Multimodality Talks Series: Transformations of representations of force. Meaning-making about Newton’s third law in a primary classroom

Date:  March 25, 2022

Time: 12:00 – 13:30 GMT

Place: online

Speaker: Kristina Danielsson, Linnaeus University, Sweden

To attend the talk please register here:

About this event


Science learning involves learning about, for instance, abstract phenomena or phenomena too big or small to be experienced by our senses. Also, in some cases, we can only experience the effect of the phenomenon, for instance ‘force’. Therefore, science teaching and learning to a great extent deal with a variety of representations of phenomena through different resources such as image, wording, 2D/3D models and bodily action (e.g. Lemke 1998).

In the ongoing project, Transformations of transformations. An interdisciplinary study of pupils’ meaning-making through transformations of representations in science classes, financed by the Swedish Research Council, we have collaborated with a primary teacher (student age 10-11) when she and her class worked with Newton’s Third Law, which states that “when two bodies interact, they apply forces to one another that are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction”. This law is also known as the law of action and reaction.

In my talk I will present the central ideas behind the teaching and learning sequence, which involved a variety of classroom activities involving e.g., talking, bodily action, and students’ creation of multimodal texts. I will also present ongoing analyses of classroom data (video recordings and collected texts) where we investigate what characterise different representations of force in the classroom and how these representations are transformed and transduced (action, speech, writing, drawing, etc.) during the teaching and learning sequence. In this, we draw on the P-R-O-framework (premise-reasoning-outcome) (Tang 2016), developed within research in science education, combined with Lemke’s ‘thematic patterns’ (Lemke 1990), which build on analysis of verbal language according to systemic functional linguistics (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014). In our case, we include resources such as gesture, image, bodily action, and material objects in the analysis.

What I present is really work in progress and I hope that this will be an opportunity to discuss both pros and cons with our chosen methods.

Note on Bio:

Kristina Danielsson is Professor at Department of teaching and learning at Stockholm University and at Department of the Swedish language, Linnaeus University. Her research mainly deals with multimodal perspectives of teaching and learning, as well as multimodal aspects of disciplinary literacy. She has been involved in a number of interdisciplinary projects, often performed in collaboration with colleagues in science education. Recent projects include ‘Transformations of transformations…..’ (funded by the Swedish Research Council) and ‘Animations – the new way of chemistry learning?’ (funded by Swedish Institute for Educational Research). Recent international publications include Global Developments in Literacy Research in Science Education (with Tang, Springer, 2018) and Multimodal Texts in Disciplinary Education (with Selander, Springer, 2021). Together with Ass. Prof. Kok-Sing Tang, Curtin University, she was founding coordinator of the ESERA special interest group Languages and literacies in science education.

You’ll receive the link to join the meeting upon registration.


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