A simulation is a dynamic execution or manipulation of a model of a situation for a given purpose. The simulations in which we are interested are student-generated computer models and random access video models. A software package which is an example of student-generated computer model is Interactive Physics. The Great Ocean Rescue is an example of a random access video model. We are studying the use of science simulations on student exploration and concept acquisition.

Some specific questions include:
1) Do students explore differently using a simulated 2-dimensional graphic environment as compared to exploring with real objects?

2) What attributes of the simulated situation do student investigate and manipulate while working with simulations?

3) Do students accept results from simulations at the same level as results from the exploration with real objects? Do they question the validity of the results they get while interacting with the simulation? How wild could the results be before students begin to question the validity of their generated data?

Research on the use of simulation tools is sometimes done in tandem with other tools, such as the Microcomputer-Based Laboratory. SERVIT team members interested in this topic include John C. Park, Todd Boyette, Nina Morley, and Ron Kirkley.