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ERIC Number: EJ1140420
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jun
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1954
A Progression in First-Grade Children's Thinking about Variable and Variable Notation in Functional Relationships
Blanton, Maria; Brizuela, Bárbara M.; Gardiner, Angela Murphy; Sawrey, Katie; Newman-Owens, Ashley
Educational Studies in Mathematics, v95 n2 p181-202 Jun 2017
Recent research suggests that children in elementary grades have some facility with variable and variable notation in ways that warrant closer attention. We report here on an empirically developed progression in first-grade children's thinking about these concepts in functional relationships. Using learning trajectories research as a framework for the study, we developed and implemented an instructional sequence designed to foster children's understanding of functional relationships. Findings suggest that young children can learn to think in sophisticated ways about variable quantities and variable notation. This challenges assumptions that young children are not "ready" for a study of such concepts and raises the question of whether difficulties adolescents exhibit might be ameliorated by an earlier introduction to these ideas.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 1; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL1154355