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Teaching the substitutive conception of the equals sign

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journal contribution
posted on 20.06.2013 by Ian Jones, Matthew Inglis, Camilla Gilmore, Rhys Evans
A cumulative body of research has shown that children typically shift from an operational to a relational conception of the equals sign as they move through schooling. Jones (2008) argued that a truly relational conception of the equals sign comprises a substitutive component and a sameness component. Here we present two studies that build on this argument. The first investigated how the equals sign is typically presented to primary children in England, and we report that in the main an operational conception seems to be promoted. The second study measured the impact of a specially designed intervention on early secondary children's conceptions of the equals sign. Pre- and post-test data revealed that the intervention promoted substitutive and sameness components of symbolic equivalence. We consider the theoretical and pedagogical implications of the results.
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Funding

This project was funded by a grant from the Esme´e Fairbairn Foundation. Ian Jones is supported by a Royal Society Shuttleworth Educational Research Fellowship, Matthew Inglis. is supported by a Royal Society Worshipful Company of Actuaries Educational Research Fellowship, and Camilla Gilmore is supported by a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship.

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Citation

JONES, I. ... et al, 2013. Teaching the substitutive conception of the equals sign. Research in Mathematics Education, 15 (1), pp.34-49.

Publisher

Routledge (Taylor & Francis) / © 2013 Copyright British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date

2013

ISSN

1479-4802

eISSN

1754-0178

Language

en

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