Learning probability through building computational models

Nineteenth International Conference on the Psychology of Mathematics Education
Wilensky, U.
Recife, Brazil

While important efforts have been undertaken to advancing understanding of probability using technology, the research herein reported is distinct in its focus on model building by learners. The work draws on theories of Constructionism and Connected Mathematics. The research builds from the conjecture that both the learner's own sense making and the cognitive researchers, investigations of this sense-making are best advanced by having the learner build computational models of probabilistic phenomena. Through building these models, learners come to make sense of core concepts in probability. Through studying this model building process, and what learners do with their models, researchers can better understand the development of probabilistic learning. This report briefly describes two case studies of learners engaged in building computational models of probabilistic phenomena.