When tables become function tables. (English)

van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, Marja, Proceedings of the 25th conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. Vol. 4. , (ISBN 90-74684-16-5). 145-152 (2001).

This study explores third-grade students’ strategies for dealing with function tables and linear functions as they participate in activities aimed at bringing out the algebraic character of arithmetic. We found that the students typically did not focus upon the invariant relationship across columns when completing tables. We introduced several changes in the table structure to encourage them to focus on the functional relationship implicit in the tables. With a guess-my-rule game and function-mapping notation we brought functions explicitly into discussion. Under such conditions nine-year-old students meaningfully used algebraic notation to describe functions. (orig.)