Tamar Fuhrmann, Shima Salehi, and Paulo Blikstein. 2013. Meta-modeling
knowledge: Comparing model construction and model interaction in bifocal
modeling. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on
Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’13). ACM, New York, NY, USA.
In this paper we will examine students’ meta-modeling knowledge in the context of their participation in a Bifocal Modeling activity. Bifocal Modeling is an inquiry-based approach for science learning, which incorporates both physical experimentation and virtual modeling. The current study combines three separate case studies of students participating in different implementation modes of the Bifocal Modeling process. Different implementation methods require different modeling practices, and we will examine the consequences of these practices for students’ meta-modeling knowledge. The concern of our investigation will be the ways that students critically evaluate scientific models and their understanding of the limitations of those models. Data suggest that model construction (as opposed to simple interaction) lead to deeper meta-modeling knowledge.