Learning and teaching about scientific models with a computer-modeling tool
SourceComputers in Human Behavior
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The study presents efforts to support pre-service primary school teachers in learning and teaching about scientific models, and discusses the impact of these efforts on their understandings. We provided pre-service primary school teachers with a module on computer modeling and studied the effects of this experience on their abilities to construct viable scientific models with a computer-modeling tool, namely, Model-It [Metcalf, J. S., Krajcik, J., & Soloway, E. (2000). MODEL-IT: A Design Retrospective. In M. J. Jacobson & R. B. Kozma (Eds.), Innovations in Science and Mathematics Education (pp. 77-115). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates], in order to teach a sixth-grade science lesson. The results of the study showed that Model-It, through its scaffolds (i.e., Plan, Build, and Test), enabled the majority of pre-service teachers to build models that were structurally correct, but simplistic. The participants showed a tendency to teach science using more often the explorative modeling method than the expressive method, and only few of them employed both methods in their lessons. In essence, Model-It effectively scaffolded pre-service teachers' first modeling experiences and enabled them to quickly build and test their models as well as reflect on the viability of their models. However, according to the results, teachers need extensive learning experiences in order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the process of scientific modeling in science. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.