Matching Items (58)

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Innovative strategies used to teach mathematics: A look at educators and classrooms across six countries

Description

Mathematics is an increasingly critical subject and the achievement of students in mathematics has been the focus of many recent reports and studies. However, few studies exist that both observe

Mathematics is an increasingly critical subject and the achievement of students in mathematics has been the focus of many recent reports and studies. However, few studies exist that both observe and discuss the specific teaching and assessment techniques employed in the classrooms across multiple countries. The focus of this study is to look at classrooms and educators across six high achieving countries to identify and compare teaching strategies being used. In Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Switzerland, twenty educators were interviewed and fourteen educators were observed teaching. Themes were first identified by comparing individual teacher responses within each country. These themes were then grouped together across countries and eight emerging patterns were identified. These strategies include students active involvement in the classroom, students given written feedback on assessments, students involvement in thoughtful discussion about mathematical concepts, students solving and explaining mathematics problems at the board, students exploring mathematical concepts either before or after being taught the material, students engagement in practical applications, students making connections between concepts, and students having confidence in their ability to understand mathematics. The strategies identified across these six high achieving countries can inform educators in their efforts of increasing student understanding of mathematical concepts and lead to an improvement in mathematics performance.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-12

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Undergraduate Students' Ways of Thinking About Function Notation

Description

Previous research has examined difficulties that students have with understanding and productively working with function notation. Function notation is very prevalent throughout mathematics education, helping students to better understand and

Previous research has examined difficulties that students have with understanding and productively working with function notation. Function notation is very prevalent throughout mathematics education, helping students to better understand and more easily work with functions. The goal of my research was to investigate students' current ways of thinking about function notation to better assist teachers in helping their students develop deeper and more productive understandings. In this study, I conducted two separate interviews with two undergraduate students to explore their meanings for function notation. I developed and adapted tasks aimed at investigating different aspects and uses of function notation. In each interview, I asked the participants to attempt each of the tasks, explaining their thoughts as they worked. While they were working, I occasionally asked clarifying questions to better understand their thought processes. For the second interviews, I added tasks based on difficulties I found in the first interviews. I video recorded each interview for later analysis. Based on the data found in the interviews, I will discuss the seven prevalent ways of thinking that I found, how they hindered or facilitated working with function notation productively, and suggestions for instruction to better help students understand the concept.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Exploring Student Thinking in Novel Linear Relationship Problems

Description

This is a report of a study that investigated the thinking of a high-achieving precalculus student when responding to tasks that required him to define linear formulas to relate covarying

This is a report of a study that investigated the thinking of a high-achieving precalculus student when responding to tasks that required him to define linear formulas to relate covarying quantities. Two interviews were conducted for analysis. A team of us in the mathematics education department at Arizona State University initially identified mental actions that we conjectured were needed for constructing meaningful linear formulas. This guided the development of tasks for the sequence of clinical interviews with one high-performing precalculus student. Analysis of the interview data revealed that in instances when the subject engaged in meaning making that led to him imagining and identifying the relevant quantities and how they change together, he was able to give accurate definitions of variables and was usually able to define a formula to relate the two quantities of interest. However, we found that the student sometimes had difficulty imagining how the two quantities of interest were changing together. At other times he exhibited a weak understanding of the operation of subtraction and the idea of constant rate of change. He did not appear to conceptualize subtraction as a quantitative comparison. His inability to conceptualize a constant rate of change as a proportional relationship between the changes in two quantities also presented an obstacle in his developing a meaningful formula that relied on this understanding. The results further stress the need to develop a student's ability to engage in mental operations that involve covarying quantities and a more robust understanding of constant rate of change since these abilities and understanding are critical for student success in future courses in mathematics.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Understandings of Function Notation and its Impacts on Student Approaches to Problem Solving

Description

The focus of this study was to examine how a student's understanding of function notation impacted their approaches to problem solving. Before this question could be answered, students' understandings about

The focus of this study was to examine how a student's understanding of function notation impacted their approaches to problem solving. Before this question could be answered, students' understandings about function notation had to be determined. The goal of the first part of the data was to determine the norm of understanding for function notation for students after taking a college level pre-calculus class. From the data collected, several ideas about student understanding of notation emerged. The goal of the second data set was to determine if student understanding of notation impacted their reasoning while problem solving, and if so, how it impacted their reasoning. Collected data suggests that much of what students "understand" about function notation comes from memorized procedures and that the notation may have little or no meaning for students in context. Evidence from this study indicates that this lack of understanding of function notation does negatively impact student's ability to solve context based problems. In order to build a strong foundation of function, a well-developed understanding of function notation is necessary. Because function notation is a widely accepted way of communicating information about function relationships, understanding its uses and meanings in context is imperative for developing a strong foundation that will allow individuals to approach functions in a meaningful and productive manner.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Ways of Thinking for Developing an Understanding of Covariational Reasoning in Undergraduate Calculus Students

Description

Previous research discusses students' difficulties in grasping an operational understanding of covariational reasoning. In this study, I interviewed four undergraduate students in calculus and pre-calculus classes to determine their ways

Previous research discusses students' difficulties in grasping an operational understanding of covariational reasoning. In this study, I interviewed four undergraduate students in calculus and pre-calculus classes to determine their ways of thinking when working on an animated covariation problem. With previous studies in mind and with the use of technology, I devised an interview method, which I structured using multiple phases of pre-planned support. With these interviews, I gathered information about two main aspects about students' thinking: how students think when attempting to reason covariationally and which of the identified ways of thinking are most propitious for the development of an understanding of covariational reasoning. I will discuss how, based on interview data, one of the five identified ways of thinking about covariational reasoning is highly propitious, while the other four are somewhat less propitious.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Impact of Teaching an Interdisciplinary Course Introduction of Applied Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences on High School Students' Skills and Attitudes Towards Mathematics in a JBMSHP Summer Program

Description

Research shows that the subject of mathematics, although revered, remains a source of trepidation for many individuals, as they find it difficult to form a connection between the work they

Research shows that the subject of mathematics, although revered, remains a source of trepidation for many individuals, as they find it difficult to form a connection between the work they do on paper and their work's practical applications. This research study describes the impact of teaching a challenging introductive applied mathematics course on high school students' skills and attitudes towards mathematics in a college Summer Program. In the analysis of my research data, I identified several emerging changes in skills and attitudes towards mathematics, skills that high-school students needed or developed when taking the mathematical modeling course. Results indicated that the applied mathematics course had a positive impact on several students' attitudes, in general, such as, self-confidence, meanings of what mathematics is, and their perceptions of what solutions are. It also had a positive impact on several skills, such as translating real-life situations to mathematics via flow diagrams, translating the models' solutions back from mathematics to the real world, and interpreting graphs. Students showed positive results when the context of their problems was applied or graphical, and fewer improvement on problems that were not. Research also indicated some negatives outcomes, a decrease in confidence for certain students, and persistent negative ways of thinking about graphs. Based on these findings, I make recommendations for teaching similar mathematical modeling at the pre-university level, to encourage the development of young students through educational, research and similar mentorship activities, to increase their inspiration and interest in mathematics, and possibly consider a variety of sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics-related (STEM) fields and careers.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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The use of proportional reasoning and rational number concepts by adults in the workplace

Description

Industry, academia, and government have spent tremendous amounts of money over several decades trying to improve the mathematical abilities of students. They have hoped that improvements in students' abilities

Industry, academia, and government have spent tremendous amounts of money over several decades trying to improve the mathematical abilities of students. They have hoped that improvements in students' abilities will have an impact on adults' mathematical abilities in an increasingly technology-based workplace. This study was conducted to begin checking for these impacts. It examined how nine adults in their workplace solved problems that purportedly entailed proportional reasoning and supporting rational number concepts (cognates).

The research focused on four questions: a) in what ways do workers encounter and utilize the cognates while on the job; b) do workers engage cognate problems they encounter at work differently from similar cognate problems found in a textbook; c) what mathematical difficulties involving the cognates do workers experience while on the job, and; d) what tools, techniques, and social supports do workers use to augment or supplant their own abilities when confronted with difficulties involving the cognates.

Noteworthy findings included: a) individual workers encountered cognate problems at a rate of nearly four times per hour; b) all of the workers engaged the cognates primarily via discourse with others and not by written or electronic means; c) generally, workers had difficulty with units and solving problems involving intensive ratios; d) many workers regularly used a novel form of guess & check to produce a loose estimate as an answer; and e) workers relied on the social structure of the store to mitigate the impact and defuse the responsibility for any errors they made.

Based on the totality of the evidence, three hypotheses were discussed: a) the binomial aspect of a conjecture that stated employees were hired either with sufficient mathematical skills or with deficient skills was rejected; b) heuristics, tables, and stand-ins were maximally effective only if workers individually developed them after a need was recognized; and c) distributed cognition was rejected as an explanatory framework by arguing that the studied workers and their environment formed a system that was itself a heuristic on a grand scale.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Searching for the Third R: An Exploration of the Mathematics Experiences of African Americans Born in, and Before 1933

Description

ABSTRACT

The early desire for and the pursuit of literacy are often mentioned in the teeming volumes devoted to African-American history. However, stories, facts, and figures about the acquisition of numeracy

ABSTRACT

The early desire for and the pursuit of literacy are often mentioned in the teeming volumes devoted to African-American history. However, stories, facts, and figures about the acquisition of numeracy by African Americans have not been equally documented.

The focus of this study was to search for the third R, this is the numeracy and mathematics experiences of African Americans who were born in, and before, 1933. The investigation of this generational cadre was pursued in order to develop oral histories and narratives going back to the early 1900s. This study examined formal and informal education and other relevant mathematics-related, lived experiences of unacknowledged and unheralded African Americans, as opposed to the American anomalies of African descent who are most often acknowledged, such as the Benjamin Bannekers, the George Washington Carvers, and other notables.

Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through the use of a survey and interviews. Quantitative results and qualitative findings were blended to present a nuanced perspective of African Americans learning mathematics during a period of Jim Crow, segregation, and discrimination. Their hopes, their fears, their challenges, their aspirations, their successes, and their failures are all tangential to their overall goal of seeking education, including mathematics education, in the early twentieth century. Both formal and informal experiences revealed a picture of life during those times to further enhance the literature regarding the mathematics experiences of African Americans.

Key words: Black students, historical, senior citizens, mathematics education, oral history, narrative, narrative inquiry, socio-cultural theory, Jim Crow

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Mathematics in a second grade classroom: the effects of cognitively guided problem solving

Description

The need for improved mathematics education in many of America's schools that serve students from low income households has been extensively documented. This practical action research study, set in a

The need for improved mathematics education in many of America's schools that serve students from low income households has been extensively documented. This practical action research study, set in a suburban Title I school with a primarily Hispanic, non-native English speaking population, is designed to explore the effects of the progression through a set of problem solving solution strategies on the mathematics problem solving abilities of 2nd grade students. Students worked in class with partners to complete a Cognitively Guided Instruction-style (CGI) mathematics word problem using a dictated solution strategy five days a week for twelve weeks, three or four weeks for each of four solution strategies. The phases included acting out the problem using realia, representing the problem using standard mathematics manipulatives, modeling the problem using a schematic representation, and solving the problem using a number sentence. Data were collected using a five question problem solving pre- and post-assessment, video recorded observations, and Daily Answer Recording Slips or Mathematics Problem Solving Journals. Findings showed that this problem solving innovation was effective in increasing the problem solving abilities of all participants in this study, with an average increase of 63% in the number of pre-assessment to post-assessment questions answered correctly. Additionally, students increased the complexity of solutions used to solve problems and decreased the rate of guessing at answers to word problems. Further rounds of research looking into the direct effects of the MKO are suggested as next steps of research.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Students’ Meanings for Stochastic Process While Developing a Conception of Distribution

Description

The concept of distribution is one of the core ideas of probability theory and inferential statistics, if not the core idea. Many introductory statistics textbooks pay lip service to

The concept of distribution is one of the core ideas of probability theory and inferential statistics, if not the core idea. Many introductory statistics textbooks pay lip service to stochastic/random processes but how do students think about these processes? This study sought to explore what understandings of stochastic process students develop as they work through materials intended to support them in constructing the long-run behavior meaning for distribution.

I collected data in three phases. First, I conducted a set of task-based clinical interviews that allowed me to build initial models for the students’ meanings for randomness and probability. Second, I worked with Bonnie in an exploratory teaching setting through three sets of activities to see what meanings she would develop for randomness and stochastic process. The final phase consisted of me working with Danielle as she worked through the same activities as Bonnie but this time in teaching experiment setting where I used a series of interventions to test out how Danielle was thinking about stochastic processes.

My analysis shows that students can be aware that the word “random” lives in two worlds, thereby having conflicting meanings. Bonnie’s meaning for randomness evolved over the course of the study from an unproductive meaning centered on the emotions of the characters in the context to a meaning that randomness is the lack of a pattern. Bonnie’s lack of pattern meaning for randomness subsequently underpinned her image of stochastic/processes, leading her to engage in pattern-hunting behavior every time she needed to classify a process as stochastic or not. Danielle’s image of a stochastic process was grounded in whether she saw the repetition as being reproducible (process can be repeated, and outcomes are identical to prior time through the process) or replicable (process can be repeated but the outcomes aren’t in the same order as before). Danielle employed a strategy of carrying out several trials of the process, resetting the applet, and then carrying out the process again, making replicability central to her thinking.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019