Research in Science Education

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 313–331

Representational Issues in Students Learning About Evaporation


DOI: 10.1007/s11165-006-9028-3

Cite this article as:
Tytler, R., Prain, V. & Peterson, S. Res Sci Educ (2007) 37: 313. doi:10.1007/s11165-006-9028-3


This study draws on recent research on the central role of representation in learning. While there has been considerable research on students’ understanding of evaporation, the representational issues entailed in this understanding have not been investigated in depth. The study explored students’ engagement with evaporation phenomena through various representational modes. The study indicates how a focus on representation can provide fresh insights into the conceptual task involved in learning science through an investigation of students’ responses to a structured classroom sequence and subsequent interviews over a year. A case study of one child’s learning demonstrates the way conceptual advances are integrally connected with the development of representational modes. The findings suggest that teacher-mediated negotiation of representational issues as students construct different modal accounts can support enriched learning by enabling both (a) richer conceptual understanding by students, and (b) enhanced teacher insights into students’ thinking.

Key words

student learning in science representation and learning literacies of science evaporation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell Tytler
    • 1
  • Vaughan Prain
    • 2
  • Suzanne Peterson
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.La Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia

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