Scientific Modeling for Sensemaking and Expression: Understanding the Multimodal Affordances of Modeling for Emerging Bilingual Students
Pierson, Ashlyn Elizabeth
Contemporary research demonstrates that students can leverage hybrid resources for complex and rigorous disciplinary thinking and that linguistic and disciplinary practices can be integrated to support meaningful classroom science practices. We extend this research by leveraging a syncretic approach to blend scientific modeling practices with everyday translanguaging practices in a generative way that leverages linguistic diversity in service of inquiry. In a design study conducted in a 6th grade STEM classroom as part of a 9-week ecology unit, we explore the ways that students appropriated and transformed modeling and translanguaging practices. We focus on two syncretic practices that capitalize on parallels between modeling and translanguaging: (a) translating as a part of modeling and (b) using language and conversation as metaphors for interpreting and creating multimodal models. In this context, syncretic modeling and translanguaging practices contributed to productive science discourse by helping students (a) to understand complex phenomena, (b) to express ideas, and (c) to legitimize diverse linguistic and representational practices.