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ERIC Number: EJ1133293
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0020-739X
Student Teachers' Concept Definitions of Area and Their Understanding about Two-Dimensionality of Area
Tossavainen, Timo; Suomalainen, Hannele; Mäkäläinen, Tomi
International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, v48 n4 p520-532 2017
We examine what kind of concept definitions of area a group of Finnish primary and lower secondary student teachers (N = 82) use, and how the quality of the definitions is associated with the participants' success in seven exercises involving area. We are especially interested in how the understanding of the two-dimensionality of area appears in the participants' responses. Only six student teachers were able to give a mathematically precise and correct definition of area. Altogether 26 participants defined it as "the size of a figure" and 20 respondents required that a figure must be bounded. Further, 22 of them associated area with a formula or an example and eight respondents gave an incorrect or nonsensical definition. On average, student teachers master rather well the area formulae of a circle and a rectangle but already the relationship between the surface area of a cube and its volume is less commonly perceived. Most student teachers associate the area of an irregular domain with the method of exhaustion but clearly fewer of them acknowledge the difference between the area and an approximation of it. Surprisingly, there is only a weak Spearman correlation between the participants' scores in the test exercises and the qualitatively ordered categories of concept definitions.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Finland
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A