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ERIC Number: ED501140
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Jul
Pages: 8
Abstractor: Author
Remedying Secondary School Students' Illusion of Linearity: A Teaching Experiment
Van Dooren, Wim; De Bock, Dirk; Hessels, An; Janssens, Dirk; Verschaffel, Lieven
International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Paper presented at the 27th International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education Conference Held Jointly with the 25th PME-NA Conference (Honolulu, HI, Jul 13-18, 2003), v4 p331-338
Previous research has shown that many secondary school students improperly apply linear models when solving non-linear problems involving lengths, area and volume of similar plane figures and solids. This phenomenon is called the "illusion of linearity". This paper presents a teaching experiment in which we developed and tested a learning environment to help students overcome the illusion of linearity. The experiment was successful in improving students' performance on non-linear problems, but this improvement was disappointingly small. Moreover, there was a decline in students' performance on linear problems. So, the experiment was not successful in developing in students a profound conceptual understanding of proportional and non-proportional relations, which includes the disposition to distinguish between situations that can and cannot be modelled linearly. (Contains 2 endnotes, 2 figures and 3 tables.) [For complete proceedings, see ED500860.]
International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. 35 Aandwind Street, Kirstenhof, Cape Town, 7945, South Africa. Tel: +27-21-715-3559; Fax: +27-88-021-715-3559; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Grade 8; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A