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“Never carry out any arithmetic”: the importance of structure in developing algebraic thinking

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conference contribution
posted on 27.01.2020, 09:27 by Dave HewittDave Hewitt
The use of tasks which ask learners to find general rules for growing figural patterns is widely reported in the algebra research literature. Such tasks are sometimes seen as a way to develop early algebra thinking. This paper looks at examples of such activities from the literature and presents a theoretical argument against the common practice of learners creating a table of values and seeking patterns within the numbers. Instead an argument is made for learners to focus on more complex examples where learners are discouraged from counting and turning the original figures into numbers. Instead, it is suggested that learners seek structure within complex examples and express what they see without carrying out any arithmetic but instead just writing down what arithmetic they would do.

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Pages

558 - 565

Source

Eleventh Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education

Publisher

Freudenthal Group & Freudenthal Institute, Utrecht University and ERME

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© the Authors

Acceptance date

11/04/2019

Publication date

2019-12-18

ISBN

9789073346758

Language

en

Editor(s)

UT Jankvist; M Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, M.; M Veldhuis

Location

Utrecht, the Netherlands

Event dates

5th February 2019 - 10th February 2019

Depositor

Dr Dave Hewitt Deposit date: 24 January 2020

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