Sunday, December 2, 2012

Modelling and Simulation In Teaching and Learning


  • To understand how simulation can integrate in teaching and learning
  • To differentiate between the theory and simulation in teaching and learning
  • To understand the concept of the simple nitrogen cycle.
1.0 What is a Model?

Model define as the process of producing a model that are representation of the construction and working of some system of interest. Shannon said model is a representation of an object, a system or an idea in some from other than of the entity itself. There are two types of models such as physical models and mathematical models. The physical model such as the scale models, prototype plants and so on. While the mathematical model are analytical models, linear programs, simulation and so on. The model is used to enable the analyst to predict the effect of changes to the system. Other than that, the model should not to be so complex and it is impossible to understand and experiment with it. A good model is a between realism and simplicity. The important issues in modeling are the model validity. Model validation technique involved the simulation the model under known input condition and the comparing model output with system output.

2.0 What is a Simulation?

Simulation of a system define as the operation of a model of the system. The model can be reconfigured and experimented because it is impossible, too expensive or impractical to do on the system which it portrays. The operation of the model can be studied and from this properties concerning the behavior of the actual system can be inferred. The simulation is used before existing the system is altered and a new system is built. The simulation is used to reduce the chances of failure to meet specifications and to prevent under or over-utilization of resources. The simulation also used to optimize system performance. The simulation designed to replicate a real-life situation. The students will assume the roles as they analyze data, make decisions and solve the problems inherent in the real situation. As the simulations is proceeds, the students respond to changes within the situation by studying the consequences of their decisions and predicting future problems.

          The simulation will include the time for reflection and processing that will allow the students to share their experiences, asses their learning and evaluate their assessments against the intended outcomes of the simulations. Another, the simulation accomplishing the objectives of the simulation activity, students often become interested in the real world system on which it is based and what makes it work the way it does. There are two types of simulation models such as static simulation model and dynamic simulation model. A static simulation model is a representation of a system at a particular point in time. The static simulation model usually refer as a Monte Carlo Simulation. In Monte Carlo Simulation used  to consider numerically determining the value of π and involve the imagine throwing dart at square. It also can repeated as many times as needed to get arbitrary precision. While a dynamic simulation model is a representation of a system as it evolves over time. However, within these two classifications, a simulation may be deterministic or stochastic. A deterministic simulation model is one that contains no random variables and stochastic simulation model contains one or more variables.

There are three types of the simulations such live simulations, virtual simulations and constructive simulations. The live simulation are involved human or equipment and activity in setting where they would operate for real. The example of the live simulations are the testing a car battery using an electrical tester. The virtual simulations involved human and equipment in a computer-controlled setting. Time is discrete steps and allow users to concentrate on the important stuff to speak. The flight simulator are the example of this simulations. The constructive simulations not involve human or equipment as participants. Rather than by time, they are driven more by the proper sequencing of events. The science-based simulations are the example of the constructive simulations in nature.

3.0 Steps In Simulation and Model Building

There are steps in simulation and model building such as define an achievable goal and put together a complete mix of skills on the team. The simulation and model building also involve the end-user. A students must choose the appropriate simulation tools and model must appropriate level of details and it must start early to collect necessary input data. The simulation and model building also provide adequate and on-going documentation and also develop  a pelan for adequate model verification, a pelan for model validation and a pelan for statistical output analysis. The define of achievable goal are the goal selection is not cast in concrete and goal can change with increasing insight. The step put together a complete mix of skills on the team are the knowledge of the system must under investigation and the students must know about model formulation and model Programming. Students also must know about data collection skills and statistical skills that involves the input data representations and the output data analysis. Then, students must knows how to design of experiment and managements skills involved. In the way to choose the appropriate simulations tools, there are three alternatives exist such as build model in a general purpose language, general simulation language and use a special purpose simulation package.

        Next, the modeling with general purpose language and it also has advantage and disadvantage. The advantage are the little or no additional software cost and no additional training involve while the disadvantage are every model start from scratch, very little reusable code and difficult verification phase involve. Besides, there are modeling with general simulation language. The advantage are standardized features often needed in modeling and shorter development cycle for each model. It also much assistance in model verification and it very readable code. While the disadvantage are higher software cost is used and the additional training are required and it also limited portability.

            The example of the general purpose simulation language are GPSS, SIMSCRIPT II.5, MODSIM III, SIMULA, SLAM and CSIM. GPSS are block-structured language and interpretive execution. The word view of GPSS are transaction or facilities. SIMSCRIPT II.5 are English-like problem description language and complete language. The word view of SIMSCRIPST II.5 are processes, resources and continuous. MODSIM III are modern object-oriented language and it is modularity compiled programs. SIMULA define as the compiled program and it word view are in processes. SLAM are the block structured language and interpretive execution. While CSIM are the process-oriented language and it is C-based.

4.0 Why Use Modelling and Simulation in Teaching and Learning?

There are many reason to use simulation in the classroom. The first reason are the simulation is important to promote concept attainment through experiential practice. Simulations are good in helping students understand the concept or circumstance. The students are deep learning when use simulations than other activities. The deep learning are empowers understanding because it  not opposed to surface learning, that requires only memorization but it involved the good understanding.  The deep learning are the important of model building. The deep learning means the students knows the relationships among variable in a model or models. Simulations allows students to change the value of parameter and see what variable are important and the effects in variable when they change in parameters. The simulation is similar with science laboratory class because the process itself will educates the students to learns more in this simulation activity. The students can learns scientific method such as the importance of model building and they know that the experiments or simulations is a scientific do the work.

Instructional simulations have proven their worth many times over in the statistics based fields. The deep learning are the ability to match simulation results with an analytically derived conclusion is especially valuable in beginning classes, where students often struggle with sampling theory. The data issues, sampling theory and the probability is involved in learn scientific methods. The simulations helps students understand probability and sampling theory. The stimulations help students learn to reflect on and extend knowledge by actively engaging in students-student or instructor-students conversations. Instructional simulations by their very nature cannot be passive learning. The students also can transfer knowledge to new problems and situations and the students also understanding and refining their own thought processes. The advantages of simulations are the activity become enjoyable, motivating activity and the simulations also promotes the critical thinking of students. The disadvantage of simulation are the preparations time and the costs of the activity and the assessment is more complex than some traditional teaching methods.

Simulations are useful teaching strategy for illustrating a complex and changing situation. In the simulation strategy, the students are involved in this activity and it trigger students to enjoy themselves in this simulation strategy. Simulation will help teacher to teach in class better and it is less complex than the situations they should represents. The teaching with data simulations provides students opportunities to simulate data in order to answer a particular research question or to solve a problem. There are a few way to use simulation such as physical simulation of a process. In this physical simulation, the repeated sample is used to stimulate a sampling distribution. Next, the simulating a game or situation to estimate the chance of certain and better outcome. This is a good way to find good strategy.

Besides, using the probability models to simulate data that to estimate the chance of particular outcome, maybe more interesting outcome. We also can stimulate data while varying parameters to illustrate a concept or deepen students understanding of the process of the learning in classroom. The students confidence and the level understanding is observed. Other than that, simulation are use to generate data under a certain theory to test the understanding of students in certain subjects in classroom. Students are doing a simulation when they use a model behavior to gain a better understanding of that behavior. For example, when students create a electric circuit with an online program, they are learning about physics theory by simulating an actual physical set-up. The simulations may conducted with computers, pencils and paper or physical models of some natural phenomenon.

5.0 When to Use Simulation and Modeling In Teaching and Learning?

Simulation is used in teaching and learning method can considered whenever the curricular material can be learner or student learning of material can be evaluated when their participation in real world situation in which their choice of actions determines the outcome of the situations.  The teaching with simulation require the time commitment and carefully organizational scheme for the teacher. The teacher need to designing or adapting the simulations to fit the unique needs a group of students, teaching content and skill necessary to participate in the simulation. Teacher also must observing students interactions, monitoring and adjusting the simulation as  assessing students learning, evaluating the simulations as learn5ing experience and presenting the learning activity with a great excitement. Teacher must allow time throughout the simulation for discussion. This is because the teacher much do the work to the simulation being run, teacher time during the simulation ia available for observation and coaching which are excellent ways to success of the students learning.

            Besides, students learn best by doing and forming concepts through experience. With the simulations, the students can create system with which students can interact and explore to gain the understanding of that system. If the students do not understand points, they can try experimenting with the system and observes the result. The simulation provide explore that students can explore domains that would otherwise be too time-consuming, expensive or dangerous. Then, students also can focus, which they facilitate the removal of complexity and detail from the model and focusing only on the aspects of the models that are most relevant to the learning. The visualization are they make it easier to visualize dynamic or complex parameter involved. The motivation, students motivate by providing context, encourage active involvement and arouse interest. Lastly, the control and practice. The control can make students control timing and detail, they can explore experiment, hypothesize and test the experiment with simulations. The practice are make students do misconceptions and it also allow  students to learn from their mistakes.

6.0 Application in Model and Simulation

There are application in model and simulation such as
  • Designing and analyzing manufacturing system
  • Evaluating H/W and S/W requirements for a computer system
  • Evaluating a new military weapon systems or tactics.
  • Determining ordering policies for an inventory system
  • Designing communications systems and message protocols for them.
  • Designing and operating transportation facilities such as freeways, airports, subways or pots.
  • Evaluating designs for service organizations such as hospitals, post office or fast-food restaurants
  • Analyzing financial or economic systems.
7.0 Design Constructivist lesson that integrates Modelling and Simulation.

The design constructivist lesson that integrate are modeling and simulations are STELLA software. The STELLA software are offer a practical way to dynamically visualize and communicate how complex systems and ideas really. The STELLA software are consists of constructing  mental models and simulating the model in order to draw the conclusions and make decisions. The next to use model STELLA are students need to search in Google and click  create account. Then, students need to fill the details and email address and click sign in.  After sign in, students can downloads for window , STELLA trial for 30 days. Then, students need to choose sample model from the STELLA Trial and the sample can use. The experiments of the simple nitrogen cycle model and simulation control panel has choose in this experiment and the experiment is repeated because the parameter is adjusted. The students need to adjusted the parameter to get the different result of the simple nitrogen cycle experiment that use simulation techniques.

The STELLA software has the model building process that is facilitated by using structural diagrams which give a visual insight into the elements of the model and their logical links. Once the models of a particular process are constructed and all the elements defined and choose correctly then the operation of the process can be simulated by running the model and the results produced will tested again to get the correct and reality once.  The parameter of the simulation control panel can adjusted, re-run and tested again. This will provides an interactive process for model development and improved the simulation. The package of course allow for the monitoring and output of the numerical values of the selected parameter but it also has a powerful graphical facility which allow the changes of any parameter over time to be plotted and plots of any variable against another.

 The STELLA software can help students to better understanding of this experiment and students will get more knowledge from this experiments. Students can also know the parameter of this experiment and the result if the parameter is change. In this experiment, teacher will explain the reason of use this software and the result of used this software. Teacher also will help students to trigger themselves to conduct this experiment in repeated. Teacher also explain about simulation and the relationship of the experiment with the simulation software. Besides, in this experiment, teacher will give example and students will follow the next experiment that involved the simulation.

8.0 The Simple Nitrogen Cycle

The nitrogen is the most abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere. All living things need nitrogen to build proteins and other important body chemicals. The nitrogen cycle is the main reservoir is the atmosphere, which is about 80 percentage of nitrogen. The Simple Nitrogen Cycle occur when nitrogen cannot be absorbed directly by the plants and animals until it is converted into the compounds that they can use. The triple covalent bonds hold two atoms of nitrogen gas together (N2). Plants cannot use gaseous nitrogen because they cannot breaks these bonds. The certain types of bacteria are able to use the free nitrogen in the air to make nitrogen compounds through a process called nitrogen fixation. The bacteria breaks the bonds in N2 and use the nitrogen atoms to form ammonium. The nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria live in aquatic habitats, soils and as components of lichens. The another group of nitrogen fixing bacteria that live and grows inside structure on the roots are the nodules on the roots of pea and other legumes, which include beans, clover, peanuts and peas.

            Then plant take up ammonium from soil and plant use it In the metabolic reactions. The consumes get the nitrogen after they eating plants that contains nitrogen or the eat one other. The bacterial and fungal decomposer that and break down wastes and remains return ammonium to the soil. The process that involves to converts nitrates from ammonium are the nitrification. This process involved two steps such as the first step are ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaeans convert ammonium to nitrite. The second step are the bacteria convert nitrites to nitrates. The nitrates are taken up and used by producers. The next process are denitrification process, this occur when the denitrifying bacteria that use nitrate for energy produce nitrogen gas that escapes into the atmosphere.

The Nitrogen Cycle

9.0 The Graph of the Science Lesson that Using Modelling and Simulation

The graph of the nitrogen cycle that use the simulation control panel are used to help the students to get the deep learning  in the nitrogen cycle experiment. A well done simulations is constructed to include an extension to a new problem or new set of parameters that requires students to extend what they have learned in an earlier context.  The graph of the simulation will shows the parameter involves in the experiment such as in the nitrogen cycle, the parameter are humification fraction, mineralization fraction, nitrogen per unit biomass and fraction productivity. Students need to explore this types of simulation and the get the experiences through this simulations. The analysis results of the simulations will happen. The analysis of results are the process of analyzing the simulation outputs to draw inferences and make recommendation for problem resolution.

Graph 1 : Normal Graph

From the graph 1, the relationship on the humification fraction, mineralization fraction, nitrogen per unit biomass and the fixation productivity is effect for the distribution of simple nitrogen cycle in the system. This is a normal graph and it act as the control for other graph.  Based on the graph, teacher will explain the parameter involved in this experiment. Teacher also try to conduct the experiment that act as the example of the simulation occur in this experiment. The teacher also must provide sufficient time for students to reflect on and discuss what they learned from the graph and the simulation.

Teacher will help the students and teacher ask the students about the simulation that occur can make they understand about the nitrogen cycle. This graph is important to show the different that occur when we change the parameter of variable that involve in this experiment. The different parameter effect the graph but there are variable do not give effect if we change it parameter.  That parameter are act as the constant variable in the experiment using simulations. This graph act as control in this simple nitrogen cycle model using the simulation control panel. Besides, this graph will help students to better understanding of the simple nitrogen cycle. From the normal graph, the normal value for the humification fraction are 0.2500 and for mineralization fraction are 0.0500. The nitrogen per unit biomass are 0.1000 and the normal for fixation productivity are 0.00001. The graph above show the result are constant for all parameter.

The next graph, teacher change the parameter and the result of the graph also change. The parameter that change in the graph 2 are the humification fraction. This is mean the effect of the change in humification fraction in nitrogen cycle. If the parameter of the humification fraction is increase, the nitrogen in humus also increase and the nitrogen cycle is increase. The bacteria breaks the bonds in N2 and use the nitrogen atoms to form ammonium. The humification fraction is increase from 0.2500 to 0.3500. Teacher change the graph of the parameter because to trigger students about the factor of huminification fraction on the nitrogen on human in the nitrogen cycle. The change of mineralization fraction also change if the huminification fraction is changed. The decrease of nitrogen in organic matter because the bacteria breaks the nitrogen to form the ammonium. The nitrogen in biomass and the available nitrogen is constant and no change if the huminification fraction change. The mineralization fraction is act as the limiting factor because the result show it is decrease if the huminification fraction is increase. The nitrogen per unit biomass and fixation productivity is constant variable in graph 2.

Graph 2 : The effect on humification on Nitrogen Cycle

From the graph 2, we can observe the relationship of humification fraction effect on the distribution of the simple nitrogen cycle on the system. The graph show that humanification is increase for the early cycle and then it is constant while the nitrogen in organic cycle decrease early cycle and it is constant. The process of humification can occur naturally in soil or in the production of compost. The important of chemically stable humus is thought by some to be fertility it that provides to soils in both a physical and chemical sense through some agricultural experts put a greater focus on other features of it such as its ability to suppress disease.

The humification process helps soil to retain moisture by increase microposity and it also encourages the formation of good soil structure. Humus allows soil that contain organisms to feed and reproduce and it often described as the life force of the soil. The humus is a highly complex substances and it is decomposing organic matter in that the soil. Teacher must explain the why the result is change and why the simulation give the better explanation about the nitrogen cycle. The simulation also give the motivation to students to explore more about this nitrogen cycle and the other factor effect on this nitrogen cycle.

Graph 3 : The effect of the Mineralization Fraction On Nitrogen Cycle

            From the graph 3, the mineralization fraction is change and the result of the experiment also changed. Teacher run this graph to observed the change of the mineralization fraction because the nitrogen in organic matter also change and it is increase. Teacher explain the result of the graph and teacher also discuss about the huminification fraction that also change in this experiment. The mineralization is change from 0.1000 to 0.1500. The nitrogen in humus is decrease and the nitrogen in organic matter is increase. The bacterial and fungal decomposer that and break down wastes and remains return ammonium to the soil. The process that involves to converts nitrates from ammonium are the nitrification. This process involved two steps such as the first step are ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaeans convert ammonium to nitrite. The second step are the bacteria convert nitrites to nitrates.

            After teacher explain about this graph, teacher try again and increase the mineralization fraction to the higher value and the result are observed. Teacher used this way because teacher want students to observed the humification fraction, nitrogen in humus and the nitrogen in organic matter.  The humification fraction is act as the limiting factor in graph 3. From the graph 3, the students know more details the relationship of humanification fraction and the mineralization fraction. The teacher will explain the relationship between graph 2 and the graph 3. Students will get better understanding about the nitrogen cycle.

Graph 4 : The effect of the nitrogen per unit biomass and fixation productivity.

From the graph 4, teacher run the next graph to observed the effect of the nitrogen per unit biomass and the fixation productivity on the nitrogen cycle. Teacher explain what is the nitrogen per unit biomass and teacher also explain about what is the fixation productivity. The graph show that the nitrogen per unit biomass does not effect the nitrogen in humus and the nitrogen in organic matter. This is because the nitrogen per unit biomaas is the result of the both either the nitrogen in humus or the nitrogen in organic matter. The fixation productivity also same with the nitrogen per unit biomass. The  factor that effect on the nitrogen cycle are the humification fraction and the mineralization fraction.

             Teacher discuss the result with students and ask students to try do the experiments twice because students may confuse about the result of the graph. This simulation helps students to get better experience and improve their knowledge. Students must discuss with each other why the graph is not change with the normal graph. Students also can explore the sample, for example the nitrogen cycle. This will trigger students to deep learning of the fixation productivity factor and the nitrogen per unit biomass factor. The students will ask for teacher about the graph and the teacher must explain clearly about the reasons of the graph.

10.0 Conclusion

The modeling and the simulation is easy way to do the experiment. This is because it is not waste the time but it is safe the time. The modeling and simulation are used to give the clear explanations for students to better understanding about the subject either in biology, physics, mathematic and chemistry. The nitrogen cycle simulation control panel are the constructive simulation because it not involved human and equipment but it must construct with the STELLA software, that must be download first. The STELLA software are design to help students better understanding of the experiment. The STELLA software ia s simple software and it is easy to use. Students must use this software because it is free for 30 day. The experiment with Stella software  are save and it contain the experiment of biology subject, physics subject, chemistry subject and mathematic subject.

            Teacher must show this software to all their students because it will help a students. The STELLA software contain the modelling and the simulation of the experiment. The simulation that use are involved the factor of parameter. The parameter of the experiment are depend on the types of the experiment. If the parameter is change, the result will change. The software can monitor students to get the knowledge and the experiments can repeated. The software are interesting to use. The STELLA software are suitable used in this modelling and simulation because it is easy to explore and retest for the experiment. The effect of modeling and simulation either increase to use it. During the simulations students perform tasks enable them to learn or have their learning evaluated. Besides, the students can participate in the simplified system and learn how the real system operates without spending the days, weeks or years, it would take to undergo this experience in the real world.

            Other than that, the periodic simulation provide the opportunity for students to collect their individual experiences, discuss the general ideas that contain in the simulation and the relate these ideas to the real world situation. It is important modeling and simulation in students experience because the simulations helps students get the new experience when they conduct the experiment with simulation, the parameter involved, the result and the explanations from teachers is the guide during the experiment with simulation.

Anu Maria (1997). Introduction to Modelling and Simulation. University of New York: NewYork. Taken at November 21, 2012 from
Beth Chance & Allan Rossman (2006). Using Simulation To Teach and Learn Statistics.Californis Polytechnic State University: United State. Taken at November 23, 2012 from
Jane Dunkel Chilcott (1996). Effective Use Of Simulation In The Classroom taken at November 30, 2012 from
Danielle Dupuis & Joan Garfield (2012). Teaching With Data Simulation taken on December 1,2012 taken from
Teaching Method Simulation taken at November 27, 2012 taken from
STELLA software taken at November 25, 2012 taken from
Why Should I Use Simulations taken at November 25, 2012 taken from
Institute for Simulation & Training taken at November 23, 2012 taken from

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