CS Ed Week Tech-Jam 2015: Epidemiology Activity

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Tech-Jam 2015: Epidemiology Simulation

If you have any questions please contact Prof. Ashok Basawapatna, SUNY Old Westbury basawapatnaa@oldwestbury.edu

Furthermore, if you are in the NYC/Long Island area I would love to support you in person

Links To Zip File Containing the 2015 Scalable Game Design CS Ed Week Activity Kit and Sample Finished Version of Activity

SGD CS ED WEEK 2015 Tech-Jam Activity Kit: Epidemiology simulation

This kit includes the following documents to use/modify for your purposes:

  • Teacher/Leader Guide To The Activities
  • A Pre-Programming Unplugged Activity
  • A Step-By-Step Walkthrough of the AgentCubes Epidemiology Simulation Creation Activity
  • A Sample Advertisement To Publicize The Tech-Jam Event

Click here to play a sample finished version of the Tech-Jam simulation!

Epidemiology Screenshot ACO.png

Brief Description

This activity attempts to go deeper than traditional Hour of Code exercises by introducing the idea of gaining real-world insight through the use of computer modeling. Students use the online 3D tool AgentCubes, which runs on any WebGL enabled browser (i.e. Chrome) with an Internet connection, to create an epidemiology simulation. Along the way students create 3D characters, populate a 3D world, express ideas computationally by programming behavior rules, plot results and vary parameters to see how it effects the simulation. This activity takes about a week of class-time (assuming 50 minute classes with time to get settled etc. ~30 minutes of actual work) and can bridge disciplines outside of CS. For example, in the past this activity has been used as the centerpiece for Life Science class units and Math class units on probability. The activity can also easily be pared down at the teacher’s discretion to best fit the needs of students. There are two activities involved in this Tech-Jam: An Introduction CS Unplugged Activity and the main Simulation Programming Activity.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Get hands on experience with how technology enhances human knowledge through modeling
  • Learn the basics of expressing real-world concepts computationally using a 3D video game environment
  • Get experience creating and changing parameters and running experiments on an artifact they created to better understand how parameters might effect the simulation and how certain parameter values might lead to unforeseen results
  • Be introduced to CS concepts like If/Then conditionality, Functions and variables.
  • Be exposed to probabilities in an applied context.
  • Learn how to think critically about models and the validity of underlying assumptions made

Target Student Populations

Though it is possible to do this with students who have no prior programming experience, students who will benefit the most are ones who have done other programming activities such as the Hour of Code activities. The age-range for this activity is sixth grade to college (for younger/less experienced students it is recommended that the teacher maybe pare down the activity).