Learning through creating robotic models of biological systems

Article

Abstract

This paper considers an approach to studying issues in technology and science, which integrates design and inquiry activities towards creating and exploring technological models of scientific phenomena. We implemented this approach in a context where the learner inquires into a biological phenomenon and develops its representation in the form of a robotic model. Our multi-case study involved middle school students and prospective teachers. We considered learning processes, in which the learners used PicoCricket robot construction kits to create a variety of bio-inspired robotic models. We present two such models and the teaching strategy which organizes modeling activities into five learning stages. Based on analysis of learning activities and their outcomes along with the studied cases, we explored characteristics of the learning environment and of the proposed integrative teaching approach. The findings indicate the potential of modeling as a thread, tying together engineering design and scientific inquiry into an integrative learning activity.

Keywords

Science–technology education Design Inquiry Robotics Biological system Modeling PicoCricket 

References

  1. Cianchi, M. (1988). Leonardo da vinci s machines (pp. 45–61). Florence: Becocci.Google Scholar
  2. de Vries, M. J. (2006). Book review: John K. Gilbert and Carolyn J. Boulter (Eds.), Developing models in science education. Internation J of Techno and Design Education, 16(1), 97–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dede, C., & Barab, S. (2009). Emerging technologies for learning science: A time of rapid advances. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18, 301–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Elmer, R., & Davies, T. (2000). Modelling and creativity in design and technology education. In J. Gilbert & C. Boulter (Eds.), Developing models in science education (pp. 137–156). Dodrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fensham, P. J. (2009). Real world contexts in PISA science: Implications for context-based science education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(8), 884–896.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gilbert, J. K., Boulter, C. J., & Elmer, R. (2000). Positioning models in science education and in design and technology education. In J. K. Gilbert & C. J. Boulter (Eds.), Developing models in science education (pp. 3–17). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  8. Guyton, A. C., & Hall, J. E. (2006). Textbook of medical physiology (11th ed., pp. 111). Boston: Saunders.Google Scholar
  9. Hofstein, A., & Lunetta, V. N. (2004). The laboratory in science education: Foundations for the twenty-first century. Science Education, 88(1), 28–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hsieh, P., Cho, Y., Liu, M., & Schallert, D. L. (2008). Examining the interplay between middle school students’ achievement goals and self efficacy in a technology-enhanced learning environment. American Secondary Education, 36(3), 33–50.Google Scholar
  11. International Technology Education Association (ITEA). (1996). Technology for all Americans: A rationale and structure for the study of technology. Reston, Virginia: The author.Google Scholar
  12. International Technology Education Association (ITEA). (2000). Standards for technological literacy: Content for the study of technology. Reston, Virginia: The author.Google Scholar
  13. Kolodner, J. L. (2009). Learning by design’s framework for promoting learning of 21st century skills. In Presentation to the national research council workshop on exploring the intersection of science education and the development of 21st century skills. http://www7.nationalacademies.org/bose/Kolodner_21st%20Century_Paper.pdf. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  14. Kolodner, J. L., Camp, P. J., Crismond, D., Fasse, B., Gray, J., Holbrook, J., et al. (2003). Problem-based learning meets case-based reasoning in the middle-school science classroom: Putting learning-by-design into practice. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 12(4), 495–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lewis, T. (2006). Design and inquiry: Bases for an accommodation between science and technology education in the curriculum? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(3), 255–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lipson, H. (2007). Printable 3D models for customized hands-on education. In Proceedings of mass customization and personalization (MCPC) 2007, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  17. Lodico, M., Spaulding, D. T., & Voegthe, K. H. (2006). Methods in educational research: From theory to practice. San Francisco: Wiley.Google Scholar
  18. Milard, M. (2002). Using construction kits, modelling tools and system dynamics simulations to support collaborative discovery learning. Educational Technology and Society, 5(4), 76–87.Google Scholar
  19. Miller, G. A. (2003). The cognitive revolution: A historical perspective. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7(3), 141–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ming, N. C. (2009). Analogies vs. contrasts: A comparison of their learning benefits. In B. Kokinov, D. Gentner, & K. Holyoak (Eds.), New frontiers in analogy research: Proceedings of the second international conference on analogy (pp. 338–347). Sofia, Bulgaria: New Bulgarian University.Google Scholar
  21. National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  22. Papert, S. (1991). Situating constructionism. In I. Harel & S. Papert (Eds.), Constructionism. Norwood: NJ.Google Scholar
  23. Pavlovic, A., Demko, V., & Hudak, J. (2010). Trap closure and prey retention in Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula Ellis.) temporarily reduces photosynthesis and stimulates respiration. Annals of Botany, 105, 37–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Resnick, M., Berg, R., & Eisenberg, M. (2000). Beyond black boxes: Bringing transparency and aesthetics back to scientific investigation. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 9(1), 7–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Resnick, M., Martin, F., Berg, R., Borovoy, R., Colella, V., Kramer, K., & Silverman, B. (1998). Digital manipulatives: New toys to think with. In Proceedings of the CHI’98 Conference, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  26. Ropohl, G. (1997). Knowledge types in technology. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 7(1–2), 65–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rusk, N., Resnick, M., Berg, R., & Pezalla-Granlund, M. (2008). New pathways into robotics: Strategies for broadening participation. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 17(1), 59–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Seel, N., & Blumschein, P. (2009). Modeling and simulation in learning and instruction: A theoretical perspective. In P. Blumschein, W. Hung, & D. Jonassen (Eds.), Model-based approaches to learning: Using systems models and simulations to improve understanding and problem solving in complex domains (pp. 3–15). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  29. Sherry, R. A., & Galen, C. (1998). The mechanism of floral heliotropism in the snow buttercup. Ranunculus adoneus. Plant Cell and Environment, 21(10), 983–993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Verner, I. M., & Cuperman, D. (2010). Learning by inquiry into natural phenomena and construction of their robotic representations. In H. Middleton (Ed.), Knowledge in technology education (pp. 171–177), Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Griffith University.Google Scholar
  31. Verner, I. M., Polishuk, A., Klein, Y., Cuperman, D., & Mir, R. (2012). A learning excellence program in a science museum as a pathway into robotics. International Journal of Engineering Education, 28(3), 523–533.Google Scholar
  32. Volkov, A. G., Adesina, T., Markin, V. S., & Jovanov, E. (2007). Kinetics and mechanism of Dionaea muscipula Ellis trap closing. Plant Physiology, 146, 694–702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wan, K. K. (2007). Towards an anthropocentric vision in the learning of concepts in technology. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 17(1), 1–3.Google Scholar
  34. Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research: Design and methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education in Technology and ScienceTechnion––Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael

Personalised recommendations