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The challenges of graph interpretation in science

Rosemary Hipkins

This article draws on several reviews that have documented known challenges for students when learning to use graphs in science contexts. It then illustrates these challenges with examples drawn from the New Zealand Council for Educational Research’s recently developed test series, Science: Thinking with Evidence. Learning to think with graphically presented evidence is an important aspect of preparing our students to be citizens in societies where science impacts on our lives in multiple ways, and this article alerts teachers to aspects of using graphs where middle school students might need additional support and practice.

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