Improving Conceptual Understanding and Representation Skills Through Excel-Based Modeling

  • Kathy L. Malone
  • Christian D. Schunn
  • Anita M. Schuchardt
Article

Abstract

The National Research Council framework for science education and the Next Generation Science Standards have developed a need for additional research and development of curricula that is both technologically model-based and includes engineering practices. This is especially the case for biology education. This paper describes a quasi-experimental design study to test the effectiveness of a model-based curriculum focused on the concepts of natural selection and population ecology that makes use of Excel modeling tools (Modeling Instruction in Biology with Excel, MBI-E). The curriculum revolves around the bio-engineering practice of controlling an invasive species. The study takes place in the Midwest within ten high schools teaching a regular-level introductory biology class. A post-test was designed that targeted a number of common misconceptions in both concept areas as well as representational usage. The results of a post-test demonstrate that the MBI-E students significantly outperformed the traditional classes in both natural selection and population ecology concepts, thus overcoming a number of misconceptions. In addition, implementing students made use of more multiple representations as well as demonstrating greater fascination for science.

Keywords

Biology Models Representations Modeling Engineering 

Supplementary material

10956_2017_9706_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.6 mb)
ESM 1(DOCX 1600 kb).
10956_2017_9706_MOESM2_ESM.docx (1.4 mb)
ESM 2(DOCX 1452 kb).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathy L. Malone
    • 1
  • Christian D. Schunn
    • 2
  • Anita M. Schuchardt
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Teaching and LearningThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Learning Research & Development CenterUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biology Teaching and LearningUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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