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STELLA Models in the Classroom From static images to dynamic, interactive models

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Title: STELLA Models in the Classroom From static images to dynamic, interactive models


1
STELLA Models in the ClassroomFrom static images
to dynamic, interactive models
  • John T. Snow
  • College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences
  • The University of Oklahoma
  • 2006 Unidata Users Workshop
  • "Expanding the Use of Models as
  • Educational Tools in the Atmospheric Related
    Sciences
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • 10 14 July 2006

2
Outline
  • What are models and why are they important?
  • A few words about teaching
  • Tools
  • Exploring a few STELLA models
  • Lovelocks Daisy World and a few variants
  • Water cycle
  • Carbon cycle
  • 5. Designing learning and building environments
  • 6. Closing Remarks

3
1. What Are Models AndWhy Are They Important?
  • This section provides motivation and serves to
    remind us that while we know what models are and
    how they are used, our students at the beginning
    do not.

4
What Is A Model?
5
What Is A Model?
  • Model simplified representation of selected
    aspects of the real Earth System
  • Conceptual ? mental models
  • Physical ? globe
  • Numerical ? simple to complex

6
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7
2. A Few Words About Teaching With Models
  • This section reviews a few general teaching
    principles and then applies them to instruction
    about modeling.
  • Some questions are asked and answered. Goals are
    established.

8
Why Do We Want Students To Come To Know,
Understand, And Be Able To Use Scientific
Knowledge?
  • To better appreciate the natural world and the
    events that occur within it -- requires knowledge
    and understanding
  • To contribute in an informed manner to personal,
    professional, and societal decisions -- requires
    development of habits of mind, skills, and
    experiences applicable to the formulation and
    answering of well-posed questions and the
    solution of problems faced by society

9
Why Do We Want Students To Come To Know,
Understand, And Be Able To Use Models?
  • Models have become primary tools for
  • Summarizing knowledge organized way of reducing
    complexity, focusing on what is important to a
    problem
  • Diagnosis, interpretation, insight
  • Interpolation, extrapolation, prediction
  • Judging uncertainty
  • Assessing sensitivity to parameters
  • Evaluating of what if alternatives in
    strategic planning, possibly leading to
    non-obvious optimal solutions
  • Gives purpose to and integrates math, physical,
    natural, social sciences introduces students to
    dynamic systems ? helps students answer
    themselves the question why do I have to learn
    this stuff?

10
Why Do We Want Students To Come To Know,
Understand, And Be Able To Use Models?
  • Moves discussions from qualitative to the
    quantitative
  • Fosters both personal explorations and
    collaborative/team efforts
  • Numerical modeling of dynamic systems is a tool
    widely used in science, government, and the
    commercial world for research, planning,
    management ? learning experiences mimic future
    work experiences use of modeling tools essential
    to be competitive
  • Many applications require the user to interact
    with the model, not just passively accept output

11
  • High end models of the planet are truly one of
    the major accomplishments of humankind, but they
    can be very intimidating to the student to the
    uninitiated, they appear as complex as the real
    planet

12
What Are The Desired Learning Outcomes For
Students W/R/T Models?
  • 1 Become a model user - we all start as naive
    users, but with experience become sophisticated
    users
  • a) be able to use model output to solve problems
    ? model is a data source
  • b) take an existing model and apply it to a range
    of problems by adjusting controlling parameters
    only a rudimentary knowledge of the software is
    required ? model is a tool
  • 2 Become a model developer create new models
    or modify existing ones using research results
    requires careful quantitative thinking about the
    system being modeled as well as a working
    knowledge of computer programming

13
What Are the Desired Learning Outcomes For
Students?
  • 3. Systems Thinking from /- feedback to
    homeostasis to emergent behavior
  • 4. Think Critically -- always see models as
    important but imperfect as tools by
  • Interpreting the model output in terms of
    insights and testable predictions
  • Routinely comparing model output with reality --
    test against data
  • Visualizing the behavior of the real system in
    the output graphs and tables ? model output
    always tells a story

14
How Do We Assist Students In Attaining These
Outcomes?
  • Recognize that most students will need only to
    become sophisticated model users ? able to
    utilize output and apply existing models to a
    variety of situations
  • Developing a model from first principles is a
    valuable learning experience the lessons to be
    learned do not require development of a complex
    model but it must be an authentic one
  • Well-thought-out simple models are particularly
    attractive as educational tools as they can be
    tailored to meet the needs of students for
    gaining experience with both use and
    development

15
  • Teaching is nothing more (and nothing less) than
    a conscious attempt to structure experiences so
    that desired themes emerge out of guided
    manipulation of realistic data in compelling
    situations.
  • P.J. Gersmehl, 1995

16
  • Teaching is nothing more (and nothing less) than
    a conscious attempt to structure experiences so
    that desired themes emerge out of guided
    manipulation of realistic data in compelling
    situations.
  • P.J. Gersmehl, 1995

17
Crafting Simple ModelsFor Student Use
  • Make material authentic, applicable, and active
  • Tackle real world problems in terms of
    mathematics, statistics, and empirical data
  • Foster collaborative research, team building
  • Do science as scientists do ? Modeling skills
    can be learned only through active participation
  • Check sensitivity and uncertainty
  • Play what if games
  • Conduct qualitative explorations and quantitative
    investigations - structured problem solving

18
Crafting Simple ModelsFor Student Use
  • Replication models ? follows description in a
    scientific paper or mongraph details provided
  • From static diagrams to dynamic simulations ?
    model follows diagram from textbook many details
    inferred

Both approaches yield models can be used to
conduct rediscovery experiments as well as
original work
19
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20
Typical Water Cycle Diagram
  • Diagram and associated dry text . . .
  • Summarizes an enormous amount of understanding
    about Earths crust and land surface, ocean, and
    atmosphere, portraying in very schematic form the
    main loops of this most fundamental of the global
    cycles
  • portrays the cycle as static and unchanging --
    looses the dynamic nature of this cycle
  • is passive and unchallenging -- no questions
    asked, no problems to solve student is unengaged
  • does not invite exploration of details e.g., role
    of the oceans) or possible consequences (e.g.,
    global warming) -- even good students scan and
    move along

21
Crafting Simple ModelsFor Student Use
  • Using and developing models requires four types
    of activities to be carried in parallel by the
    instructor
  • Understanding the science to be modeled in a
    quantitative way
  • Understanding the systems concepts to be used
  • Developing a pedagogical plan on how a model
    will support students' learning of specified
    objectives
  • Using software to meld these three
    considerations into a working classroom tool

A fifth challenge the underlying science, our
knowledge of how students learn, and the software
continue to evolve a model is never done!
22
3. Tools
  • We list some modeling tools (software) and then
    focus on STELLA

23
Examples of Software
  • Conceptual Tools ? organizers and decision aids
  • Thinking Tools (http//www.intel.com/education/too
    ls/index.htm)
  • Systems Modeling/Simulation Software ? GUI hides
    much of the math
  • STELLA and IThink (http//www.iseesystems.com/ )
  • VENSIM (http//www.ventanasystems.co.uk/vensim.htm
    l)
  • Math Solvers ? an alternative approach to
    modeling mathematics much more explicit
  • MatLab
  • Mathcad
  • Mathematica
  • Spatial Modeling (Geographic Information Systems)
  • -- ArcView

24
STELLA
Structural Thinking Experimental Learning
Laboratory with Animation
  • A commercial systems modeling software with
    built-in documentation, organization, and
    presentation tools
  • Uses simple math and physics to obtain useful
    solutions to complex problems
  • User friendly,visually intuitive GUI --With
    STELLA, one crafts a model through the GUI rather
    programs it in a computer language
  • Emphasizes processes, minimizes programming
  • Easily incorporates empirical data
  • Configurable as a three-tiered learning
    environment
  • Well suited to box models

25
A SIMPLE WATER CYCLE MODEL REALIZED IN STELLA
26
4. Exploring A Few STELLA Models
  • In this section, we familiarize ourselves with
    representative STELLA models. The sources of
    information that initiate the modeling process
    should be noted.

27
Illustrating the two approaches 1
  • Replication models reproduce a model reported
    in a scientific paper or monograph
  • Daisy World (Watson and Lovelock)
  • Global carbon cycle (Bolin)
  • Earths surface-atmosphere energy balance
    (Harte)
  • Move from static diagrams to dynamic activity
    and laboratory tools
  • Global water cycle
  • Simple global carbon cycle ? discussed in next 7
    slides

28
Simple Global Carbon Cycle Model 1
29
Simple Global Carbon Cycle Model 2
Anthropogenic Perturbation
Natural Cycle
30
Simple Global Carbon Cycle Model 3
Basic Model Closed, Balanced
31
Simple Global Carbon Cycle Model 4
Model set to reproduce the oscillation in the
global carbon cycle due to annual cycle of large
amount of terrestrial biomass at mid- and high
latitudes in Northern Hemisphere.
Basic Model Dynamic Equilbrium with Annual
Oscillation
32
Simple Global Carbon Cycle Model 5
Two parameters Burning Rate and Total
Recoverable Fossil Fuels these are adjustable
from model control panel
Extended Model Burning of Fossil Fuels
33
Simple Global Carbon Cycle Model 6
Model assumes a constant rate of burning, giving
a linear increase in mean atmospheric carbon
Extended Model Reproduction of the Keeling
Curves
34
Simple Global Carbon Cycle Model 7
Uses in the Classroom
  • Rediscovery experiment Annual Cycle Keeling
    Curves burning of biomass
  • Build graphical interpretation skills from
    model output to telling the story
  • What if scenarios ? simulation in support of
    decision-making activities (mitigation,
    adaptation)
  • Extensions to other phenomena, e.g., explore role
    of biomass and impact of different
    representations different economic models for
    consumption of fossil fuels over time ? leads to
    Bolins papers

35
Illustrating the two approaches 2
  • Replication models reproduce a model reported
    in a scientific paper or monograph
  • Daisy World (Watson and Lovelock)
  • Duo-World (Classic Daisy World)
  • Nine-World
  • Global carbon cycle (Bolin)
  • Earths surface-atmosphere energy balance
    (Harte)
  • Move from static diagrams to dynamic activity
    and laboratory tools
  • Global water cycle
  • Simple global carbon cycle ?

36
Illustrating the two approaches 3
  • Replication models reproduce a model reported
    in a scientific paper or monograph
  • Daisy World (Watson and Lovelock) ?
  • Global carbon cycle (Bolin)
  • Earths surface-atmosphere energy balance
    (Harte)
  • Move from static diagrams to dynamic activity
    and laboratory tools
  • Global water cycle
  • Simple global carbon cycle ?

37
5. Designing And Building Learning Environments
  • A learning experience for the student requires
    more than a model. We see some of the item of
    supporting information that can be provided
    through the STELLA documentation, organization,
    and presentation tools.

38
Learning Environment
A structured package of information and guided
inquiry built around an embedded numerical
model, tailored to attain specific educational
goals and often in the form of a sequence of
rediscovery experiments
39
Design Goals
  • Aid students in learning
  • fundamental physical and natural science content
  • how to use models to explore real world problems
    through simulations
  • basics of model development through guided
    modification of existing models

40
Design Principles
  • Adopt a standard format, so student finds same
    elements in same place in every exercise
  • Background information keep to the essentials
  • Initial Explorations - engage the student in
    problem solving based on a realistic scenario
  • Understanding What Is Happening - explore model
    performance to assess how well model answers
    questions about the real world
  • Make as self-contained as possible, using
    discussions and just in time information
    embedded as pop-ups in the environment

41
FOUR CHALLENGES TO THE INSTRUCTOR - 1
  • Building an interactive goal-directed learning
    environment that students find engaging
  • Develop a motivating scenario -- use text,
    graphics, and imagery provide weblinks to
    outside resources
  • Cast leading questions in a role-playing
    perspective -- promote decision-making in a
    scientific context use flight simulator mode
    with role play to maximize interactivity
  • Seek student input before running the model --
    move beyond guessing express in terms of
    insights and testable predictions

42
FOUR CHALLENGES TO THE INSTRUCTOR - 2
  • Creating interactive situations wherein students
    learn from their mistakes as well as their
    successes
  • Design control panel to provide opportunities for
    experimentation over a broad range of the control
    parameters -- encourage what if explorations
  • Conduct multiple runs for comparisons --
    determine sensitivity to initial conditions
    uncertainty in output
  • Embed advice, guidance, and relevant information
    at critical points -- make the environment as
    self-contained as possible, using leading
    questions, guided discussions, and just in
    time information

43
FOUR CHALLENGES TO THE INSTRUCTOR - 3
  • Placing the modeling activity in context
  • Supply essential background material -- describe
    societal relevance as well as model physics
  • Present real-world cases and scenarios where in
    model has been or could be used to arrive at a
    political or social decision

44
FOUR CHALLENGES TO THE INSTRUCTOR - 4
  • Emphasizing learning-by-doing, reasoning from
    data, and critical thinking and analysis
  • Visualize real system behavior-- connect the
    computer simulation to the real-life situation it
    represents
  • Ask for critical analysis of the quantitative
    results in oral and written discussion -- what
    do the numbers mean?, do they make sense in a
    real-world context compare with reality by
    testing against observations

45
CARBON CYCLE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT - MODELING LEVEL
A Carbon Cycle Learning Environment
Mapping Level
46
CARBON CYCLE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT - MAPPING LEVEL
A Carbon Cycle Learning Environment
Modeling Level
47
6. Closing Remarks
  • Theme of this workshop is "Expanding the Use of
    Models as Educational Tools in the Atmospheric
    Related Sciences
  • STELLA and similar systems modeling software
    provide opportunities for students to develop a
    high degree of sophistication in the use and
    development of models
  • Evolves the role of the instructor from teacher
    to instructional designer

48
STELLA is a commercial proprietary software
developed and sold by isee systems,
inc. Wheelock Office Park31 Old Etna Road,
Suite 5NLebanon, NH 03766 USA Phone
603-448-4990 Toll-Free 800-987-6758 FAX
603-448-4992 e-mail info_at_iseesystems.com web
site http//www.iseesystems.com/
49
If You Would Like a CD with all the STELLA
Modeling Information Described in this Talk,
E-mail Your Full Mailing Address tosnow_at_ou.edu
50
John T. Snow College of Atmospheric and
Geographic Sciences The University of
Oklahoma Sarkeys Energy Center, Suite 710 100 E.
Boyd Street Norman, Oklahoma 73019 USA
jsnow_at_ou.edu Telephone 405-325-3101 FAX
405-325-3148
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