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Teaching Science through Computation

Abstract

We present a computational pedagogy approach to teaching an interdisciplinary science course. Modeling and simulation tools allow us to introduce a science topic from a simplistic framework and then move into details after learners gain a level of interest to help them endure the hardships and frustration of deeper learning. More than 90% of students in course surveys state that modeling improved their understanding of science concepts. Students appear to appreciate learning not only the use of simulation tools to design and conduct science experiments, but also basic programming skills to simulate a science experiment using a simple algebraic equation, new = old + change. A strong link is established between computational and natural sciences. Students learn in a simplistic framework how laws of nature act as the source of change.

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