Modellus: Interactive computational modelling to improve teaching of physics in the geosciences

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Many aspects of modern research and other professional activities in the geosciences require advanced knowledge about mathematical physics models and scientific computation methods and tools. In-depth meaningful learning of such knowledge skills is a difficult cognitive process which involves developing strong background knowledge of physics, mathematics and scientific computation appropriately contextualised in the geosciences themes. In this paper we describe an interactive engagement teaching approach that is based on Modellus, a freely available computer software system allowing(1) mathematical modelling ranging from explorative to expressive modelling,(2)the introduction of scientific computation without requiring the development of a working knowledge o fprogramming and (3) the simultaneous manipulation and analysis of several different model representations, namely, tables, graphs and animations with interactive objects having properties defined in a visible and modifiable mathematical model.As examples of application, with insights for the development of other activities in a wide range of geosciences courses, we discuss a set of interactive computational modelling activities for introductory meteorology we have implemented in undergraduate university courses.

Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)119-126
Issue numberNA
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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