Look around for materials you might be able to use to create your model. Working with constraints is one of the measures of creativity. The first contraint is what do YOU have AVAILABLE as Materials.
Iteration is important part of the design cycle as it is in creating models. Your mental model will change as you start to research and build. The change in that mental model can be documented with notes in a journal or on an idea sketch. Here I am sketching out my first ideas for designing a physical model that represents or explains my mental model of the energy flow in the food chain.
Some basic materials for starting to create this model included micro LED's and conductive thread from Sparkfun, needle, threader, scissors, beeswax, fabric and an embrodiery hoop.
Alligator clips and sticky notes helped me think about my model. Watch the video above where I explain my thinking and layout how I will use the PARTS I gathered to build a model of the food web.
lConstructing design was an important step in constructing and communicating my mental model of the food web. Click on each video to see who working with the constraints of the materials I had available and further research about the food web, helped we think more deeply about the model, and how I could accurately represent the science using the materials available. There are several pictures and videos that explain my thinking.
Creating a model move beyonds the individual parts. Once you have your individual parts built, you can start to create the part of the model that explains how the different parts interact to create a system. How can we best model the process or phenomena. LEDs can easily represent energy flow. Micro LED's are easy to attach and the the fact that the energy actually flows through the conductive thread makes this representation more powerful than a simple diorama.