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ERIC Number: EJ980988
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0036-6803
Problems Identifying Independent and Dependent Variables
Leatham, Keith R.
School Science and Mathematics, v112 n6 p349-358 Oct 2012
This paper discusses one step from the scientific method--that of identifying independent and dependent variables--from both scientific and mathematical perspectives. It begins by analyzing an episode from a middle school mathematics classroom that illustrates the need for students and teachers alike to develop a robust understanding of independent and dependent variables. It then outlines four rationales (two from science and two from mathematics) for identifying independent and dependent variables. Finally, it reports the results of a textbook analysis that used these rationales to examine the extent to which typical mathematics textbook problems support or supplant a sensible view of independent and dependent variables. The findings indicate that often, mathematics textbook problems misrepresent the sense-making aspect of identifying independent and dependent variables, possibly setting students up to develop misconceptions about this step from the scientific method. (Contains 3 tables, 2 figures, and 9 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A