Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thomas Plaxco Epistemic Game Post

In a very general sense, given how broad models can be, I think most of these epistemic games can be applied to something, and by extension, useful in an ADI activity (at least to some extent).  With that being said, I think some forms of epistemic games may be somewhat more useful to me in a personal form; as the article stated, certain epistemic games are used most commonly in certain academic contexts such as the prevalence of problem-centered analysis in the field of history.  In that sense, the kind of epistemic games available to us as educators I think is limited by our imagination and bu subject matter. 
In a more personal sense, since I am focused on the field of chemistry, I think there are certainly more useful forms of epistemic games regarding ADI activities I might incorporate into the classroom.  In particular, I focused on the overall "field" of process analysis.  Aggregate-behavior analysis was a particularly interesting subset, as it happened to reflect my planned final project.  Another epistemic game I found interesting was trend analysis, and an example of the practical application of each can be found below.

Aggregate-Behavior Analysis
The behavior of reactions is commonly taught in an abstract sense; reactants interact to form products.  Such explanations are frequently accompanied by discussions of equilibrium, temperature, kinetic energy, activation energy, and so on, but these are treated as macroscopic properties.  The task of a potential ADI project then, is to investigate how these variables influence behavior on an individual particle level, and then to extend that to the behavior of the system.  Outside of a greater understanding of reactions, an implicit educational goal of this project is for students to realize that the behavior of a system is nothing more than a compilation of its individual pieces; oftentimes, particles are on such a small scale that students do not think of particles as individuals.

Students would be provided with guided research provided by the teacher that discusses the role various factors may play in reaction dynamics (ex.- a paper on collision theory).  This research should provide explanations on both a macro and microscopic level.  Students should then begin to think about the logistics of how an individual particles may create the aggregate behavior observed by chemists (for example, the temperature of a sample of a gas).

Trend Analysis
In a somewhat similar vein to the above example, I think it is important for students to understand that chemical rules, and indeed, most scientific "laws" are trends that have been very consistently observed.  An ADI using this could be applied in almost any chemical concept, as trends themselves form the foundation for most of our instruction in chemistry.  For simplicity's sake, we can apply this concept of trend analysis to the ADI above, albeit somewhat modified.  In this ADI, the objective of the student is to determine salient factors in the initiation, propagation, and speed of a reaction.

Students would be provided with experimental data (as accurate measuring equipment can be troublesome to obtain sometimes) of industrial reactions.  The job of the student would then be to incorporate the data given into their own theory of how reactions function, with a focus on graph creation/analysis.  Students would identify present trends in reaction dynamics as a method to "prove" what variables influence reactions and how.

1 comment:

  1. The trend analysis is a great idea because students can also predict outcomes through the analysis of trends.