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ERIC Number: EJ1122683
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0020-739X
Students' Challenges with Polar Functions: Covariational Reasoning and Plotting in the Polar Coordinate System
Habre, Samer
International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, v48 n1 p48-66 2017
Covariational reasoning has been the focus of many studies but only a few looked into this reasoning in the polar coordinate system. In fact, research on student's familiarity with polar coordinates and graphing in the polar coordinate system is scarce. This paper examines the challenges that students face when plotting polar curves using the corresponding plot in the Cartesian plane. In particular, it examines how students coordinate the covariation in the polar coordinate system with the covariation in the Cartesian one. The research, which was conducted in a sophomore level Calculus class at an American university operating in Lebanon, investigates in addition the challenges when students synchronize the reasoning between the two coordinate systems. For this, the mental actions that students engage in when performing covariational tasks are examined. Results show that coordinating the value of one polar variable with changes in the other was well achieved. Coordinating the direction of change of one variable with changes in the other variable was more challenging for students especially when the radial distance r is negative.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Lebanon
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A