All of the models discussed in the VanLehn paper would be
useful for modeling zika virus. Depending on what I want the students to learn
from the modeling experience changes which model would be the most beneficial.
If I wanted the students to understand transmission dynamics I would have them
build a model employing agent-based modeling. This would allow the students to
grasp how diseases spread over time and through developing the model they would
learn all the factors related to disease transmission. Developing a working
model themselves would be significantly better than giving the students a model
to alter. Once models were developed, each student could also present their
model and students could benefit from seeing other ways to answer the same
question. If I wanted students to understand cause/effect relationships, they
could use the system dynamics model. The way this is explained in the text is a
lot more math focused than I think would be useful for most students
(especially in a middle school classroom). Diagraming the relationship between
factors related to disease spread could definitely be beneficial, however, and
would promote independent thought and concept mapping. I think the time spent
teaching how to develop a model in this way is incredibly beneficial for
students in the future and will promote students ability to connect concepts.

I agree that developing a working model of Zika would be more beneficial to students than playing with an existing model. While the latter can give students a better idea of how the spread of the virus works,it would not promote critical thought about the model itself. The former activity would highlight the fact that models have affordances and constraints and would force students to explicitly state their assumptions about the nature of the spread of the virus.

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