The science of complex systems can provide not only scientist, but also professionals, policy-makers and citizens, with thinking resources to interpret and understand most of the modern global challenges. In this field, the widespread use of computational simulations, that are neither theoretical instruments nor laboratory experiments, has been contributing to the widening of the scientific skill gap between experts and citizens. The pilot study we present in this contribution aims at investigating high school students’ approaches towards simulations of complex systems, by searching for the criteria they use to evaluate their explanatory power and the reliability of their results. Preliminary analysis of the paired interviews has shown that (1) rarely students are able to elaborate explanations of the simulated complex phenomena, and (2) their critical attitude and trust towards simulations are strongly affected by their epistemological background. We argue that these findings deserve to be furtherly investigated, to understand in more details the sources of students’ difficulties in recognizing the epistemological and methodological value of simulations for scientific research and practice.

High school students’ epistemological approaches to computer simulations of complex systems / E. Barelli, L. Branchetti, G. Ravaioli. - In: JOURNAL OF PHYSICS. CONFERENCE SERIES. - ISSN 1742-6588. - 1287:1(2019), pp. 012053.1-012053.10. ((Intervento presentato al convegno GIREP-MPTL Conference tenutosi a San Sebastian nel 2018 [10.1088/1742-6596/1287/1/012053].

High school students’ epistemological approaches to computer simulations of complex systems

L. Branchetti;
2019

Abstract

The science of complex systems can provide not only scientist, but also professionals, policy-makers and citizens, with thinking resources to interpret and understand most of the modern global challenges. In this field, the widespread use of computational simulations, that are neither theoretical instruments nor laboratory experiments, has been contributing to the widening of the scientific skill gap between experts and citizens. The pilot study we present in this contribution aims at investigating high school students’ approaches towards simulations of complex systems, by searching for the criteria they use to evaluate their explanatory power and the reliability of their results. Preliminary analysis of the paired interviews has shown that (1) rarely students are able to elaborate explanations of the simulated complex phenomena, and (2) their critical attitude and trust towards simulations are strongly affected by their epistemological background. We argue that these findings deserve to be furtherly investigated, to understand in more details the sources of students’ difficulties in recognizing the epistemological and methodological value of simulations for scientific research and practice.
Settore MAT/04 - Matematiche Complementari
Groupe International de Recherche sur l'Enseignement de la Physique (GIREP)
Multimedia in Physics Teaching and Learning (MPTL)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/854305
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