# Simulations for Inquiry Discussion Area

## UNIT 1

### Activity 1: What is Inquiry?

For each of the following, describe whether they represent Inquiry-based learning or directed learning. Share/Discuss with the other participants one or two other examples from your experience that may be inquiry-based or directed learning.

• Students memorize factual information to answer multiple-choice type assessments.
• Students develop a method for determining the rising and setting position of the Sun throughout the year.
• Students write in a journal to express their thoughts on how certain current events related to the natural world affect them.
• Students copy notes from the board and use those notes to answer a set of textbook questions.
• Teacher has students memorize multiplication tables to learn how to multiply
• Students work in small groups and conduct an experiment on stream erosion to determine which size particles are carried by a stream the furthest and fastest.
• Students work in assigned roles of their choosing to record a video of a weather cast.
• Teacher has students work collaboratively to develop a project of their choosing on an important concept to be discussed.
• Students reflect upon and share their own experiences with a group and discuss the possible implications.
• Students learn about the benefits and problems associated with where they live.

### Activity 2: Reflection

Using what you have learned thus far about inquiry-based learning, how could a teacher recreate a real problem about the natural world without actually going outside the classroom to experience? Respond to at least one other participant's post.

## UNIT 2

### Activity 1: An Example of a Simulation - Build Your Own Star

What did you think? Think about what you have just experienced and express a few thoughts.

### Activity #2: Which of the Following is a Simulation?

- Follow the links below and determine whether each is an image, animation, or simulation.

- Discuss with the other participants which of the below examples would allow a student to: test a hypothesis; manipulate variables; analyze a variety of outcomes.

### Activity #3: Group Activity

Working in groups of three, think about the content area you teach in, and determine one example of a natural object, event, or process that would allow students to gain a deeper understanding by using a simulation. For your example, explain how the simulation will give students the ability to test hypotheses, manipulate variables, and analyze results to see how that natural system works. Individually, respond to at least two other groups posting thinking about how the simulation could be used in the classroom.

### Activity #4: Reflection Activity

Think about what you have learned from the information in this unit and the activities you have experienced and post a paragraph or two of how or why simulations could be used in place of natural phenomena as authentic experiences to promote inquiry.

## UNIT 3

### Activity #1: The Nature of Planetary Orbits Simulation

1) what you may have noticed about the planet orbits"

2) What may be some of the questions students may have when given a simulation like this to discover the nature about.

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### Activity #2:The Nature of Planetary Orbits Simulation

1. When using the simulations, think about the what the shape of the planet orbits are, the speed planets travel in their orbits and how long it takes the planets to orbit the Sun. Post a short response to 1) what you may have noticed about the planet orbits given these questions posed.

2. Working in groups of two or three, share your observations and determine three characteristics of planetary motion. Share these conclusions with the rest of the participants. Discuss how working in small groups can/did help in determining the nature of a natural phenomenon

3. Using the conclusions you have drawn, analyze and compare your conclusions to Kepler's Three Laws of Planetary Motion (just note the introduction to the three laws). Discuss how you felt the simulation might have aided your understanding of a natural phenomena.

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### Activity #3: Reflection Activity

Think about what you have learned from the information in this unit and the activities you have experienced and post a paragraph or two of some of the difficulties students may have when using simulations, what types of learning supports can be used to facilitate effective inquiry, and how you may design inquiry-based problems to facilitate effective inquiry using simulations.

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