Children and students have a great deal of experience with patterns of behavior and control, such as balancing, randomness, tipping point, pumping (as pumping a swing), resonance (singing in a shower), and so on. This project seeks to examine intuitive knowledge in this area, its nature, and issues such as the level of abstraction at which people conceptualize patterns. Then, we seek to build instructional sequences and materials (including computer-based materials) in a "natural" and effective approach to the formal subject of dynamical systems theory. Research is being conducted with mid-elementary school children, up through high school.
The principal investigators are Andrea diSessa. Funding is from the Spencer Foundation.