Representing in the Student Laboratory

Brandon Boesch


In this essay, I will expand the philosophical discussion about the representational practice in science to examine its role in science education through four case studies. The cases are of what I call ‘educational laboratory experiments’ (ELEs), performative models used representationally by students to come to a better understanding of theoretical knowledge of a scientific discipline. The studies help to demonstrate some idiosyncratic features of representational practices in science education, most importantly a lack of novelty and discovery built into the ELEs as their methodology is solidified when it becomes a widely spread educational tool within a discipline. There is thus an irreducible role for the historical development of ELEs in understanding their representational nature and use. The important role of the historical development of ELEs leads to an interesting way that educators can use ELEs as a means of connecting students to important historical developments within their disciplines.


Models; Representation; Educational laboratory experiments; Science education

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Copyright (c) 2018 Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science

ISSN: 2526-2270

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