Students are frequently exposed to simulations (particularly the computer-based type) of science concepts relatively passively and without direct instruction from the teacher with the hopes that simply observing and interacting with the simulations will result in learning of the target concept.  This study adds a socio-physical aspect to the use of simulations as a teaching medium by having K-12 students take on active roles of key elements of natural systems in order to cooperatively act out or kinesthetically simulate particular scientific phenomena.  We refer to these kinesthetic simulations as Kinulations and our team has developed a collection of 30 of these movement-based, human-sized modelling activities for a variety of grade levels and science concepts.  While having students participate in these kinds of active simulations is not a new instructional strategy, our interest lies in exploring the ways teachers can support  students’ engagement in the modeling of and reasoning about abstract scientific concepts during these simulations, as opposed to simply following teachers’ directions.  Our research has identified specific discussion-based strategies referred to as Cognitive Model Construction strategies that can be employed during these kinesthetic simulations to foster students’ construction and refinement of explanatory scientific models.










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