4.8. Real World Models

This lesson wraps up our study of modeling and simulation by focusing on large scale real-world models. It reenforces the enduring understanding that models and simulations are abstractions that enable us to acquire new knowledge about the world.

Professional Development

The Student Lesson: Complete the activities for Unit 4 Lesson 4.8 Real World Models.


4.8.1. Learning Activities

Estimated Length: 45 minutes

  • Hook/Motivation (10 minutes):: Watch the videos on models of the solar system's planets. Discuss the differences between them. Some questions to ask might include:
    What was included in each model? What was left out? What was the purpose of each model?
    Try to make the link between the purpose of the model and the elements that were included in it.
  • Experiences and Explorations (30 minutes):
    • Ask students what are predators and prey? Are rabbits and wolves predators or prey?
    • Demo the rabbits and wolves predator-prey simulation for students just so they know how to find the commands for the activity (running the simulation, viewing the population graph, and changing the initial population amounts). Notes: Make sure you read the tabs for students and instructors on their site. Currently, this simulation works best in the Firefox browser. The View/Modify parameters button does not currently work in Chrome, but does work in Firefox. If you do not have the Firefox browser installed, you can try different simulations such as this Sheep/Wolves model (click on the blue Setup and then Go).
    • Divide students into POGIL teams and have them complete the inquiry questions for the activity. These are based on the exploration questions linked in the simulation's instructor tab, but focus more on the idea of testing out a hypothesis.
  • Rethink, Reflect and/or Revise (5 minutes): Review the answers to the POGIL questions as a class and have students work on their portfolio if time. Students should see that predators are needed to keep prey populations in balance. Students might also notice that rabbits could be considered "predators" of the grass.
  • ALTERNATE SIMULATION: Wolf Sheep Predation, Student POGIL Worksheet for Sheep-Wolves-Grass version

AP Classroom

The College Board's AP Classroom provides a question bank and Topic Questions. You may create a formative assessment quiz in AP Classroom, assign the quiz (a set of questions), and then review the results in class to identify and address any student misunderstandings.The following are suggested topic questions that you could assign once students have completed this lesson.

Suggested Topic Questions:

  • Topic 3.16 Simulations


Assessment Opportunities

You can examine students’ work on the interactive exercise and their reflection portfolio entries to assess their progress on the following learning objectives. If students are able to do what is listed there, they are ready to move on to the next lesson.

  • Interactive Exercises:
  • Portfolio Reflections:
    LO X.X.X - Students should be able to ...
  • In the XXX App, look for:

4.8.2. Professional Development Reflection

Discuss the following questions with other teachers in your professional development program.

  • How does this lesson help students toward understanding that computing innovations such as models and simulations can have an impact by helping to discover new knowledge about the world?

    I am confident I can teach this lesson to my students.
  • 1. Strongly Agree
  • 2. Agree
  • 3. Neutral
  • 4. Disagree
  • 5. Strongly Disagree

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