Grounding computational abstractions in scientific experience

Amy Voss Farris, Amanda C. Dickes, Pratim Sengupta

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

4 Scopus citations


Opportunities for computational modeling bring about new and productive uncertainties in students' explanations of the relationship of phenomena “in the world” to their models of those phenomena. Computational abstractions that become useful in the lifeworld of the classroom are steeped in the history of how those abstractions came to be used and understood. In this paper, we describe how two elementary classrooms used a programming and modeling language in ways that link their material enactments, measurements, and paper-based forms of representations to productive computational abstractions. The heterogeneity of computational abstractions––and how they came to enter the shared language within these classrooms––have implications for our understanding of how learners perceive their shared production of scientific explanations and the computational and non-computational tools they use. Findings have implications for the design of programming environments and for K12 computational modeling, both in regard to science education and computing education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication14th International Conference of the Learning Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationThe Interdisciplinarity of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2020 - Conference Proceedings
EditorsMelissa Gresalfi, Ilana Seidel Horn
PublisherInternational Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781732467279
StatePublished - 2020
Event14th International Conference of the Learning Sciences: The Interdisciplinarity of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2020 - Nashville, United States
Duration: Jun 19 2020Jun 23 2020

Publication series

NameComputer-Supported Collaborative Learning Conference, CSCL
ISSN (Print)1573-4552


Conference14th International Conference of the Learning Sciences: The Interdisciplinarity of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Education


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