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ERIC Number: EJ800616
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0732-3123
Students' Conceptual Understanding of a Function and Its Derivative in an Experimental Calculus Course
Habre, Samer; Abboud, May
Journal of Mathematical Behavior, v25 n1 p57-72 2006
Calculus has been witnessing fundamental changes in its curriculum, with an increased emphasis on visualization. This mode for representing mathematical concepts is gaining more strength due to the advances in computer technology and the development of dynamical mathematical software. This paper focuses on the understanding of the function and its derivative as viewed by students of a reformed Calculus 1 course offered in two experimental sections at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Results have shown that the general approach adopted in the course proved to be unpopular for a great majority of the students, but rewarding for others. Interviews conducted with some students and a study of their performance on very specific exam questions reveal that for most students, the algebraic representation of a function still dominated their thinking; however, these students showed an almost complete understanding of the derivative, particularly the idea of the instantaneous rate of change and/or the slope of a curve at a given point. Furthermore, very few of these students referred to the mechanical methods for finding derivatives. (Contains 6 figures and 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Lebanon