- A Case Study on Students' Mathematical Concepts of Algebra, Connections and Attitudes toward Mathematics in a CAS Environment
- Park, Hui-Jeong ; Kim, Kyung-Mi ; Whang, Woo-Hyung ;
- Communications of Mathematical Education, volume 25, issue 2, 2011, Pages 403~430
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to investigate how the use of graphing calculators influence on forming students' mathematical concept of algebra, students' mathematical connection, and attitude toward mathematics. First, graphing calculators give instant feedback to students as they make students compare their written answers with the results, which helps students learn equations and linear inequalities for themselves. In respect of quadratic inequalities they help students to correct wrong concepts and understand fundamental concepts, and with regard to functions students can draw graphs more easily using graphing calculators, which means that the difficulty of drawing graphs can not be hindrance to student's learning functions. Moreover students could understand functions intuitively by using graphing calculators and explored math problems volunteerly. As a result, students were able to perceive faster the concepts of functions that they considered difficult and remain the concepts in their mind for a long time. Second, most of students could not think of connection among equations, equalities and functions. However, they could understand the connection among equations, equalities and functions more easily. Additionally students could focus on changing the real life into the algebraic expression by modeling without the fear of calculating, which made students relieve the burden of calculating and realize the usefulness of mathematics through the experience of solving the real-life problems. Third, we identified the change of six students' attitude through preliminary and an ex post facto attitude test. Five of six students came to have positive attitude toward mathematics, but only one student came to have negative attitude. However, all of the students showed positive attitude toward using graphing calculators in math class. That's because they could have more interest in mathematics by the strengthened and visualization of graphing calculators which helped them understand difficult algebraic concepts, which gave them a sense of achievement. Also, students could relieve the burden of calculating and have confidence. In a conclusion, using graphing calculators in algebra and function class has many advantages : formulating mathematics concepts, mathematical connection, and enhancing positive attitude toward mathematics. Therefore we need more research of the effect of using calculators, practical classroom materials, instruction models and assessment tools for graphing calculators. Lastly We need to make the classroom environment more adequate for using graphing calculators in math classes.