Using Concept Maps

Modeling Systems


Systems Modeling

Team members: Joseph Doan, William Rackley & Lee Watkins

Chapter 5 Modeling Systems
Traditionally educators focused learning on content knowledge and not how to obtain information that becomes knowledge. In this approach a student is expected to retain information that is given and not modeled. Therefore the knowledge stands alone without the structure needed to support the framework of learning. It is this framework that becomes the trigger for memory and learning. Frameworks or systems as the chapter describes them are interrelated and overlap thereby developing true education. Students need to understand the challenging and intricate systems which make up the world and how it operates. Models of systems that effect daily life will provide them with the tools needed to become productive members of society. It is important that as educators we give them the tools needed to construct models of their own and not simply give them the answers as if saying, “Here it is, now go play.” Content Education fosters the idea of simply giving students a world learning. Which like handing your car keys to a child without the benefit of driving lessons.

Modeling Systems with Concept Maps
Learning is like taking a trip around the world, requires planning and many, many steps.

Figure 1 Top of section

Modeling Systems with Systems Modeling Tools
Concept maps can be used to model systems. However, according to Jonassen, concept maps “cannot represent the dynamic nature of interactions” (pg. 50) between the various components of the system. Systems modeling tools such as STELLA allow users to construct dynamic models then test the model by performing simulations. In other word, systems modeling tools gives investigators the ability to add the “what if” factor in their model, thus capturing the dynamic nature of all true systems. Figure 2 illustrates a system model of the path of a projectile and how that

path is influenced by the various components (drag, angle and initial velocity).

Figure 2

The difference in the level of complexity achievable between using a concept map and a system modeling tool can clearly been seen by comparing figure 1 to figure 2. Top of section

Modeling Systems with Spreadsheets

Easy to Use


Effective for illustrating dynamic interactions among co

Figure 2. Spreadsheet: 1. 2. Accounting. A work sheet that is arranged in the manner of a mathematical matrix and contains a multicolumn analysis of related entries for easy reference on a single sheet. Computers. ELECTRONIC SPREADSHEET. spreadsheet. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved January 29, 2010, from website:

Effective for illustrating dynamic interaction among components: One example predicts offspring from monohybrid plants that are homozygous and heterozygous for a dominant trait.

Easy to use: 1. Several different software packages available: MS Excel, Open Office Calc, Spreadsheet Professional 2. Install and go. Versatile: 1. Math models 2. Graphs 3. Charts Top of section Top of document

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