The purpose of this paper is to report the findings from a study that explored the use of art and visual production as a means through which 20 third-graders developed and represented their social studies understandings. The author describes the ways the process of visual production and the finished products illustrate the nature of the students' social studies learning.
The project was grounded in an inductive qualitative approach privileging student voice. This paper reports analysis and interpretation of multiple data sources, including photographs of students' projects, digital recordings of the visual productions and student interviews, as well as field notes and informal teacher conversations.
Results suggest that in the process of visual production and in their final pieces, students moved in fluid ways between making sense of new knowledge, developing important social studies skills, and representing their knowledge. More specifically, students used historical evidence to present humanized versions of history through personalized narratives. These outcomes suggest that the integration of art and visual production can be a valuable and effective way for students to develop and apply social studies skills as well as represent their understanding.
This study provides insight into how young children can use art and visual production to develop social studies skills, make sense of new knowledge, and represent their learning, contributing knowledge on an understudied topic and population in social studies education.
Torres, H. (2020), "Clay farms, paper presidents: Visual representations of children's developing social studies understandings", Social Studies Research and Practice, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SSRP-11-2018-0044Download as .RIS
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