This paper presents initial findings from our collaborative effort to understand the roles various kinds of scientific representations play in supporting students' epistemological learning in science, through their development of epistemic practices. We present concrete design principles for the development of representational tools that support students' inquiry and their development of scientific epistemic practices; and we sketch a framework for using such tools to support students' collaborative inquiry, both face-to-face and online. These principles elucidate what we have learned about the ways in which representational tools support students' articulation of their knowledge, evaluation and negotiation of those ideas with their peers, collaboration around the knowledge representations, and instructional practices that support such complex forms of inquiry. We first present a general overview of our meaning of epistemic practices and general design principles to promote them. Subsequent sections briefly describe how our various research efforts instantiate these design principles within knowledge representations and activities designed to guide students' use of these representations.
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