A Conceptual Approach for Teaching Functions to Middle School Students
This study was to test whether middle school students develop a better understanding of the function concept by using the graphing calculator in a collaborative setting with real-world problems than students who are taught by a procedural approach using the graphing calculator. Furthermore, this study was designed to determine whether students acquire a better attitude towards mathematics when they are taught through contextual activities versus procedural skills. The framework for this study was research by Brian O'Callaghan and by Jo Boaler on alternative approaches to instruction and its effect on students' understanding of the function concept. In this study, the statistical evidence showed that students taught by the conceptual approach had a better overall understanding of the function concept than the procedural students. While both groups had no statistical differences in their attitudes towards mathematics, they felt that the graphing calculator had enhanced their ability to understand the function concept.
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