Defining and Observing Modeling and Simulation in Informatics

  • Nataša Grgurina
  • Erik Barendsen
  • Bert Zwaneveld
  • Klaas van Veen
  • Cor Suhre
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9973)


Computational Thinking (CT) is gaining a lot of attention in education. In this study we focus on the CT aspect modeling and simulation. We conducted a case study analyzing the projects of 12th grade high school informatics students in which they made models and ran simulations of phenomena from other disciplines. We constructed an analytic framework based on literature about modeling and analyzed students’ project documentation, recordings of student groups at work and during presentations, survey results and interviews with individual students. We examined how to discern the elements of our framework in the students’ work. Moreover, we determined which data sources are suitable for observing students’ learning. Finally, we investigated what difficulties students encounter while working on modeling and simulation projects. Our findings result in an operational definition of modeling and simulation, and provide input for future development of both assessment instruments and instructional strategies.


Computational thinking Modeling and simulation Informatics Secondary education 



This work is supported by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research grant nr. 023.002.138.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nataša Grgurina
    • 1
  • Erik Barendsen
    • 2
  • Bert Zwaneveld
    • 3
  • Klaas van Veen
    • 1
  • Cor Suhre
    • 1
  1. 1.Teaching and Teacher EducationUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Radboud University and Open UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Open UniversityHeerlenThe Netherlands

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