pose, investigate, and answer their own questions. For the past three years, we have taught secondary school students and teachers to build and explore computer models in StarLogo.3 Unlike many other modeling tools, StarLogo supports a tangible model-building process that does not require advanced mathematical or programming skills. This characteristic makes it possible for students to focus on the content of the model rather than simply on the technical aspects of model creation. Using StarLogo and a variety of off-computer activities, students learn to create and investigate models and develop a deeper understanding of patterns and processes in the world.


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