A Germ for Young European Scientists: Drawing-Based Modelling

Part of the Gaming Media and Social Effects book series (GMSE)


An important movement in European science education is that learning should be inquiry-based and represents realistic scientific practice. The inquiry-based nature of science education is essential to interest more young people for a career in science and technology. Creating models is broadly seen as an essential part of those scientific practices. Dynamic models play a central role in science as a main vehicle to express and evaluate our understanding of complex systems. Therefore, the ability to reason with and about models and to create models of dynamic systems is an important higher order thinking skill and as a means to foster the development of scientific attitudes. In teaching children how to model, the choice for model representation is important. Representations can vary from mathematical formula, programming languages and diagrammatic representations. This chapter will present modelling based on drawings, and the SimSketch software with which children can create dynamic, multi-agent models. By representing systems in drawings, assigning behaviour to elements of the drawing and simulate the resulting model, children can express and test their ideas about natural and artificial systems. The chapter discusses conceptual and technical issues related to SimSketch as well as studies in which children have used SimSketch to represent systems such as the solar system, traffic and the spreading of diseases. The role of this approach will be discussed in the context of developments in European educational research.


Simulations Modeling Inquiry learning Scientific literacy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics EducationUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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