Reasoning in science through representation
chapterposted on 01.02.2013, 00:00 authored by Russell TytlerRussell Tytler, Vaughan PrainVaughan Prain, Peter Hubber, F Haslam
In this chapter we argue that our analysis of student reasoning through constructing representations points to a range of informal and formal reasoning processes. This suggests the need for researchers and teachers to shift from an exclusive focus on formal syllogistic reasoning as the main or only reasoning resource for science learning. First we review the literature to identify how informal reasoning is described, and relates to reasoning through representation, then examine one case of reasoning during a representational challenge, to argue that reasoning should be thought of as deliberative thinking that involves choices, leading to a justifiable claim. Two case studies from RILS units are then used to identify how reasoning through representation can occur at a number of points during a representational challenge, and finally to develop an indicative taxonomy of the different purposes of reasoning as part of the processes of science.