Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Environmental Education Research Group

Re-imagining futures in STEME

Multi-modal literacies and model-based reasoning in science and mathematics

A sub-program under Promoting critical and creative reasoning and learning in STEM

Contemporary views view learning as a process of induction into the discursive practices of a discipline. In science these ‘discovery’ practices are increasingly understood to involve the invention and coordination of visual, textual, symbolic and embodied representations, and we have worked with teachers to develop and refine a guided inquiry approach to science, and more recently mathematical classroom processes. This program has been pursued through a number of Australian Research Council (ARC) projects and through professional learning projects funded by the Victorian Government, or negotiated through school partnerships. The researchers at the centre of this program were originally Russell Tytler, Vaughan Prain and Peter Hubber but an increasing number of STEME members are now engaged with the program. The group’s work has been influential in the Australian Academy of Science Primary Connections program, the Australian Curriculum in Science, and in the PISA science framework 2016.

The aim of the program is to 1) explore the nature of student learning through pedagogies that reflect foundational representational practices in science and mathematics, and 2) to investigate the classroom activities and practices that can best support conceptual, epistemic, and procedural learning.

The program includes a number of Australian Research Council funded projects:

  1. The role of representations in learning science (ARC)
  2. An investigation of causal relations between complex classroom practices and science learning using high capacity new research technologies and multiple theory testing (ARC)
  3. Enhancing the Quality of Science Learning through a Representation-intensive Pedagogy (ARC)
  4. Developing digital pedagogies in inquiry science through a cloud based teaching and learning environment  (ARC)
  5. Science of Learning Research Centre (ARC Centre)
  6. Multiliteracies for addressing disadvantage in senior school science (ARC)
  7. Enriching mathematics and science learning: an interdisciplinary approach (ARC)

A video outlining the research program