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ERIC Number: EJ1061490
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 49
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 119
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8251
The Semiotic Structure of Geometry Diagrams: How Textbook Diagrams Convey Meaning
Dimmel, Justin K.; Herbst, Patricio G.
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, v46 n2 p147-195 Mar 2015
Geometry diagrams use the visual features of specific drawn objects to convey meaning about generic mathematical entities. We examine the semiotic structure of these visual features in two parts. One, we conduct a semiotic inquiry to conceptualize geometry diagrams as mathematical texts that comprise choices from different semiotic systems. Two, we use the semiotic catalog that results from this inquiry to analyze 2,300 diagrams from 22 high school geometry textbooks in which the dates of publication span the 20th century. In the first part of the article, we identify axes along which the features of geometry diagrams can vary, and in the second part of the article, we show the viability of using the semiotic framework to conduct empirical studies of diagrams in geometry textbooks.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: ESI-0353285