TAILIEUCHUNG - A free accessible individual-based simulator enabling virtual experiments on soil organic matter processes in classroom

This work addresses and aims to fulfil a very clear need in teaching biosystem engineering. When introducing students to the complexity of soil processes, one of the frustrations that teachers ofen experience is the impossibility to demonstrate practically, in the lab, some of the concepts and processes discussed in class. Either the experiments take far longer than a typical laboratory session or they require access to specific equipment. | Journal of Technology and Science Education A FREE ACCESSIBLE INDIVIDUAL-BASED SIMULATOR ENABLING VIRTUAL EXPERIMENTS ON SOIL ORGANIC MATTER PROCESSES IN CLASSROOM Anna Gras1, Juan Carlos Cañadas2, Marta Ginovart3 1 Department of Agri-Food Engineering and Biotechnology, Technical University of Catalonia, Edifici D4, Esteve Terradas 8, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain 2 Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering, Technical University of Catalonia, ETSEIAT, Edifici TR5, Colom 11, 08222 Terrassa (Barcelona), Spain 3 Department of Applied Mathematics III, Technical University of Catalonia, Edifici D4, Esteve Terradas 8, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain , , Received February 2013 Accepted July 2013 Abstract This work addresses and aims to fulfil a very clear need in teaching biosystem engineering. When introducing students to the complexity of soil processes, one of the frustrations that teachers ofen experience is the impossibility to demonstrate practically, in the lab, some of the concepts and processes discussed in class. Either the experiments take far longer than a typical laboratory session or they require access to specific equipment. To deal with this situation, it would be ideal for students to be able to do virtual experiments. The purpose of this work is to display the individual-based simulation model INDISIM-SOM, available free from a website, and to show how it can be used in experiments or as a teaching-learning instrument in the classroom. The computational model has been designed specifically for the study of soil organic matter and is based mainly on the activity conducted by two diferent prototypes of microorganisms. One option of using INDISIMSOM is as a way to introduce the individual-based model as a methodology to improve understanding of the agents involved in soil microbial system and their processes. Another option is to develop the ability to work with

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