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ERIC Number: ED501160
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Jul
Pages: 8
Abstractor: Author
Undergraduate Students' Mental Operations in Systems of Differential Equations
Whitehead, Karen; Rasmussen, Chris
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 p411-418
This paper reports on research conducted to understand undergraduate students' ways of reasoning about systems of differential equations (SDEs). As part of a semester long classroom teaching experiment in a first course in differential equations, we conducted task-based interviews with six students after their study of first order differential equations and prior to instruction on SDEs in order to obtain baseline data on their conceptual resources for SDEs. Interpretative analysis of the interview data generated the following three themes pertaining to student reasoning in situations dealing with SDEs. First, students used their conception of rate as a reasoning tool. Second, students used quantification as a mental operation, and third, students enacted what we call a function-variable scheme in their efforts. [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 - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A