Ideas Foundational to Calculus Learning and Their Links to Students' Difficulties

Abstract: Existing literature reviews of calculus learning made an important contribution to our understanding of the development of mathematics education research in this area, particularly their documentation of how research transitioned from studying students' misconceptions to investigating students' understanding and ways of thinking per se. This paper has three main goals relative to this contribution. The first goal is to offer a conceptual analysis of how students' difficulties surveyed in three major literature review publications originate in the mathematical meanings and ways of thinking students develop in elementary, middle and early high school. The second goal is to highlight a contribution to an important aspect that the articles in this issue make but was overshadowed by other aspects addressed in existing literature reviews: the nature of the mathematics students experience under the name "calculus" in various nations or regions around the world, and the relation of this mathematics to ways ideas foundational to it are developed over the grades. The third goal is to outline research questions entailed from these articles for future research regarding each of them. (Click here for article)

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Pat Thompson & Guershon Harel

11.06.2021

Ideas Foundational to Calculus Learning and Their Links to Students' Difficulties

Abstract: Existing literature reviews of calculus learning made an important contribution to our understanding of the development of mathematics education research in this area, particularly their documentation of how research transitioned from studying students' misconceptions to investigating students' understanding and ways of thinking per se. This paper has three main goals relative to this contribution. The first goal is to offer a conceptual analysis of how students' difficulties surveyed in three major literature review publications originate in the mathematical meanings and ways of thinking students develop in elementary, middle and early high school. The second goal is to highlight a contribution to an important aspect that the articles in this issue make but was overshadowed by other aspects addressed in existing literature reviews: the nature of the mathematics students experience under the name "calculus" in various nations or regions around the world, and the relation of this mathematics to ways ideas foundational to it are developed over the grades. The third goal is to outline research questions entailed from these articles for future research regarding each of them. (Click here for article)