MySystem and Energy Story

Vanessa Svihla
Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley
The assessment includes a MySystem, which is a diagramming tool that is used to show flows in a system, and an Energy Story, which allows students to create a narrative explanation of a system.

What learning is this evaluation activity designed to assess?

This paired assessment allows students to first organize their thinking by showing how something (e.g., energy, carbon, etc) flows through a system, then synthesize their learning by explaining in narrative format how this flow is a mechanism for changes in the system.

What is the nature of the teaching/learning situation for which your evaluation has been designed?

These paired assessments have been used to track changes in student understanding of the role of energy across disciplinary contexts.

What advice would you give others using this evaluation?

For young students, as is the case here, the use of "Story" can be problematic because it cues fiction rather than narrative account. The use of MySytem requires significant scaffolding for young students as well, and the tool is being redesigned to facilitate better explanations.

Are there particular things about this evaluation that you would like to discuss with the workshop participants? Particular aspects on which you would like feedback?

As we redesign the MySystem tool, we'd like to make it more STELLA-like, yet still accessible to 6th grade students. Additionally, we'd like to explore ways to better integrate the MySytem and Energy Stories.

Also a concern is that MySystem currently cannot depict levels within a system, nor does it have a great way to support representation of transformations. Feedback on these (rather vague) needs would be great, but keep in mind this is for a young audience!

Evaluation Materials

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