children in class room

Project: Potentials for students' and teachers' meaning making through different resources

This interdisciplinary project aims at attaining a deeper understanding of how content can be mediated through representations in different semiotic modes (e.g. verbal language, action, images) in elementary school science classrooms dealing with phase transitions of water.

Project information

Project title: Potentials for students' and teachers' meaning making through different resources. A multidisciplinary study of transformations of representations in science classrooms
Project members: Kristina Danielsson, Ewa Bergh Netslog, Linnaeus University, Fredrik Jeppsson, Ragnhild Löfgren, Linköping University

More about the project

The focus of the project will be on the use of representations for macroscopic (what can be experienced with our senses) and microscopic (unavailable for our senses) aspects of the content, and the relation between these. The area has proved to be challenging for teachers and students. It involves a transition from everyday experiences of water into a scientific understanding at both a macroscopic and microscopic level. Data will consist of video/audio recordings of classroom interaction, and digital pictures of representations produced and used by teachers and students.

The project is framed within social semiotic theory. Representations and classroom interaction when using these will be analyzed multimodally through systemic functional linguistics. A special focus will be on transformations between representations, on the ways in which models and metaphors are used in different semiotic modes, and the pedagogical affordances of the representations in the meaning making situation. Also, if, and how teachers make explicit the affordances of representations will be analyzed. The project contributes to a deeper understanding in relation to research in science education and multimodal aspects of meaning making, and the role of classroom discussions to enhance students' understanding of abstract content. A pilot study was presented at the Transmediations! conference, October 2016.