Thinking Like a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Firefly: Learning Biology Through Constructing and Testing Computational Theories

Cognition & Instruction 24 (2):171-209 (2006)
Biological phenomena can be investigated at multiple levels, from the molecular to the cellular to the organismic to the ecological. In typical biology instruction, these levels have been segregated. Yet, it is by examining the connections between such levels that many phenomena in biology, and complex systems in general, are best explained. We describe a computation-based approach that enables students to investigate the connections between different biological levels. Using agent-based, embodied modeling tools, students model the microrules underlying a biological phenomenon and observe the resultant aggregate dynamics. We describe 2 cases in which this approach was used. In both cases, students framed hypotheses, constructed multiagent models that incorporate these hypotheses, and tested these by running their models and observing the outcomes. Contrasting these cases against traditionally used, classical equation-based approaches, we argue that the embodied modeling approach connects more directly to students’ experience, enables extended investigations as well as deeper understanding, and enables “advanced” topics to be productively introduced into the high school curriculum.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

45 ( #75,553 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.