- Investigating Forms of Understandings in the Context of Trigonometry
- Delice, Ali ; Adatoz-Sidi, Berna ; Aydin, Emin ;
- Research in Mathematical Education, volume 13, issue 2, 2009, Pages 151~170
Abstract
This study reports a research which was conducted on how frequently and where the students use the unit circle method while dealing with trigonometric functions in solving the trigonometry questions. Moreover, the reasons behind the choice of the methods, which could be the unit circle method, the ratio method, or the use of trigonometric identities, are also investigated to get an insight about their understanding. In this study, the relationship between the students' choices of methods in solving questions is examined in terms of instrumental or relational understanding. This is a multi-method research which involves a range of research strategies. The research techniques used in this study are test, verbal protocol (think aloud), and interview. The test has been applied to ten tenth grade students of a public school to get students' solution processes on the paper. Later on, verbal protocol has been performed with three students of these ten who were of the upper, middle and lower sets in terms of their performance in the test. The aim was to get much deeper data on the students' thinking and reasoning. Finally, interview questions have been asked both these three students and other three from the initial ten students to question the reasons behind their answers to the trigonometry questions. Findings in general suggest that students voluntarily choose to learn instrumentally whose reasons include teachers' and students' preference for the easier option and the anxiety resulting from the external exam pressure.