P218: Manipulatives as a tool for understanding what is in the black box
As experts in our domain, it is easy to assume that novices have at least a cursory understanding of what we consider to be common terminology. However, numerous studies have demonstrated that this is not the case. As researchers and educators, we can use manipulatives and other external representations such as particulate level drawings as tools to help us “see” what students are thinking. This presentation will highlight the use of manipulatives to express mathematical relationships and particulate drawings to express conceptions in chemistry. Data will be presented to demonstrate the affordances of using such external representations in our quest to understand what’s going on inside the black box that is the student mind.