Models are used in many scientific contexts, such as biology, economics, engineering, and geology. They can simulate various aspects of a system, including its physics, its interactions with the environment, and its performance.
Models can be physical, logical, mathematical, or symbolic. Each type of model has its own purposes. For instance, a mathematical model can simulate the potential flight paths of a plane. It can also represent how the parts of the system are interconnected. Similarly, a logical model can capture a family of products.
In addition to its technical use, models are also important in communicating information to stakeholders and architecting system solutions. Some models are highly idealized, while others are more abstract. These differences are important to understand for student experiences with models.
Students often consider models as useful simplifications of real-world phenomena. They are also able to recognize models as useful test subjects. However, students rarely look beyond the surface similarities between models.
When a student is considering a model, it is important to think about its purpose. For example, a student may recognize that the model’s primary goal is to demonstrate the effects of processes. This idea is reinforced by simulations in computer games.
The importance of models is emphasized in many newshunttimes scientific contexts. They are central to biology, cosmology, and climate science. And they are vital in social sciences, such as economics and political science.
Scientists develop models to answer observed phenomena. Economists develop models to study “what-if” scenarios.