USING SIMPLE SIMULATIONS IN THE EARTH SCIENCES TO ENGAGE STUDENTS WITH THE NGSS PRACTICE OF SCIENTIFIC MODELING (Invited Presentation)
In this talk we will demonstrate simulations, games, and virtual labs that span a range of content topics (or DCIs - Disciplinary Core Ideas - in NGSS parlance) from the Earth sciences. The resources demonstrated will include tree rings for decoding past climate, growing and shrinking a glacier, a very simple climate model, the greenhouse effect, the Drone Science Mission Board Game, a kinesthetic nitrogen cycle game, virtual ballooning to explore the atmosphere, planetary energy balance, and more. Our intent is to illustrate the applicability of simulations to "minds-on" science learning across a broad range of Earth science topics, and to stimulate your thinking about possible uses of simulations in the context of content topics you teach.
Although most of the simulations we will demonstrate are computer-based, some take the form of board games or kinesthetic activities. Whenever possible, computer-based simulations should be used to compliment hands-on activities, not replace them. We have found that combining hands-on activities with computer-based simulations that touch upon the same content topic can be a powerful way to extend and deepen student-learning experiences. Computer-based simulations and models are also a means to incorporate active learning into the rapidly and continuously growing worlds of online and blended learning.