Representation Construction Approach: A Guided Inquiry Pedagogy for Science

Peter Hubber


This paper describes the development and implementation of a guided-inquiry approach to teaching
science which reflects the increasing attention given to the role of representation in learning science as
well as knowledge creation in science. This representation construction approach (RCA) involves
challenging students to generate and negotiate the representations (text, graphs, models, diagrams) that
constitute the discursive practices of science, rather than focusing on the text-based, definitional versions
of concepts. In working with teachers in the development and refinement of the approach a design-based
research methodology was employed. The investigation of the approach, and teachers’ experience
involved video capture and analysis, and teacher interviews whilst documentation and analysis of student
learning occurred through analysis of class discussion through whole class and small group video
capture, collection of student artefacts, pre- and post-tests, and student stimulated recall interviews. The
approach has been successful in demonstrating enhanced outcomes for students, in terms of sustained
engagement with ideas, and quality learning, and for teachers enhanced pedagogical knowledge and
understanding of how knowledge in science is developed and communicated.


Representation Construction; Guided-Inquiry; Science

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