ERIC Number: ED292656
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988
Reference Count: N/A
Tools for Teaching Problem Solving: An Evaluation of a Modeling and Systems Thinking Approach.
Zuman, John P.; Weaver, Suzie L.
During the summer of 1986 a group of 15 racially diverse students entering 10th and 11th grades participated in an intensive 4-week course taught by members of an NSF-funded project. The project's goals were to develop science and mathematics curricula based on the principles of systems dynamics. The course was a test of materials intended to provide students with methods for problem solving by introducing them to modeling software and concepts of systems thinking. Students engaged in a study of levels and rates, causal-loop diagrams, feedback, exponential growth, exponential decay, goal-seeking behavior, s-shaped behavior, and oscillating behavior by modeling real-life problems. Some of the problems that students worked on dealt with population growth, bank balances, temperature cooling, capacitor discharging, city growth, and predator-prey relationships. Nine boys and six girls volunteered to participate in the project. Evaluation of the course consisted of pre- and posttesting, observations, administration of a student background questionnaire, and interviews with students at the conclusion of the course. All questions in the categories tested showed a significant gain in correct responses from the pretest to the posttest. It was concluded that some transfer of skills was shown. (CW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Researchers
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Technical Education Research Center, Cambridge, MA.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (61st, Lake of the Ozarks, MO, April 10-13, 1988).