for Teaching Complex Science to Young Children Through

Embodied Play

Funded by The National Science Foundation

Developing a Wearable Toolkit

BioSim Play
Puppet-enhanced role play...
Honeybees and army ants...
Communicating food sources
In their own unique ways
BioSim Simulation

Computer simulated systems

Side-by-side comparisons...
Changing variables...
Relating individual behaviors to the
Aggregate behaviors of the group.

Understanding Complex Systems

e-Puppets: First person perspective
Interactive Software: Third person perspective

BeeSim

Complex systems in a honeybee hive

AntSim

The foraging ecology of army ants

EcoSim

Food Web Dynamics

Latest News

In May 2016, the Johnson Center for Innovation and Translational Research (JCITR) awarded more than $160,000 in grants to seven projects at Indiana University Bloomington through the Translational Research Pilot Grant program. One of those projects is “Indoor Positioning System,” led by Kylie Peppler and Joshua Danish, School of Education; and Armin Moczek, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences. See this article from IU’s Crimson Catalyst to learn more!

  • A child’s greatest achievements are possible in play. ~ Lev Vygotsky

  • The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge. ~ Seymour Papert

Research Nuggets
  • The design of BeeSign was guided by Activity Theory [which] highlights the fact that individuals learn through social interaction and that various tools mediate interaction.

    BeeSign

  • At the heart of the design process … lies a very simple assumption—that young children can engage in rich, complex science when the activity system supports it

    Life in the Hive

  • Honeybees were selected as a topic because they are familiar to young children and also represent a number of complex-systems related concepts. Most relevant to the current study is the way that honeybees communicate the location of flower nectar using a form of dance.

    BeeSim

  • Biologists have documented that bees and other insects will engage in behaviors that … favor the hive as a whole. Our findings suggest that when game play mirrored this collaborative organization, it promoted more engaged, positive, and reflective play.

    Collaborative Gaming