The moment-to-moment dynamics of student discourse plays a large role in students' enacted mathematics identities. Discourse analysis was used to describe meaningful discursive patterns in the interactions of 2 students in a 7th-grade, technology-based, curricular unit (SimCalc MathWorlds®) and to show how mathematics identities are enacted at the microlevel. Frameworks were theoretically and empirically connected to identity to characterize the participants' relative positioning and the structural patterns in their discourse (e.g., who talks, who initiates sequences, whose ideas are taken up and publicly recognized). Data indicated that students' peer-to-peer discourse patterns explained the enactment of differing mathematics identities within the same local context. Thus, the ways people talk and interact are powerful influences on who they are, and can become, with respect to mathematics.
Ian Whitacre, Jessica Pierson Bishop, Randolph A. Philipp, Lisa L. Lamb and Bonnie P. Schappelle
A story problem about borrowing money may be represented with positive or negative numbers and thought about in different ways. Learn to identify and value these different perspectives.
research matters for teachers
Lisa L. Lamb, Jessica Pierson Bishop, Randolph A. Philipp, Bonnie P. Schappelle, Ian Whitacre and Mindy Lewis
Research on how students make sense of and use the minus sign indicates that students struggle to understand the multiple meanings of this symbol. Teachers can support students in developing a robust understanding of each interpretation.
Jessica Pierson Bishop, Lisa L. Lamb, Randolph A. Philipp, Ian Whitacre and Bonnie P. Schappelle
Reasoning about integers provides students with rich opportunities to look for and make use of structure.
Jessica Pierson Bishop, Lisa L. C. Lamb, Randolph A. Philipp, Bonnie P. Schappelle and Ian Whitacre
Find zero minus four? Pascal argued it was impossible! Twenty-first-century students, given the right tools, can solve counterintuitive problems.
Lisa L. Lamb, Jessica Pierson Bishop, Randolph A. Philipp, Ian Whitacre and Bonnie P. Schappelle
In a cross-sectional study, 160 students in Grades 2, 4, 7, and 11 were interviewed about their reasoning when solving integer addition and subtraction open-numbersentence problems. We applied our previously developed framework for 5 Ways of Reasoning (WoRs) to our data set to describe patterns within and across participant groups. Our analysis of the WoRs also led to the identification of 3 problem types: change-positive, all-negatives, and counterintuitive. We found that problem type influenced student performance and tended to evoke a different way of reasoning. We showed that those with more experience with negative numbers use WoRs more flexibly than those with less experience and that flexibility is correlated with accuracy. We provide 3 types of resources for educators: (a) WoRs and problem-types frameworks, (b) characterization of flexibility with integer addition and subtraction, and (c) development of a trajectory of learning about integers.
Jessica Pierson Bishop, Lisa L. Lamb, Randolph A. Philipp, Ian Whitacre, Bonnie P. Schappelle and Melinda L. Lewis
We identify and document 3 cognitive obstacles, 3 cognitive affordances, and 1 type of integer understanding that can function as either an obstacle or affordance for learners while they extend their numeric domains from whole numbers to include negative integers. In particular, we highlight 2 key subsets of integer reasoning: understanding or knowledge that may, initially, interfere with one's learning integers (which we call cognitive obstacles) and understanding or knowledge that may afford progress in understanding and operating with integers (which we call cognitive affordances). We analyzed historical mathematical writings related to integers as well as clinical interviews with children ages 6-10 to identify critical, persistent cognitive obstacles and powerful ways of thinking that may help learners to overcome obstacles.