How does smell travel? – Background


pasted-image.pngThis case comes from the SiMSAM Project, an NSF-Funded research grant focused on bridging student, scientific, and mathematical models in science using expressive technologies, such as stop-motion animation and simulation software.


Five 5th grade girls volunteered to attend a four-day workshop to pilot our approach to modeling with expressive technologies. The girls were all friends who attended a public middle school in suburban Massachusetts. The workshops took place both at Tufts University and at the home of one of the participants. Over the course of 4 days, the girls spent time exploring smell together. They made drawings of their thinking, constructed stop-motion animations, and finally developed a simulation to model how smell moves. The girls worked on this problem for nearly 10 hours over the course of the four sessions.

This case tells the story of how these girls developed, refined, tested, and talked about their model for how smell moves. It is not feasible to present all 10 hours of work, so the case includes a curated selection of episodes and artifacts from the girls’ work together over the four days.