convey complex ideas, patterns, trends, or proposed explanations of phenomena in compressed, accessible formats. These tools require expertise to understand and use. Teachers can help students reflect on the features and purposes of representations by asking them to generate and critique their own representational solutions to problems, by encouraging them to interpret the representations developed by other students, and by asking them to consider what a representation shows and hides so that they come to understand representational choices as trade-offs. Although working with representations poses challenges for learners, it also can help bridge between the knowledge and skills they bring to the classroom and more sophisticated scientific practices.

For Further Reading

Lehrer, R., and Schauble, L. (2004). Modeling natural variation through distribution. American Educational Research Journal, 41(3), 635-679.

McNeill, K.L., Lizotte, D.J., Krajcik, J., and Marx, R.W. (2006). Supporting students’ construction of scientific explanations by fading scaffolds in instructional materials. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 15(2), 153-191.

National Research Council. (2007). Teaching science as practice. Chapter 9 in Committee on Science Learning, Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade, Taking science to school: Learning and teaching science in grades K-8 (pp. 251-295). R.A. Duschl, H.A. Schweingruber, and A.W. Shouse (Eds.). Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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