Studying Complex Systems in School. An inquiry based method utilizing the multi-agent software NetLogo

Studying Complex Systems in School. An inquiry based method utilizing the multi-agent software NetLogo

Gkaras Georgios, Costaridis Panayiotis, Dimitris Yiatas, Vlassi Maria, 1st Experimental Lyceum of Athens Gennadeio, Athens
Stamatia Pashaliori, 2nd Experimental Gymnasium of Athens, Athens

Abstract

An Action Research project about the possibility of introduction of the subject of Complex Systems combined with Inquiry Based Learning in Senior High School is presented. It investigates how NetLogo, Agent Based Computer models (ABMs), can help pupils engage in Inquiry Based lessons on Complex Systems and enhance their understanding of these systems. Pupils worked in the ICT lab of our school with NetLogo models. They configured the models through interfaces and in some cases they experimented with the programming code. The project showed that NetLogo models intrigue pupils and help them engage in scientific thinking. Netlogo was found to be appropriate for Inquiry Based Learning. It enabled students to ask scientific questions, set up and run models, get answers and present their experiments and results in the classroom. The experience gained through each separate lesson was used to inform and design the next one. For this purpose pupil’s worksheets and questionnaires were analyzed, as well as, the comments of the teachers who participated or observed the lessons in a whole school peer to peer observation program.

Key Words: Complex Systems, Inquiry Based Teaching, NetLogo, Multi-agent, Action Research

 

Full Text in. pdf format