Abstract for: Lessons Learned From a Failed Experiment: A Very Brief Introduction of System Dynamics Modeling in Two Algebra II Classes

This paper presents the results of an experiment conducted at a secondary school in the US in which two mathematics teachers were enlisted to teach a series of 6 lessons introducing System Dynamics modeling as a method to help students better understand the difference between the structures that produce linear versus exponential change over time in real world scenarios. Four algebra II classes were involved in the study, an experimental/control class for each of the two teachers. The teachers administered pre- and post- assessments to each of the four classes and taught 6 experimental lessons to their experimental classes. Due to a number of difficulties that contributed to a very limited time to conduct the experiment the pre- and post assessments did not produce significant differences between the experimental and control groups. However the results collected on some of the lessons indicated that SD modeling might potentially reduce the gap in performance between students who are more adept at math and those who are not. Moreover, two pairs of students were videotaped as they built correct SD models and correctly analyze the behavior for a problem that is slightly beyond the typical problem studied an algebra II.