Teaching the Greenhouse Effect with Inquiry-Based Computer Simulations: A WISE Case Study

Edward Cohen (Piscatway Township Schools, USA) and Timothy D. Zimmerman (Rutgers University, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 580
EISBN13: 9781466617353|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0068-3.ch020
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This case study focuses on how students use a greenhouse effect simulation. The simulation is embedded within an inquiry-based technology-mediated science curriculum known as the Web-Based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE). For this research, students from a suburban, diverse, middle school setting were asked to use the simulation as part of a week-long class lesson on global warming and climate change. Using a combination of student interviews, focus groups, and students’ conversations while they used the simulation, the authors present evidence of shifts in student motivation, understanding of science content, and ideas about the nature of science, all connected to the use of the simulation. From this data, the authors derived ways that teachers can help students develop deeper understandings of climate science topics through educational technology. Examples of these pedagogical approaches included allowing students to conduct “extreme testing” and increasing the time for free exploration of the simulation.
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