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How visual representations participate in algebra classes’ mathematical activity. (English)
ZDM, Int. J. Math. Educ. 46, No. 1, 95-107 (2014).
Summary: Our aim is to discuss how a visual display introduced in a classroom activity to represent a specific algebraic procedure is transformed, taking a central role and modifying the ongoing activity. To discuss how visualization comes about in this activity, we describe an illustrative example selected from observations carried out in a 9th grade classroom and analyze the class interaction from a cultural-historical perspective. Our analysis illuminates the tensions that emerge from a difference between the teacher’s way of signifying the algebraic procedure and the students’ overuse of a visual display they associate with it, and how these tensions impel changes in the activity. We further discuss some pros and cons of using visual displays in algebra classes, and we argue that it is very important for the teacher to be aware of them in order to realize the benefits of using such displays.
Classification: H33 D43
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