AbstractInvestigations that allow for students to self-direct their inquiries in science classrooms involve building on existing understanding, problem solving and reasoning. The process of explaining complex problems means that students work with multiple sets of data including online resources and information from the Internet. Outcomes of such activities are often in written form, frequently prepared on the computer, representing a collage of negotiated ideas. This article presents primary science classroom investigations about changes of state and landforms and argues that inscription practices were shaped by the functional and social affordances students imbued with the computer and information from the Internet. Findings from the qualitative study with a year 7 teacher, Clara, and her students illustrate how the Internet provided social and collaborative opportunities for scientific meaning making. The argument is made that access to the computer and information from the Internet can open up and constrain opportunities for social thinking and inscription practices. Talking, thinking and composing were observed to constitute the nature of science inquiries as a collaborative effort of meaning making.
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