ERIC Number: ED489663
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jul
How Do High School Students Interpret Parameters in Algebra?
Ursini, Sonia; Trigueros, Maria
International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 28th, Bergen, Norway, July 14-18, 2004
This paper presents an analysis of high school and starting college students' work with algebraic expressions and problems involving parameters. We suggest that parameters should be considered as general numbers that are used to make second order generalizations. The Three Uses of Variable model (3UV model) is then used as theoretical framework to analyse students' interpretation, symbolisation and manipulation of parameters in different contexts. We found that, in general, students had great difficulties in working with parameters but, when they could assign a clear meaning to them, their difficulties decreased. Our results suggest that parameters are general numbers that acquire a clear algebraic meaning only when a specific referent can be given to them. [For complete proceedings, see ED489597.]
Descriptors: High School Students, Algebra, College Students, Models, Problem Solving, Mathematics Instruction, Symbols (Mathematics)
International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 35 Aandwind Street, Kirstenhof, Cape Town, 7945, South Africa. Web site: http://igpme.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A