Implementing inquiry based computational modeling curriculum in the secondary science classroom
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Better visualization of micro-level structures and processes can greatly enhance student understanding of key biological functions such as the central dogma. Previous research has demonstrated a need of introducing novel methods to increase student understanding of these concepts. The intention of this report is to show how computational modeling programs (CMPs) can be successfully used as an innovative method of teaching biology concepts that occur at a molecular level. The use of computers and web-based lessons are not new topics in secondary education studies but there is not an abundance of research related to computational modeling alone. We began by researching the many studies that have already indicated the benefits of using computers in the classroom with an emphasis on CMPs and simulations. Of these, we focused mostly on the ones that showed increased student engagement and influenced understanding of core science concepts. Based on the literature reviewed, a framework for curriculum designed around CMPs is proposed. Lastly, a model lesson is discussed to provide an example of how these professional grade tools can be employed in the classroom. This report provides a basis for the continued development of constructivist curriculum built around the use of professional grade computational tools in secondary science classrooms.