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Computational Modeling withVPython

Geoff Schmit Naperville North High School

Friday, 1 March 2013

What is Computational Modeling?

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WolframAlpha

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Molecular Models

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Examples from Fermilab


Monte Carlo simulations to predict
Milky Way simulations interferometer frequency of decay products from other particles when looking for Higgs

dark matter distribution throughout the design and tuning of 40-m long
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High-Altitude Balloon Path

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Finite Element Analysis

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Politics

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Black Box Trading (Algo Trading)

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Rapunzels Hair

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More Than Programming


computational thinking is knowing when and how to use a computer to solve a problem mapping from the problem space to the
solutions space by creating an algorithm

programming is just one part


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More Than Running Simulations


not sufcient to develop computational
thinking

students need to modify, extend, and

create their own computational models

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Why Teach Computational Modeling?

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Increase Understanding
multiple representations of concepts verbal, mathematical, graphical,
the future and explaining the past

diagrammatical, and computational

reinforce key idea of models predicting encourages exploration (what if?)


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Authenticity

enable students to explore more

complex problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of their current course

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Next Generation Science Standards


Science and Engineering Practices Analyzing and Interpreting Data Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking Developing and Using Models refer to computational thinking and
students using and creating computational models and simulations

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1-dMotionSimulation.py

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Resources
Georgia Tech PER Group https://per.gatech.edu/wiki/doku.php?
id=projects:hscomp:physutil

my GitHub https://github.com/gcschmit/vpython-physics John Burks blog https://quantumprogress.wordpress.com/


computational-modeling/

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Papers
Integrating Numerical Computation into
the Modeling Instruction Curriculum Caballero, Burk, et al. http://arxiv.org/abs/1207.0844

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