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SimForest

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  • Potter at Island Resources
    Here s a great classroom tool (well, if your classroom happens to have a computer) for observing and experimenting with relatively complex ecosystem
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 21, 2003
      Here's a great classroom tool (well, if your classroom happens to
      have a computer) for observing and experimenting with relatively
      complex ecosystem interactions in [unfortunately, US] forests ---
      based on a project developed at Hampshire College in Massachusetts .
      . .

      Now, wouldn't it be terrific if a similar tool could be developed to
      demonstrate the operations of the reef-mangrove-seagrass interactions
      in the marine environment!!

      bp



      http://ddc.hampshire.edu/simforest/


      >The SimForest project is an NSF-funded project aimed at developing
      >simulation-based software to support inquiry learning. The project
      >has four parts: 1) software development, 2) curriculum development,
      >3) teacher professional development and classroom implementation, 4)
      >research results.
      >
      >[This material is based upon work supported by the National Science
      >Foundation under Grant No. 9972486. Any opinions, findings, and
      >conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those
      >of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
      >National Science Foundation.]
      >
      >The SimForest software:
      >Students can plant trees from a pool of over 30 regional species,
      >set environmental parameters such as rain fall, temperature, and
      >soil conditions, and watch the forest plot grow and evolve over many
      >years. A forest plot's sensitivity to natural and man-made
      >disturbances can be evaluated, and emergent properties such as
      >species succession can be observed. Graphing and analysis tools are
      >provided to make inquiry more efficient. There are two versions of
      >the SimForest educational simulation that you dan download from this
      >site: the "back box" simulation and the "glass box" simulation. In
      >the more advanced glass box version learners can inspect and modify
      >the underlying forest growth model (however, the glass box verion is
      >still an early prototype--download at your own risk!).
      >
      >The SimForest Curriculum:
      >We have developed activities and instructional methods for using our
      >software in biology and ecology classes for grades 7-12 and college
      >level. The curriculum is designed as a resource for teachers to help
      >them design lessons tailored to the needs of their class. The
      >curriculum is structured to allow emergent student interests and
      >hypotheses to form the basis for sustained inquiry activities. It
      >also connects the simulation activities with outdoor experiences and
      >actual forest growth data.
      >
      >Teacher and Professional Development Materials:
      >The use of educational simulations and the incorporation of
      >sustained inquiry activities is new and challenging for many
      >teachers. Successful adaptation of innovative educational programs
      >requires more than just good software and good written curriculum
      >resources. In our 2001 Summer Institute on Educational Software for
      >Inquiry-based Science we worked with teachers to prepare them to use
      >our software in the following academic year. We also provide support
      >during the school year. Teachers also acted as research
      >collaborators, helping us modify our software and curriculum
      >materials to accommodate to the demands of the average classroom
      >situation. Our materials include teachers guides and suggestions for
      >running professional development workshops aimed at increasing
      >skills in using simulations for inquiry-based science education. .
      >
      >Research and Evaluation:
      >We have evaluated the software and portions of the curriculum in
      >laboratory and classroom conditions. See the link to publications
      >for details of our research.


      --
      Island Resources, 1718 "P" St NW # T-4, Washington, DC 20036
      Fone 202/265-9712 fax 202/232-0748; E-mail: <bpotter@...>
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