The first article, “What kind of explanation is a model” defines modeling as “analogies in which objects and relations in one system, the model system are used as stand-ins to represent, predict, and elaborate on those in the natural world.” The article discusses the rift between contemporary science and classroom science, stating that contemporary science is about experimentation, development, testing and revision of models. It claims that modeling is difficult because it is an “indirect” genre of reasoning, which focuses on simplified, stripped down representations or models rather than the object of study. Lehrer and Schauble then describe how to model with four steps highlighted: Arrange conditions for seeing phenomena, have students invent new measures, understanding representational competence, developing an know-how of modeling. Teachers are encouraged to structure activities and use discourse that fosters student thinking in order to pull the most information out of the students.
The second article “Reconsidering the role of experiment” defines science as having three aspects: rhetoric, representation, and modeling. It raises concern about modeling as a learned process that can be a road-block in a student’s learning, if not properly assisted with scaffolding. It pushes teachers to scaffold because “cycles of student inquiry and experimentation with design” will increase the student’s opportunity to “reflect upon the quality of effective experiment.” The article defines modeling as the process of using inscriptions to support arguments about the world. This article, written by same authors, reiterates the teacher’s guiding role. It encourages that teachers must have a strong pedagogy that pushes students to investigate, make conclusions, and revision of those conclusions.
Both articles stress the overall theme of modeling. In essence, both describe modeling as a process of making conclusions about phenomena in the world through a different representation of the object in order to better understand the process. Both articles emphasize the teacher involvement and suggest that the teacher facilitates conversation. Socratic questioning and probing students thinking are two strategies that teachers should employ to push students to further explain their thoughts. The authors feel that this process beneficial because it constantly asks the students to evaluate and support their explanations and conclusions. This constant revision of knowledge by the student will highlight misconceptions that they may have about the topic. Students may realize that they cannot explain a concept that they know to be true. Overall, both articles discuss the benefits of modeling inside the classroom and explain how modeling can be carried out in an effective way.
I didn’t seem to like the second article, chapter 5 of Lehrer and Schauble’s book, I thought it was slightly redundant seeing as modeling had already been discussed in depth in chapter 2. I thought that while it discusses modeling as being used in grades K-12, it focused heavily on modeling in the younger grades. I am very skeptical of the idea of modeling all the time because of the time-constraints and standards that direct a high-school classroom. I think it puts a large emphasis on modeling and the process of learning rather than the content knowledge. I agree that the process of learning is ultra-important because it can be further utilized to make discoveries and conclusions of your own, but there are times when someone must simply know something rather than discover something. In my opinion, modeling should be used to supplement learning in the classroom, however if used all the time I believe there will be gaps in knowledge. Overall, both articles gave a good summary of modeling and its application inside the classroom.