1. Daniel Brenner
  2. Principal Investigator
  3. SimScientists Human Body Systems
  4. http://simscientists.org
  5. WestEd
  1. Barbara Buckley
  2. Former Principal Investigator (retired)
  3. SimScientists Human Body Systems
  4. http://simscientists.org
  5. WestEd
  1. Andrew Grillo-Hill
  2. Co-Principal Investigator
  3. SimScientists Human Body Systems
  4. http://simscientists.org
  5. WestEd
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    UCSC Foundation Professor of Psychology
    May 16, 2016 | 05:06 p.m.

    It’s great to see the use you are making of simulation and modeling to bring people inside of specialized knowledge! I hope that such efforts will grow and make use of the new technologies that go beyond talking heads and still stick diagrams! Thank you. Barbara Rogoff

  • Icon for: Daniel Brenner

    Daniel Brenner

    Presenter
    May 16, 2016 | 06:39 p.m.

    Hi Barbara,

    We couldn’t agree more, Barbara. Thank you! It is our aim to use simulation-based instructional and benchmark assessments to help students better visualize and integrate what they know, and therefore allow them to better demonstrate their understanding of the underlying concepts and practices. We have targeted curriculum areas where we can use multi-faceted representations (e.g., animations, simulations, graphs, and interactive data tables) to connect various aspects of scientific phenomena.

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Co-Principal Investigator
    May 17, 2016 | 07:19 a.m.

    A very rich environment, with a lot of possibilities for expansion (and not just in biology).
    The video refers several times to students’ building models, but what I saw was models within which the students can manipulate values of the parameters present in the model, so as to test and run various experiments in a pretty engaging way. On the other hand, it means that the model has been built. I know you can’t do everything at once, and this is excellent as-is, but do you engage the students at all in the process of creating models (perhaps qualitative, perhaps on paper or something)? Or maybe down the road this will be part of your work?

  • Icon for: Barbara Buckley

    Barbara Buckley

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 01:05 p.m.

    Hi Brian,
    The question of how to engage students in building models while constraining them enough to make it possible for us to provide feedback and coaching required many hours of discussion. We didn’t want to reinforce incorrect models with untrue behavior, so we provide components that students must assemble into a model. However, the simulation does not ‘play’ if their model is incomplete or incorrect. For instance, when students try to run an incomplete model of a body system the action stops at the missing or incorrect organ and students are asked given some guidance and asked to try again.

    We encourage teachers to focus on the complex systems aspect of HBS when they address weaknesses identified in the progress reports they and their students receive after each instructional module. We agree that model-based learning and complex systems are applicable to a wide range of phenomena.

    Thank you!

  • Icon for: Richard Hudson

    Richard Hudson

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2016 | 09:09 a.m.

    The video does a good job of showcasing how you’ve created complex models in software. I wondered if the project ties the digital simulations to real-world labs in any way?

  • Icon for: Barbara Buckley

    Barbara Buckley

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 01:01 p.m.

    Thank you, Richard.
    Although real-world research does inform our simulations, we have not tied HBS simulations to real world labs in the classroom.
    It would be an interesting project to work with a group of teachers who are skilled in lab work with their students.
    One of the possible outcomes might be getting students involved in making predictions based on their work with HBS and testing them in labs.
    For instance, our glucose metabolism simulations do not involve insulin. Figuring out how insulin is involved in glucose metabolism might stimulate students to elaborate the two glucose models (with and without glycogen) we provide in HBS.

  • Icon for: Jerry Valadez

    Jerry Valadez

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2016 | 02:54 p.m.

    Greetings presenters. Great video work that introduces your progress to date. I also agree that extensions into disease states and effects on homeostasis would add good critical thinking and analysis opportunities for students. Engagement could also increase if they have family or friends with these disease states, such as diabetes.

    I do have a question about the narration by Marina. Towards the end of the video she refers to the “question” they will further research. Can you clarify what the actual question is?

    Good work. Thank you.

  • Icon for: Barbara Buckley

    Barbara Buckley

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 02:11 p.m.

    Hi Jerry and thank you!
    One of the questions in the HBS benchmark that elicits evidence of integrated understanding is the question included in the video, “How do these cellular components work together to enable athletic performance?” The research question we are investigating is whether the use of HBS instructional modules leads to more integrated understanding of the multiple levels of human body systems than business as usual. To do that we are coding students’ constructed responses, blind to treatment or control condition, and analyzing the extent of student models expressed in their responses in terms of how cellular components interact to support athletic performance. We are also coding for integrated vs fragmented statements. That work is currently underway. Stay tuned.

  • Icon for: Robert Tinker

    Robert Tinker

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2016 | 03:51 p.m.

    This application has high graphic value and provides nice interactions for students to explore the micro environments. I would like to know more about how the different levels of systems interact and how these ideas are developed.

  • Icon for: Barbara Buckley

    Barbara Buckley

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 02:24 p.m.

    Hi Bob,
    Thank you; developing the graphics was a major effort for the HBS project. We worked closely and interactively with Digital Artefacts to create representations that contextualize phenomena, too often presented abstractly, in the relevant structures of the human body — at multiple levels of scale. Part of that challenge was making representations accurate enough while not overloading the learner with distracting details. In addition, we used multiple representations on most screens and placed the action (after an initial run) under the control of the student to give students time to make connections between different representations and different levels of scale.
    All of these were woven into a story of how molecules from the food we eat are extracted and transported to cells where the work of the human body is actually performed.

  • Icon for: Daniel Brenner

    Daniel Brenner

    Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 12:43 p.m.

    How might assessment reports aligned to the NGSS be most useful to you? For the SimScientists HBS suite, teachers and students receive reports following the completion of the modules. For the benchmark, a Bayes net uses diagnostic variables from the tasks in the assessment to inform a student model and create the report. The reports provide information about student performance along two dimensions of the NGSS—the disciplinary core ideas and the science and engineering practices.

    From a practical perspective, how might this information best be translated into a single overall grade that reflects what a student knows and understands?

  • Icon for: Jianwei Zhang

    Jianwei Zhang

    Associate Professor and Department Chair
    May 19, 2016 | 01:17 p.m.

    This looks like a great simulation! In my research to engage elementary students in sustained inquiry and collaborative discourse focusing on core scientific topics, we have been focusing on human body systems in each school year. Do you think this tool can be used by Grade 5 students?

  • Icon for: Barbara Buckley

    Barbara Buckley

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 02:11 p.m.

    Thank you, Jianwei, for your comment and question. The reading level might be a bit challenging for 5th graders, but with additional scaffolding by the teacher, it would be worth a try. We use the interface to help learners connect the graphics and language. In our professional development, we encourage teachers to review class progress reports and lead discussions or other group activities that help students to better understand challenging concepts or practices.

    By the way, the SimScientists group at WestEd has developed and is testing middle school life science modules for human body systems, cells, and ecosystems. For more information visit simscientists.org.

    Best wishes for your important work with elementary students.

  • Icon for: Jianwei Zhang

    Jianwei Zhang

    Associate Professor and Department Chair
    May 19, 2016 | 02:17 p.m.

    Thanks Barbara. I looked at your website, and noticed another simulation: “Climate includes developing an understanding of the relationship between the latitude and differential heating and how it affects climate patterns. Students describe and interpret observations, predict relationships, vary model parameters to simulate climate characteristics.” I wonder how I can access these simulations. Are they online, open access?

  • Icon for: Daniel Brenner

    Daniel Brenner

    Presenter
    May 20, 2016 | 11:00 a.m.

    The climate suite is still being developed under a different project, SimScientists Crosscutting Concepts: Progressions in Earth Systems also funded by NSF (REAL). The project goal is to determine how learning of crosscutting concepts of Systems, Scale, and Cycles progresses across three topics in middle school Earth science: Geosphere, Climate, and Ecosystems. If you would be interested in participating in that study, you can contact Edys Quellmalz at equellm@wested.org.

  • Icon for: Daniel Brenner

    Daniel Brenner

    Presenter
    May 20, 2016 | 11:09 a.m.

    Would using the SimScientists HBS suite be more appealing if it were available in HTML5 rather than Flash? Our simulation-based suites were originally programmed in Flash by Charlie Brown, and more recently in conjunction with the team from Digital Artefacts who are also responsible for the incredible artwork and animations in our modules. Charlie and Dave Brown are converting the HBS suite to HTML5. The modules are being tested in classrooms this month and will be available in the fall of the 2016-2017 school year. Please let us know if you are interested in using these in your classes!

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.