Summer Institute on Emergence and Exploration

See for full program.

July 21-August 1, 2003

Doug Blank, Kim Cassidy and Anne Dalke

with assistance from Cynthia Chalker, Jody Cohen, Panama Geer, Paul Grobstein and Ted Wong.

Monday, July 21

A.M. Doug, Kim, Anne:

Getting Aquainted

On the Institute Forum, tell us the Story of your Name.

The Name Game


Form a chain around the table or room, but pick one seat that is the "front" and another that is the "tail". People in the front and tail seats may not pair with each other. Otherwise, people may pair with those directly next to them (left or right) in the chain.


  1. Form pairs with a person next to you (on your left or right). If the people on both sides are paired, you'll sit out this round. Try not to talk to the same people that you have talked to from previous rounds if you can help it, but if you must that's fine.

  2. Tell your pair partner your name, and ask them how many people they have ever known (past and present) that have your name.

    1. If they know very few people with that your, you get 1 point

    2. If they know a medium number of people with your name, you get 2 points

    3. If they know quite a few people with your name, you get 3 points

      That will be your score. They will do the same to get their score.

  3. Flip a coin. If it lands heads up, then add 1 to your score, else subtract 1 from it.

  4. The person with the highest score should end up closest to the "front" seat either by trading seats with their partner, or remaining in their seat. If there is a tie, no one moves.

  5. Go to step 1.

Emergent Properties of Baby Naming

  1. How do parents name their children?

  2. What are the pressures in naming children?

  3. What makes a good name?

  4. What creates "trends" (i.e., names becoming more/less popular over time)?

  5. How much popular are the top names than the bottom names?


Power Law

The following graphs plot the number of people that had each name from for the year 2002. Notice the pattern, and it holds for both men and women.


Tuesday afternoon: Scientific Method and Emergent Pedagogy

Anne and Paul lead the discussion.

Tuesday, July 22

A.M. Doug and Paul: Intro to Wiki and HTML

A.M. Doug: Using computers to explore emergence: [WWW]Doug's Serendip Wiki Page

P.M. Model Wiki as emergent process: Collaborative pages

Wednesday, July 23

A.M. Panama and Ted: "Ants and Plants"

Lunch time fun: Mike Noel and Flora Shephered and the "Physics Roadshow" (rain date Thursday)

P.M. Panama and Ted: More NetLogo w/ Ants, Plants, etc.

Thursday, July 24

A.M. Paul: Evolution as Model for Emergence

P.M. Doug: Evolution Simulation and/or more emergent-group-Wiki work??

[WWW]Darwinian Poetry

Friday, July 25

A.M. Kim: Trying Out Multiple Ways to Solve Problems: Individually and Communally

P.M. Doug, Anne, Kim: small group discussions: applying what we've learned to our own classrooms

Monday, July 28

A.M. Jody and Cynthia: The Emergence of Race/The Game of "Segregation"

P.M. working on individual modules

Tuesday, July 29

A.M. Jody and Cynthia: The Emergence of Race, Part II

P.M. working on individual modules

Wednesday, July 30

A.M. Anne: Emergent Art and Writing

P.M. working on individual modules

Thursday, July 31

A.M. Paul: Mini-symposium on K-16 collaboration

P.M. working on individual modules

Friday, August 1

A.M. Presentations of individual projects

P.M. Graduation