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Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 1, Day 1) – Science Simulations: Computer Models of Change

Posted by on Monday, June 13, 2016 in Grade 3, Grade 4, SAVY.

Monday, June 13

It was a great day in Science Simulations!  We began with a deep investigation of constant speed motion, using Lego NXT Robots. Students engineered different ways to mathematically describe the speed of their group’s robot, coordinating their actions to mark changes in position in regular increments of time.  Using this data, we critiqued and refined our measurements.  These measurements will be used in our predictive models of constant speed.

In the computer lab, we worked with an agent-based visual programming language called ViMAP.  Students created programs and were overwhelmingly immersed in the work. This introduction to the programming language will serve us in the models of our robots’ motion, which we will build tomorrow. In our debrief from the programming time, students shared that they were surprised how few programming commands were required to get wide variability in our programs (“so much really different cool stuff”).  I affirmed that the students’ naturally emerging re-mixes and spinoffs of each others’ code are an authentic practice in computer programming. One student shared––and others agreed–-that the programs they made today were expressive (“coding as expressing feeling”).

If you’d like to download the agent-based computational modeling environment that we used today, you may find it here: http://github.com/vimapk12/ViMAP/releases/tag/1

Fwd, turtle!