Modeling is an important aspect of scientific problem-solving. How- ever, modeling is a difficult cognitive process for novice learners in part due to the high dimensionality of the parameter search space. This work investigates 50 college students’ parameter search behaviors in the context of ecological mod- eling. The study revealed important differences in behaviors of successful and unsuccessful students in navigating the parameter space. These differences sug- gest opportunities for future development of adaptive cognitive scaffolds to sup- port different classes of learners.