60-Second Science

Doodles and Drawings Help Cement Concepts

Drawing as one attempts to learn science concepts can help in reasoning and basic understanding. Cynthia Graber reports

Many scientists draw their concepts. “For example, if we look at the work of somebody like Maxwell or Farady—we know they drew as part of their inventing process.”

Psychologist Shaaron Ainsworth from the University of Nottingham in the U.K. co-authored an article on drawing in the journal Science. [Shaaron Ainsworth, Vaughan Prain and Russell Tytler, "Drawing to Learn in Science"]

She spoke to the Science podcast:

"Our visual system is very adapted to getting information from graphical representation. Drawing as you look through a microscope or reasoning about evaporation or pollination is also really helpful…and when students draw graphical representations, visual representations, for themselves they tend to understand how these work better than when they just interpret the representations of others…if you read then draw what think you’ve understood from the text and then inspect your drawing, rethink, reread it, you tend to get a better understanding. You might see gaps in the material, you might generate new inferences about what you’ve come to understand, you might prompt further constructive strategies."

Turns out that being a better science student may have to be a drawn out process.

—Cynthia Graber

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Email this Article