Seminar Carolien Duijzer, Utrecht University/Marnix Academie
Title – Moving towards understanding: reasoning about graphs in primary mathematics education
12 november 2020 – 15:30-17:00
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During my PhD I focused on stimulating fifth-grade students’ reasoning with motion graphs, as an approach to incorporate higher-order thinking (HOT) in mathematics activities in primary school. The graphing of motion – including both graph interpretation and graph construction activities – is rarely addressed in mathematics textbooks, although there is ample evidence that students at this age can deal with representations in which motion data are visualized. Students’ reasoning about motion graphs could potentially benefit from the incorporation of bodily experiences during graph-related activities. The idea that bodily experiences – including touching, gesturing, perception, and moving one’s whole body – are relevant to the field of mathematics, can be positioned within contemporary work on embodied cognition.
In my talk I will present some of the insights gained during my PhD research. First, I will focus on the theoretical relevance of embodied cognition theories for mathematics thinking and learning, by taking into account the foundational role of bodily experiences, as concrete activities, for cognition and mathematical activity. Second, I will focus on the evaluation of the learning environment that was developed in the context of our research, consisting of a six-lesson teaching sequence incorporating embodied activities related to graphing – both graph interpretation and graph construction – using motion-detecting graphing technology.