Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type



Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Prof. Noah Finkelstein


The use of simulations in educational environments is a topic of growing interest, particularly in science education. While much research has been done to understand simulation use in interview settings, less has been done in the environments in which the majority of simulation use arises. The purpose of this thesis is to provide a framework for how simulations can be used in these natural environments, and analyze what can be done to promote effective use of simulations in these settings. We propose a list of heuristics or strategies that can be used when writing assignments to incorporate simulations, and additionally, provide a tentative theoretical view of how to implement these heuristics and why they work. This is done through a series of case studies that make use of the heuristics, as we first give an analysis of the heuristics that were used, and then provide a tentative theoretical view of how the heuristics were implemented, and why they work.