1. Michelle Zhu
  2. http://www.montclair.edu/csam/zhumi/
  3. Associate Professor
  4. Assimilating Computational and Mathematical thinking into Earth and Environmental Science
  5. https://acmes.online
  6. Montclair State University
  1. Pankaj Lal
  2. https://www.montclair.edu/profilepages/view_profile.php?username=lalp
  3. Associate Professor
  4. Assimilating Computational and Mathematical thinking into Earth and Environmental Science
  5. https://acmes.online
  6. Montclair State University
  1. Nicole Panorkou
  2. http://www.montclair.edu/csam/panorkoun
  3. Assistant Professor
  4. Assimilating Computational and Mathematical thinking into Earth and Environmental Science
  5. https://acmes.online
  6. Montclair State University
  1. Bharath Kumar Samanthula
  2. Assimilating Computational and Mathematical thinking into Earth and Environmental Science
  3. https://acmes.online
  4. Montclair State University
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Nicole Panorkou

    Nicole Panorkou

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 08:07 a.m.

    Welcome! Thanks for watching our video!

    We would like to hear your thoughts about our project. Feel free to ask questions and give feedback. What crossed your mind after watching this video? How can we best support the mathematical and computational integration into the Earth and Environmental science? What questions do you have about our module design, data collection and analysis?

  • Icon for: Michelle Zhu

    Michelle Zhu

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:38 a.m.

    Welcome to our "Assimilating Computational and Mathematical Thinking into Earth and Environmental Science" project mainly targeted at grade 5, 6 and 7. I hope this video is engaging and informative. This video is built from less than one year's efforts on our STEM+Computing grant. We are especially interested in how our lesson modules can be adapted and used by school teachers and educators nationwide. We are happy to share our lessons and PD which is under development. Any questions and comments are highly appreciated. 

    We are also developing a web-based online virtual classroom system so students can work on the lessons and assignments at home. Grading and analysis will automatically done by our system. 

  • Icon for: Scot Osterweil

    Scot Osterweil

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 05:12 p.m.

    You make a nice case for the connection between earth systems and computational thinking, and the video of on-screen activities gives some sense of how the product works. I'd love to know more about what implementation looks like, and how the product is designed to work in the context of school. Does it require significant teacher professional development, or is it easy to adopt? What impacts would you hope to see in children using this product, and do you have a theory of why it might be effective for children who currently are not well-served by traditional earth science education?

  • Icon for: Nicole Panorkou

    Nicole Panorkou

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:11 p.m.

    Thanks for your comment Scot! You raised some questions that we are also currently exploring. We just launched the project in schools this semester so we have been giving a lot of support to teachers to implement the modules. We provided them with detailed lesson plans and had meetings with them before and after each session. We were testing most of these modules for the first time so we were present during the lessons supporting the teachers as needed and finding out exactly what is it that they need in order to implement them effectively. One of the things we learned is that they need a more organized training on the Scratch programming activities. Also, in terms of math, one of the things we would like them to emphasize is the construction of covariation relationships in those environments. For instance, how does the gravity change if the mass of one of the objects change? If one increases, does the other increase or decrease? If one doubles, does the other double? We try to make those numeric and non-numeric relationships explicit in our design. Currently, we are using what we learned from this process to design professional development for them that will take place before the fall semester starts. So far, our results show that through our modules students developed their science, mathematical and computational thinking. They are also able to make generalizations and form relationships about the quantities involved (especially reasoning about what is changing and how it is changing in those simulations) that were not accessible through the previous traditional forms of learning. 

  • Icon for: Jessica Hammer

    Jessica Hammer

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 08:53 a.m.

    When you're creating learning simulations, there's a tough design problem. You want students to be able to discover the simulation principles for themselves and give them meaningful control, but you also want to provide enough information that they are able to discover principles instead of being lost in the system's complexity. Solving this problem could happen in the interface design, in the feedback that students receive when using the system, in supporting educational materials, or all three (as well as elsewhere in the design, of course!). Could you share some of your thoughts on how you approached this issue? 

    I'd also really like to hear more about your proposed automated analysis system. What information are you going to calculate about student performance and who will have access to it? Will it be used formatively or only for summative evaluation?

  • Icon for: Bharath Kumar Samanthula

    Bharath Kumar Samanthula

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 12:41 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Jessica! One of our design goals is to build a simple and easy to follow interface with proper navigations. We are still in the process of improving our website to facilitate active student learning on the underlying concepts. We achieve this via our interactive simulations that are nicely embedded on our website. Additionally, the system is designed to automatically collect, store and analyze different kinds of data. For example, our system records how many students answered each question correctly. We plan to use such data to identify special topics  that students have difficulty in learning. Statistical data will be shared with the representative teachers to gain further insights. We believe that such summative evaluation is crucial to redesign our modules in an incremental and more effective manner.

  • Icon for: Michelle Zhu

    Michelle Zhu

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:56 a.m.

    It is a great question, Jessica! I think we spent more than 2/3 of our time on the interface design and less than 1/3 of our time on the actual coding for the simulation. We want the kids to have an appealing graphic interface that can be easily navigated during their exploratory process.  We also observe how students play with the controls during the first semester of the launching the project and try to fix the places that are not so straightforward to play with. Our programmers and simulation designers always keep it in mind that our simulations will be used by kids ranging from 11 to 14 years old. How to attract their attention and they can learn the core science standard in a fun and pleasant way? 

    In terms of the online analysis that is under development, students will be able to login and play with the simulation, answer the questions in multiple online work sheet ( multiple choices, T/F, matching, open-ended) and a comprehensive assessment. Average, min, max, and histogram for each assessment question will be recorded. We feel that it will be a lot easier to keep track of student's performance in a digital way. Currently, we have to manually input the data into our statistical analysis software from piles of papers. We plan to use it for summative evaluation in the post assessment. 

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jessica Hammer
  • Icon for: Jessica Hammer

    Jessica Hammer

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 01:44 p.m.

    Interesting! Will any data from their interaction with the simulation be included in the assessment, to contextualize their worksheet answers?

  • Icon for: Michelle Zhu

    Michelle Zhu

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 03:24 p.m.

    Very good point! We haven't thought about it. In our very first worksheet for each lesson, we give them exercises to get them familiar with the interface and various parameter controls. In the assessment, we currently focus on assessing their knowledge of the science topic. It will be a good idea to include the student's intersection with the interface in the assessment. One thing we are doing is to record the entire classroom and focus on two to four students throughout their lesson interaction. Then some generalization will be formed after viewing the video later on. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jessica Hammer
  • Icon for: Kristin Gunckel

    Kristin Gunckel

    Researcher
    May 15, 2018 | 02:45 p.m.

    I'm interested in learning more about how you used learning progressions. Which learning progressions did you use and how are the incorporated into your designs?

  • Icon for: Michelle Zhu

    Michelle Zhu

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 03:29 p.m.

    Kristin, Thank you for your questions. It is a very good point as we always keep the learning progression in our mind in designing our modules. For example, gravity should be taken before the orbit module. Water cycle should be taken before the weather module. In reality, we do allow teachers to select the modules they would like to teach based on their pace since we intervene during the second semester (Spring 2018) of the grade year. In the future, when we work with brand new students who just enter the grade (fall semester), it will be a lot easier for teachers to teach these modules strictly based on the progression.  

  • Icon for: Robert Zisk

    Robert Zisk

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 11:28 a.m.

    I am interested in learning more about the idea of integrating mathematical and computational thinking into the science classroom with these simulations. I can see the elements of computational thinking behind the simulations, but is one of the goals of the project to develop students computational thinking and reasoning? If so, do you have any insight or data on students' development?

  • Icon for: Michelle Zhu

    Michelle Zhu

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 01:57 p.m.

    Hi, Robert, Thank you for this wonderful question. Yes, develop computational thinking and reasoning is also part of our project goals.

    For mathematical thinking, we currently incorporate the followings: 

    • Dependent/Independent variables
    • Reasoning about quantities that change
    • Graphing relationships
    • Ratio and proportion
    • Polygons and angles
    • Writing expressions

    For computational thinking, we currently have scratch practices for students to create code, fix the broken code, testing and debugging to meet certain output requirements. Students learn sequence, loop, conditional, operators and use them in their programming. In our upcoming summer camp, we will engage students in some unplugged CS activities as well as learning one advanced programming language, namely Javascript to learn shape, color and animation. Their final project will be to generate a simple solar system using Javascript. So we are hoping that students can progressionally develop their computational thinking and reasoning skills. 

  • Icon for: Kimberly Hoffman

    Kimberly Hoffman

    K-12 Teacher
    May 19, 2018 | 09:22 a.m.

    I was wondering if you had any successful simulations without the use of the computer in real-world settings?  Do you feel these simulations were successful or were the ones computer generated more meaningful to your students?

  • Icon for: Michelle Zhu

    Michelle Zhu

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 08:01 p.m.

    Kim, I think it is a very good suggestions. Since CS can have some unplugged activities, why we cannot design something unplugged simulation system using engineering methods? As of now, we haven't had any experience in simulation without computer in real-world setting. However, your suggestion might open another door for the future simulation platform. We might be able to create a mini-system using some engineering construction methodologies to teach some interesting topics. It can supplement the software-based simulation with some tangible experience for students. 

  • Small default profile

    Xiaoxue

    Graduate Student
    May 19, 2018 | 08:57 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing the video and great work, Professor Zhu. Curious if you could share some thoughts about the differences between computational thinking and mathematic thinking. During the workshop, would the students' knowledge of computational thinking can be transferred to mathematic thinking or vice versa? 

  • Icon for: Michelle Zhu

    Michelle Zhu

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2018 | 02:46 p.m.

    Xiaoxue, Thank you for this good question. Mathematical thinking is not just be able to solve say algebra problem. It is more the capabilities of recognizing the numerical and logical structure of a problem and can do a proper mathematical modeling for a real-life application. Computational thinking focuses on  problem decomposition, abstraction, pattern matching and algorithm design. Mathematical thinking should more or less serve as the foundation for the computational thinking. For example, if you need to design an algorithm, you first need to have a model which can mathematically represent your system.  For instance, identify the variables, the dependent and independent variables, the relationship between variables, how to store the data, how to manipulate the data and so on. We feel that some training in mathematical thinking can improve students' computational thinking. 

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.