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Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 1, Day 4) – Science Simulations: Computer Models of Change

Posted by on Thursday, June 16, 2016 in Grade 3, Grade 4, SAVY.

Good evening, parents and families!

Yesterday we used our own bodies to embody ants, their predators, and sources of food by “acting out” programs in our classroom. Today we used a ViMAP (Visual Multi-agent Programming and Modeling) environment specifically designed to model ant colonies. This was our first exploration into multi-agent programming with the computers.  Students were surprisingly quick to develop fluency with the system and produced some fabulous models, introducing competition for resources and predation to the ant colonies.

In the afternoon, we had a formal debate concerning what environment, ViMAP or Pencil Code, has greater affordances for a introductory computer programming class for young students.  Students incorporated a thoughtful range of social and educational implications into their arguments and I loved seeing how the formalized debate structure brought new ideas forward, especially from some of our students who tend to be quieter in informal class discussions.  I would like to extend a special thanks to Danielle for organizing and leading the debate.

Some students have developed an interest in the forces involved in parachuting through our discussions about motion.  We built some napkin parachutes right at the end of the day and plan to fly them tomorrow.  This will prompt yet another opportunity for computational modeling!

Just a quick note to explain that we will be in Wyatt Center 130 (our computer lab) for open house tomorrow afternoon, instead of our classroom in Crawford.  There will be signs to direct you!