Frogs to think with-improving students' computational thinking and understanding of evolution in a code-first learning environment

Yu Guo, Aditi Wagh, Corey Brady, Sharona T. Levy, Michael S. Horn, Uri Wilensky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper presents Frog Pond, an interactive code-first learning environment about biological evolution. We deployed Frog Pond as part of a six-day curricular unit on natural selection implemented in six 7th grade science classes. Here we describe a case study of two students, Charlie and Aaron who participated in the unit. Comparing pre- and post-interviews in which they were asked to design a program for a hypothetical simulation of evolution, we found that both students shifted from an event-based programming approach to a rule-based approach. Both students also drew upon their experience with Frog Pond to explain an evolutionary phenomenon. However, the level of sophistication of the two students' explanations varied along with the aspects of Frog Pond they drew upon. These findings have implications for design improvement to better support students' understanding of evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of IDC 2016 - The 15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages246-254
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450343138
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 21 2016
Event15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2016 - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 21 2016Jun 24 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of IDC 2016 - The 15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children

Other

Other15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2016
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityManchester
Period6/21/166/24/16

Keywords

  • Agent-based modeling
  • Code-first learning environment
  • Computational thinking
  • Evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction

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