Interactive Learning & Design Lab


Scaffolding Students' Use of Multiple Representations for Science Learning

Funded by Institute of Educational Sciences $1.45 million

The central premise of this project is that a careful integration of multiple representations within an instructional unit, and the design of scaffolding that enables translation between representations, will lead to a deeper conceptual understanding. Our main objective therefore is to develop and evaluate a novel approach to science instruction that engages multiple representations - text, hands-on experimentation and interactive computer simulations, which incorporates scaffolding both by the teacher and the computer, in order to immerse middle school students in these practices of science. 

Specific goals of the research are to:

  1. Promote deeper conceptual learning by integrating multiple representations and activities that engage students in scientific practices,
  2. Investigate how scaffolding built into (a) instructional materials and (b) the design of representations will lead to deeper science understanding and representational competence, and
  3. Explore how teacher facilitation can help students connect and translate between representations.