Guide to Creating Models and Utilizing the Collection of Models with Students

Creating Models:

Modeling is a creative process; students should be encouraged to use them in an exploratory fashion; there is no one right way to model a system. Models are representations. It is not desirable to use all the elements of the system, but the point is to be deliberate about choosing the key elements. To reduce some of the logistical struggles that go along with modeling, students will need practice making conceptual models. Once students are more familiar with them, student generated models can become a vehicle for teachers to use to understand students' thinking. The first models students make will be more illustrations of book knowledge. Over time students should be encouraged to create models based upon their own observations


Collection of Models (Teaching Resources):

Modeling can be used to understand ecosystem functioning; it provides a visualization of the ways species are influenced by each other and by abiotic conditions. Appropriate conceptual models can be used to illustrate otherwise incomprehensible ideas about ecosystems; such as, how some actions in ecosystems result in otherwise unexpected consequences. They can illustrate multiple factors of interaction, feedback, subsystems and inputs and outputs, which can help learners understand ecosystem functioning. Modeling is useful as a means of conveying complex, dynamic interactions.