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Using a functional model to develop a mathematical formula. (English)
Sch. Sci. Math. 108, No. 6, 228-237 (2008).
Summary: The unifying theme of models was incorporated into a required Science Capstone course for pre-service elementary teachers based on national standards in science and mathematics. A model of a teeter-totter was selected for use as an example of a functional model for gathering data as well as a visual model of a mathematical equation for developing the mathematical relationship for a Class 1 lever, M1D1=M2D2. In this study, 20 student groups (n=72) collected data using the model in an inquiry-based activity. All groups developed the qualitative relationship, 13 groups developed a correct mathematical formula, 6 groups developed one-half of the relationship (X = mass x distance), and 1 group attempted to develop a procedural relationship. The pre-service elementary teachers used a variety of model types in the activity including visual/pictorial, functional/physical and mathematical-both graphs and formulas. The use of the teeter-totter model as a visual and functional model of a mathematical formula was a factor in developing the mathematical relationship. (ERIC)
Classification: B50 M19 C79
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