Improving Conceptual Understanding and Representation Skills through Excel-Based Modeling
Journal of Science Education and Technology Volume 27, Number 1, ISSN 1059-0145
The National Research Council framework for science education and the Next Generation Science Standards have developed a need for additional research and development of curricula that is both technologically model-based and includes engineering practices. This is especially the case for biology education. This paper describes a quasi-experimental design study to test the effectiveness of a model-based curriculum focused on the concepts of natural selection and population ecology that makes use of Excel modeling tools (Modeling Instruction in Biology with Excel, MBI-E). The curriculum revolves around the bio-engineering practice of controlling an invasive species. The study takes place in the Midwest within ten high schools teaching a regular-level introductory biology class. A post-test was designed that targeted a number of common misconceptions in both concept areas as well as representational usage. The results of a post-test demonstrate that the MBI-E students significantly outperformed the traditional classes in both natural selection and population ecology concepts, thus overcoming a number of misconceptions. In addition, implementing students made use of more multiple representations as well as demonstrating greater fascination for science.
Malone, K.L., Schunn, C.D. & Schuchardt, A.M. (2018). Improving Conceptual Understanding and Representation Skills through Excel-Based Modeling. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 27(1), 30-44.