Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Younkyeong Nam


Inquiry learning has become the big thing in science education. Yet many concepts across the sciences pose challenges that have traditionally made them difficult or even impossible for this kind of learning. This project explored the implementation of computer simulations into the science classroom as a way to overcome many of the traditional challenges. While research has revealed both benefits and issues associated with their use, when implemented properly computer simulations were found to have the potential to help students develop deeper conceptual understandings of scientific concepts. Along with exploring the benefits and issues related to computer simulations, a review of the literature also revealed a collection of research-based strategies for their effective implementation. These strategies include scaffolding and real world connections among others. This research was then used to design a collection of five Earth Science units. Each unit is technologically enhanced through the incorporation of a PhET simulation by the University of Colorado and provides students with an opportunity to engage in simulation-based inquiry.

Included in

Education Commons