Middle Schoolers, Real World
Problems, and Visualization
NECC 25 June 2007 and
STI July 2007
[email protected][email protected]
Growing Up Thinking Scientifically – Project GUTS
Santa Fe Institute
By the way, what is a complex system?
Here’s an example. Say you are studying traffic congestion, you could
view it as a fluid dynamics problem and use mathematical equations
to understand the underlying physics, or you could look at it as a
“complex system” composed of individual agents, cars in this case,
that react to other cars and to their environment.
Complex systems exhibit two properties:
1) the system is composed of individual interacting agents and
2) the system exhibits emergent properties, that is, properties arising
from the interaction of agents that can not be deduced simply by
aggregating the properties of the individual agents.
NETS Standards Addressed: grades 6-8 and 9-12
Emphasis on Collaboration and Simulations
• Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations to support learning
and research. (3,5)
• Apply productivity tools... to support group collaboration, and learning
throughout the curriculum. (3,6)
• Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and
collaborative tools to investigate curriculum related problems.... (4,5)
• Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish
a variety of tasks and solve problems. (5,6)
• Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis,
problem-solving, and decision-making in content learning. (4,5)
• Investigate and apply expert systems, intelligent agents, and simulations in
real-world situations. (3,5,6)
• Collaborate with peers, experts, and others to contribute to a contentrelated knowledge base by using technology to compile, synthesize,
produce, and disseminate information, models, and other creative works.
Building STEM Skills and Confidence
• Unify Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
through Complex Systems thinking
• Model “real” scientific practice through simulated systems
• Employ technology in the development of strategies for
solving problems in the real world
• Develop positive attitudes toward technology uses
• Students become the “agents” in computermediated simulations of complex systems
• Provide rich learning experiences where
technology and social interaction are key
• Use relatively simple and cheap
technologies (Palms<$100) and Infrared
• Games include topics in economics,
ecology, behaviour, mathematics, health
sciences and the science of networks.
Live Long and Prosper Game Instructions
Playing the Game
Players in this game are told to live as long as
possible and reproduce. Your ability to
survive and reproduce is influenced by your
genome so figuring out what the genes
stand for is critical in survival. When the
game starts you'll see that you have a
sequence of five genes (by default). Each of
the genes stands for a trait. The shading of
the genes (solid, striped and clear) somehow
stands for homozygous recessive,
homozygous dominant and heterozygous at
that position. Your current age (which will
constantly increase), generation, and total
score are also displayed.
Networks as complex systems
Networking is used more and more
to study complex topics across
broad areas of interest.
What is a network? What are
some characteristics of networks?
We are familiar with The Network.
Examples of networks…Food Chain
Examples of Networks …. ATT Network
Some examples of networks…Red, Blue Sales
Some examples of networks…Les Miserables
Some examples of networks…Relationships
Some examples of networks…..??