Learning that encourages students to create their own simulations is the most beneficial type of learning in terms of the impact it has on the student. On the other hand, simulations can get very complex and difficult to create when the student population is too young to understand the concepts or to use complex programming techniques. A teacher’s intervention is important in directing students to simulation projects they can understand and posses the knowledge to create. The Moonphase simulation is easy and clear and can be done easily by the fourth and fifth grade GATE students. The Ants simulation needs to be addressed to older students or presented as an interesting phenomenon for young students to follow and serve as an inspiration for taking on similar projects that they can handle. As the user follows the
Ants simulation for a while, it soon becomes evident that the simulation defaults. As it turns out, Logo cannot handle too many parallel processes for a long time. A better application, that can handle complex modeling processes with unlimited objects running at the same time, is StarLogo. Using StarLogo would also make the phenomenom much more life-like because a big number of ants are involved in real life.
This experience demonstrates how important it is to fit the level of simulations to the level a student can handle. At the same time, limiting the scope of simulations, poses the danger that students will not be able to spread their wings when they feel ready to take the next step. I think that students can be good judges as to what they can or cannot handle on their own and when they are ready to keep going. Therefore, I intend to keep offering a wide range of simulation models in various levels of difficulty, even if all the complex projects accomplish, is to become sources of inspiration. I will also try using StarLogo, which does an excellent job in bringing the complex world of computer modeling to the young student. As I improve my skills in StarLogo, I will recreate the Ants Optimization simulation with StarLogo.