I recently stumbled upon a few references to the role of imagination in science learning. The first "hit" turned up in a review of recent editions of the International Journal of Science Education. In the April 2005 issue (Volume 27, Number 5) I found an article by James H. Mathewson called "The visual core of science: definition and applications to education" (pages 529 - 548). [note - I can't find any home page for James H. Mathewson on the SDSU site or elsewhere - he's doing interesting work, so I'm hoping to turn up more info in the future. another note - SDSU apparently has a program that is very similar to UMaine's MST - it's called the Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education, and features a Ph.D. option.] In the past, he's also written an article called "Visual-spatial thinking: an aspect of science overlooked by educatiors", which appeared in Science Education, v83 n1 p33-54 Jan 1999. I have not yet read this article. Also of note, I was looking through the references in "The Visual Core of Science" and found a book that turned out to be very interesting. The author is Arthur I. Miller, and the book is titled Insights of Genius: Imagery and Creativity in Science and Art, published by MIT Press (paperback in 2000).
So, a brief mention of some of the aspects of the Matheson paper that were most interesting. First is the notion (developed by Gerald Holton - not yet researched) that imagination has three different functional sub-categories: visual, metaphoric, and thematic. I am going to map these as resource categories within the imagination category.
OK, well, Super Bowl parties are 'bout to start, so I'll be catching up on this post tomorrow.