What Do You See?by: Julianne Maner Coleman and M. Jenice "Dee" Goldston

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Purposeful questioning encourages visual literacy during a lesson on cells. In this article a teacher uses a cutaway diagram to teach visual literacy skills to enhance students' science inquiry experiences.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (3)
  • on Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:57 AM

This article is summed up by the authors in the following statement “…comparing and contrasting visuals against observations during science activities promote students’ interpretative skills and their understanding of “how we know what we know in science”.” First in the article they describe a conversation between a teacher and students which discusses a diagram of a general plant cell. This is followed up by an activity with students examining two different types of plants cells under a microscope. Then the teacher and students discusses the likenesses and differences between the graphic representation of a plant cell and the real plants cells seen under the microscope. This comparison helps students understand why books have graphics to show a science concept and also help them to understand that it is hard to depict exactly what things look like with a graphic.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:46 AM

This article describes how a fourth grade teacher uses good questioning skills to improve visual literacy. After viewing a textbook image of cell students actually looked at cells in a microscope to discover that what they saw in the book did not match their actual experiences. What are most helpful in this article are the charts provided to help students develop better visual literacy such as the questioning strategies used with elementary students.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:32 PM

This article connects science investigations with visual literacy. Those skills needed to accurately interpret and produce visual and graphical information (drawings, diagrams, maps, graphs, etc.), are considered to be visual skills. The authors take us inside a fourth grade classroom where students are studying cells. Through purposeful questioning, the teacher is able to engage the students in an analysis of a cutaway drawing of a plant cell. The article provides a chart (Figure 4, p. 46) with a sample of some of the questioning strategies that were employed during this lesson. The three general questions used to support the interpretation of graphical representations are: Determining Purpose (DP) Questions; Identify, Define, Label (IDL) Questions; and Analyze, Critique, Compare Check (ACCC) Questions. The authors show how questioning visual information can help children develop their visual literacy skills so that they can better communicate their experimental observations. This article promises to be a very useful one for teachers wanting strategies they can use to improve their questioning abilities. The chart is easy to follow and provides the frame for teachers to try with other science content material.

Carolyn M  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)

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