SC2000 offers high school teachers an opportunity to learn computer modeling and simulation, and their application to science and mathematics curricula. After the conference the selected teachers will receive ongoing support from SC2000 staff and continue their training at regional forums. At SC2001 the teachers will share their experiences with a new group of teachers and will be expected to be leaders in their school systems and region for a wider adoption of modeling and simulation by classroom teachers.
Teams of participating teachers were selected in July 2000. Teachers local to the Dallas area and other teachers who don’t need accommodations or travel support are also welcome to attend on a space available basis (advance registration is required; send email firstname.lastname@example.org). SC2000 Technical Program Registrants are welcome to attend the Education Program, although participation in the hands-on sessions and individual team meetings will be limited to the pre-selected teacher teams. No pre-registration in the Education Program is needed for SC2000 Technical Program Registrants to attend the Education Program sessions.
During each of the Modeling Sessions (Modeling Part 1, 2, and 3) participants will be divided into smaller groups with each group rotating through the featured modeling tools: Stella, Microsoft Excel, and Mathematica. During these sessions, participants will receive the tool and will build several models using that tool.
Stella is software for model building and simulation. “Students use the software to render, then test, their mental models of everything from how a bowl of soup cools to how a galaxy expands.” (High Performance Systems, www.hps-inc.com/edu/stella/stella.htm)
Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet software application. With the aid of Excel’s library of functions and data manipulation tools, many kinds of mathematical models can be constructed. A featured example of a scientific model using Excel will be the Bowfin project, which demonstrates physics principles of submarines.
Mathematica is a sophisticated mathematical modeling and visualization software application. “It is famous for its high-quality, three-dimensional graphics, its ability to handle arbitrary-precision arithmetic, [and] its symbolic-processing abilities.” (Ian Sammis, MacAddict; December 1, 1999).
Next year the SC2001 Education Program will again offer high school teachers an opportunity to participate in the National Computational Science Leadership Program. The program will focus on developing a core group of teachers who are prepared to utilize computational science to enhance science and math education and to share this knowledge and expertise with other teachers. Twenty-five teams of four teachers will be selected to attend SC2001 in Denver, Colorado and a two-week summer workshop. Teacher teams will develop learning modules that will become a permanent part of the national online computational science resource repository.