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Repeating patterns and multiplicative thinking: Analysis of classroom interactions with 9-year-old students that support the transition from the known to the novel

Warren, Elizabeth & Cooper, Thomas J. (2007) Repeating patterns and multiplicative thinking: Analysis of classroom interactions with 9-year-old students that support the transition from the known to the novel. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 41/42(2/1), pp. 7-17.

Abstract

In early years' (primary grade) classrooms in Australia repeated patterns are commonly explored as an early introductory activity to mathematics. Most young students have an extensive knowledge of and exhibit success in copying, continuing, creating and transferring patterns into other media. By contrast, research indicates one of the most difficult concepts with which students grapple in their later years of elementary school is the notion of ratio. This article reports on a design (teaching) experiment conducted over a four-lesson period in two classrooms comprising 51 students (average age was 9 years and 6 months) from two middle class State primary schools from two inner city suburbs in Brisbane, Australia. The focus of these lessons was using students' knowledge of repeating patterns, an understanding that traditionally remains in the precinct of early years, to scaffold the introduction of ratio. The theoretical frameworks that underpinned the classroom interactions and learning were the socio-constructivist theory of learning, inquiry-based discourse and the simultaneous use of multi-representations to build new knowledge. The results show that after a short intervention period, repeating patterns can act as effective bridges for introducing the ratio concept. They also show that particular representations and teacher actions assisted students to identify ratio, recognise equivalence between particular ratios, and begin to represent these ideas in abstract notation systems.

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ID Code: 15695
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal's website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
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Keywords: mathematics education, patterns and algebra, classroom interactions, classroom techniques, mathematics teaching, primary school mathematics, ratios (mathematics), scaffolding (teaching technique), teaching methods, primary school students, primary education
ISSN: 0749-4025
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy (130208)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Learning Sciences (130309)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 University of Houston
Deposited On: 24 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:36

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