ERIC Number: ED410107
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Middle School Students' Understanding of Mathematical Patterns and Their Symbolic Representations.
Bishop, Joyce Wolfer
This study explores seventh- and eighth-grade students' thinking about mathematical patterns. Interviews were conducted in which students solved problems about sequential perimeter and area problems modeled with pattern blocks and tiles, generalized the relationships related to the patterns and represented the relationships symbolically, identified other valid symbolic expressions of the pattern, and encountered equation-evoking situations. Research questions pertained to the strategies middle school students use to reason when solving pattern problems, symbolic representations the students develop, the students' interpretations of symbolic representations, and the students' strategies for solving equation-evoking situations. The results of this study support the use of mathematical patterns to promote algebraic reasoning and provide descriptions of middle school students' reasoning as they engage in solving a specific type of pattern problem. Findings also suggest that experience exploring the relationships in sequential perimeter and area patterns may help students develop an appreciation for the meaning of expression. Contains 16 references. (DDR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).