Mathematical contexts and the perception of meaning in algebraic symbols. (English)

Owens, D.T. et al., 17. annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME-NA XVII). Proceedings. Vol. 1. ,. 147-151 (1995).

This paper presents an analysis of the different types of meanings that an individual may assign to a collection of algebraic symbols depending on the mathematical context in which the symbols are presented and the mathematical knowledge possessed by that individual. Four contexts for the Quadratic Theorem are used to illustrate the ways in which generalization and abstraction develop the meaning of algebraic entities by changing focus from process to structure. (orig.)