modeling 2011
Shodor > SUCCEED > Workshops > Archive > modeling 2011

Rob started off the workshop explaining what atoms are and the different types of bonds involved. He then proceeded to have all of the kids do an activity where they held hands with different people and then tried to untangle them. Alexandra then described the difference between sufficient and necessary using pasta sauce jars filled with water as her example as a way to encourage the students to think scientifically. Next, she told the classroom to look up the boiling point of radium and would reward the first person to find it. The catch, though, was to have enough evidence to support their claim. After analyzing different sites with a variety of answers, Alexandra explained that some sites credited themselves, while others credited unknown people, both of which are not completely trustworthy.

Rob took over teaching again, showing the class a couple of different models. He showed the fire model and then the predator/prey model, both of which can be found on Shodor's website. One was an agent model while the other was a system model, and he explained the difference between the two. An agent model has individual "agents" who obey a set of rules, while a system model represents the population as a whole instead of individuals. He made some of the kids simulate a binary model by sitting and standing at certain times in order to teach the concepts of rules and time steps. Rules are the set of instructions given to an agent. A time step is one tick of time when running the model, which helps see the model step by step. He also explained the trends in the predator/prey graph, and why they were dependent on each other. Lastly, Alexandra let the class mess around with the Disease model, and had a competition to see which person could kill the most people in the model. The students who really understood the variables in the model and how they worked were most successful at killing people.