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First published July 1 2016

Small Bugs, Big Ideas: Teaching Complex Systems Principles Through Agent-Based Models of Social Insects

Yu Guo and Uri Wilensky

Abstract (Excerpt)

Complex systems are challenging for students, especially younger students, to learn. In this paper, we argue that agent-based models (ABMs) of social insects provide an engaging and effective space for students to learn powerful ideas about complex systems. We designed a curricular unit called BeeSmart centering on ABMs of honeybees collective behavior. Preliminary results from an implementation at a high school showed that ABMs of social insects could be a promising approach to introduce complex systems to a younger audience.