Chemistry simulations and embodied cognition: Exploring design, model generation, and collaboration

Phillip Jeffrey, Samia Khan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The GEM cycle is a teaching approach with the objective of fostering understanding of unobservable phenomena in science, such as electricity, cellular respiration, or molecular structures. Simulations have enabled science students to experience and support the development of mental models. Traditionally, computer simulations have been used to support individual learning and inquiry, the cognitive advantages of paired and small group collaboration is becoming more apparent. Embodied cognition is a theoretical approach of relevance to learning contexts which defines cognition as embodied within one’s interaction with their environment. We have identified several objectives for enriched understanding in the research field of science education and student dyad collaboration. Our overall goal is to further understand how students develop conceptual understanding in the context of these interactions using a novel chemistry simulation designed by our research team. We have developed a number of research questions that study student collaboration and the possible emergence of shared understanding and mental model construction. Our preliminary research is designed to empirically evaluate our questions and facilitate the design of educational simulations for collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Computer Human Interaction (CHI) Conference
Place of PublicationPennsylvania
PublisherPennsylvania State University
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventCHI 2005: International Conference for Human-Computer Interaction - Portland, United States
Duration: 2 Apr 20057 Apr 2005


ConferenceCHI 2005
CountryUnited States
Internet address


  • Simulations
  • embodied cognition
  • Discourse
  • common ground
  • CSCL
  • mental models
  • conceptual change

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