PAP057 : Primary School Energy Comes Alive with Customized Open Source Simulation

Redesign Pedagogy Conference 2013

Date : 4th June (2nd day)

Time :10.30 a.m.

Venue : NIE7-01-TR701

Presenter : Sze Yee, Loo Kang

Simulations have always been popular among science educators. This is probably because of the huge potential of enabling learner-centred pedagogies such as inquiry learning if the simulations are well designed with engaging activities with the phenomena represented in multiple representations. However, our literature review suggests science simulations are usually designed for post-elementary students. To address the paucity on the elementary school science simulations, we customized and implemented energy simulation in this study. We modified Michael Gallis’s High School Energy Roller Coaster Simulation ( created using the Easy Java Simulations(EJS) authoring toolkit. We released our Singapore Roller Coaster Simulation ( back to the Open Source Physics, as we are strong believers of the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement. Our exploratory case study approach aims to provide useful insights on the design and use of simulations. Examples of design ideas in the modified simulation include explicit numerical and situated display of highest and lowest points, consistent colour scheme for energy relationship, additional inquiry-enabled controls for variables (like starting height). Using Mayer‘s Evidence-Based Principles for Multimedia Design (i.e., coherence, signalling and spatial contiguity), the simulation was customized to reduce the cognitive load and maximize the working memory. As for the lesson implementation, learning activities were also supported by videos (Engage), the customized simulation (Explore) and Google Forms (Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate). A total of thirty-five Primary 4 and 5 students took part in this study over two 2.5 hour sessions. The research was guided by : How did the modified simulation enhance learning about energy? Data from multiple data sources (i.e., simulation, lesson observations, students’ artifacts, survey and focus group discussion) were collected. The simulation was well received by the students (“I like the fact that we can experiment with the stimulation by ourselves.”). With teachers’ facilitation, the students could grasp the energy concepts on their own using the simulation. Most were able to articulate that the maximum kinetic energy occurs at the lowest point and for the object to have maximum kinetic energy, “starting height and velocity had to be very high”.


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