The Benefits of Scientific Modeling by: Lisa Kenyon, Christina Schwarz, and Barbara Hug

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

When students are engaged in scientific modeling, they are able to notice patterns and develop and revise representations that become useful models to predict and explain—making their own scientific knowledge stronger, helping them to think critically, and helping them know more about the nature of science. To illustrate, this article describes a unit on evaporation and condensation that incorporates four essential aspects of scientific modeling. In the unit, students construct, use, evaluate, and revise evaporation and condensation models to understand how a solar still cleans dirty water.

Grades
  • Elementary
Publication Date
10/1/2008

Community ActivitySaved in 856 Libraries

Reviews (3)
  • on Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:48 PM

At the time of this review, this article was written eight years ago, and is still relevant to the things that I see going on in the classrooms that I have worked in. The article points out that students simply observing models of various phenomena is not very helpful to their understanding of the content. As an alternative, we should allow students to build models from scratch, compare their work with peers and professionals, and then revise their work to make it more accurate. This process really involves the students in their learning, and makes the content meaningful to them! The articles gives examples of how modeling can be used to teach five different topics, which is a great starting point and guide for teachers who are not familiar with planning units on modeling!

Olivia Westfall
Olivia Westfall

  • on Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:48 PM

At the time of this review, this article was written eight years ago, and is still relevant to the things that I see going on in the classrooms that I have worked in. The article points out that students simply observing models of various phenomena is not very helpful to their understanding of the content. As an alternative, we should allow students to build models from scratch, compare their work with peers and professionals, and then revise their work to make it more accurate. This process really involves the students in their learning, and makes the content meaningful to them! The articles gives examples of how modeling can be used to teach five different topics, which is a great starting point and guide for teachers who are not familiar with planning units on modeling!

Olivia Westfall
Olivia Westfall

  • on Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:16 AM

As of this review this article was written six years ago but is right on track for today's NGSS world. The article states "What we mean by modeling is the experience of constructing, using, evaluating, and revising scientific models and knowing what guides and motivates their use." In other words, creating a volcano model or a solar system model does not accurately predict or explain the phenomenon. The article describes a unit on evaporation and condensation through a series of modeling activities.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)


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