Simulation: Diversity

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

This blog is about two simulations based on the same concept namely Thomas Schelling’s Model of Segregation. The model tries to explain social phenomena and shows for example how difficult is it to build and sustain a diverse community. Schelling tries to explain when and why ghetto forming takes place and under which conditions this can be prevented or even reversed.
In other words, people with shared identities tend to cluster/group together. In most classes boys and girls form their own groups.

The first simulation by Frank McCown is named Schelling’s Model of Segregation. The second is by Vi Hart and Nicky Case and named Parable of the Polygons. The two simulations have different interfaces. Both simulations use two groups. The first simulation has four variables (and a interval timer) whereas the Parable of the Polygons offers different simulations for different variables.

The simulation by Frank McCown can be found if you scroll down on the page. The simulation generates a multitude of questions that can be explored.

    • When do communities remain diverse?
    • When and why does clustering take place even if people are relatively tolerant and open-minded?
    • Can segregated communities be tolerant?
    • Under what circumstances does segregation happen and why?
    • How can a segregated community become diverse?

The Parable of the Polygons contains a group of simulations and uses scaffolding to explore the concept. Contrary to Mc Cown’s simulation the Parable of the Polygons visualise if people are happy or not. Additionally the user can move ONE person and see what happens. The last simulation is a particular interesting one.


The Parable of the Polygons could be used as inspiration for the teacher. However, in our opinion the degree of scaffolding will limit the curiosity, thinking and reasoning by the students themselves.

The simulations can be used by policy makers, but also by students in relation with religion, geography/demography. It has been known in chemistry that seperate molecules and molecules in small quantities react differently than in mass. The same can be observed with people. Individual people can be tolerant and open-minded, but the large group will nevertheless become clustered under certain conditions.

As teachers we have to be careful how to introduce the simulation and how to discuss the issues. Minority groups in class can easily feel uncomfortable. It is up to the teacher to choose the context and vocabulary that suits the class. As you may have observed have we tried to use the word diversity instead of segregation.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad
 Requirements  Browser


golab logoGoLabz project is an international platform for online science labs. It aims at promoting and encouraging inquiry learning and experimenting in science education. The large database with resources can be searched on subject area, age group, science topic etc. We selected the most interactive, online labs for age 8-14:


  • Balancing Act – simulation, game about weight using a balance scale
  • Density and Buoyancy – simulation, game about mass, volume and density (coming soon)
  • GearSketch – drawing pad enabling you to draw gears and chains and learn about transmission
  • Energy Skatepark – game with information about kinetic, potential and thermal energy
  • Electrical Circuit Pad – easy to use drawing pad for simple electrical circuits

Responseware: Socrative

Socrative is one of the best known responseware programs. We wrote about another responseware program Kahoot earlier.  The teacher or presenter designs and starts a quiz on his/her computer. The students can access the quiz on their PC, tablet, iPad or smartphone.  The students see the question and can answer. The results are presented graphically can be viewed and shown by the teacher.

Socrative is suitable from primary school level up to university. You can use Socrative to assess knowledge and skills, but you can also use it to engage students using open questions, using it as a tool to gauge prior knowledge, or to vote in a poll.

pushups uk

Presentation of a multiple-choice question to student

DiScoro offers workshops in the use of Responseware, such as Kahoot, Socrative, and in how to create various types of questions.

Functionality and review

  • Socrative has several options: Quiz, one single question, and Space Race (competition).
  • Socrative is user-friendly.
  • It takes very little time to start and use Socrative with students.
  • Socrative offers Multiple-choice questions with the possibility to indicate more than one correct answer.
  • Socrative offers the option to enter open questions where the student writes down his/her own answer.
  • You as a teacher can select a student-paced or teacher-paced quiz.
  • You can add feedback or hints that will be shown to the students after they have sent in their answer.
  • You can upload a picture/graphic with a question, but this is optional.
  • Students do not have to be present at the samen location as the teacher, because the students view the questions as well as the answer options as soon as they open the quiz.
  • The graphics do not always work well when students use the program on a smartphone.
Socrative results

Overview of results


Results on an open question

You will find additional functionality and options, which you should check out for yourself.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, tablet, iPad, SmartPhone 
 Requirements   browser on teachers’ computer

Building with blocks

Wisweb offers interactive Math Applets. There is a whole set available, but some have some technical problems. The applets ‘Building Houses’, og ‘Building with Blocks’ work very well.  Students learn to build 3D buildings from information about the ‘side views’ and  the ‘top view’. The applets er so visual, that the feedback is inherently given to the students. Below a few screenshots, but we recommend that you try the applets online.

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 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPad, Android tablet, PC
 Requirements  Browser, JAVA

This is a Journey Online

Désiré heeft reeds in 2001 als adviseur en auteur meegewerkt aan de online educatieve site This is a Journey Online. Een educatieve en interactieve website waarin communities van jongeren met elkaar samenwerken. De website staat in het kader van Duurzame Ontwikkeling. Jongeren van 13 t/m 16 jaar leren over andere culturen en landen en communiceren daarover met elkaar. Deel thema’s zijn onder meer water, voedsel, gewoonten, infrastructuur, en dagelijks leven.

De site is in het Engels. Het materiaal werd gebruikt door scholen in Zimbabwe, Indonesië en Nederland. Jongeren kunnen vragen insturen, zelf verhalen plaatsen en deelnemen aan discussies. Het doel is het ontwikkelen van een action plan, waar jongeren voorstellen doen in het kader van duurzaamheid.