Felice Frankel co author of No Small Matters (with chemist, George Whitesides) explains how important the thinking that happens alongside the making of images/models are. She explains how reating representations yields critical thinking. Making representations (photographs, drawings) gets "me to thinking about how to create that representation had to force ne into understanding the stuff better."
A talk by Felice where she explains on this idea follows. During the talk, she mentions Picturing to Learn.