ssp 2015
Shodor > SUCCEED > Workshops > Archive > ssp 2015

​ At the beginning of class, Dr. Panoff reviewed the material that was covered on Monday, specifically the concepts of expectation, observation, and reflection. Following a few anecdotes to demonstrate these ideas, the class discussed a problem, or a series of problems, that Dr. Panoff had given them. These problems were called the 4-4’s problem, which involves using four 4’s and many different symbols to calculate the numbers zero through thirty. The students were allowed to work in teams and attempted to come up with as many solutions as possible. They discussed results, and a Google doc was created in which to put their results.

Following this review and opening activity, the class discussed the symbolic representation of different ideas or phenomena, such as the orientation of a map and compass along with the water cycle. (This discussion was referred to and concepts were applied later in the class when the students created models.) The students next were given another brief activity known as the 127 second quiz. They were given 127 seconds to answer a series of questions on a sheet of paper. The first instruction was to read all questions before writing anything, and the final question instructed them to write the date in the name location and put their pencils down. This activity was designed to demonstrate the importance of reading directions, the power of expectations, and an example of computational thinking.

After the break, the students learned skills in Excel. They learned how to enter equations, name cells, use variables, use control, and create sliders. An existing model was used and edited to show the effect of competition and birth on a rabbit population. They specifically learned how "have equals had plus change" and "how the right answer equals the wrong answer plus corrections". This activity allowed students to understand how different factors, variables, or controls affect and change one another. ​ Following the completion of the Excel model, Dr. Panoff constructed a drawing on the board to visually represent the Excel model. This drawing was used to provide a more thorough explanation and further students' understanding. The drawing was then recreated using the application, Vensim, which showed the mathematical effect of changing different values while representing the different factors visually. Graphs could be viewed to show how a change in birth rate affected the population of rabbits. Competition was also added to the model and its effect on the model was then graphed and observed. Finally, the students looked at another Vensim model which showed different effects on a medicine’s concentration. At the end of the class the students completed their reflections.