Barth-Cohen and Wittmann on student model revision with Energy Theater

Lauren Barth-Cohen and Michael C. Wittmann

Mismatches between Represented Science Content and Unmet Expectations as a Mechanism of Model Revision.
Peer reviewed conference proceedings of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching 2015.

Models and modeling are a growing topic in science education. We focus on one of the sub-processes of modeling: model revision. The process of model revision is typically underdefined in specially designed modeling curricula. There are many ways to conceptualize model revision, but here we focus on model revision due to mismatches between the science content represented in a model and unmet expectations about that same model. Drawing on the knowledge-in–pieces theoretical framework, we present five cases of such model revision in the context of 9th graders modeling the steady state energy of the Earth using an embodied modeling instructional activity. These mismatches led students to modify both the conceptual content and how it was represented in their model. This mechanism for model revision may be applicable to model revision in other classroom instruction settings.