What Kind of Explanation is a Model?

  • Richard Lehrer
  • Leona Schauble


We describe modeling as a form of explanation that is particular to science and, based on a research program conducted over the last 15 years, identify the conceptual resources and practices that must be developed for school students to become initiated into this kind of reasoning. We point out that modeling is difficult for novices to grasp but is treated by school science as self-evident, which may account for the fact that it is widely misunderstood by learners and educators alike. We close by considering components of instruction, especially classroom norms and tasks, that best support the long-term development of modeling.


Modeling Game Representational Form Representational Competence Research Meeting Adequate Yearly Progress 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This chapter is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0628253. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions o recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peabody College, Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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