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Generalizing-Promoting Actions: How Classroom Collaborations Can Support Students’ Mathematical Generalizations

Amy B. Ellis 

July 2011, Volume 42, Issue 4, Page 308

Generalization is a critical component of mathematical activity and has garnered increased attention in school mathematics at all levels. This study documents the multiple interrelated processes that support productive generalizing in classroom settings. By studying the situated actions of 6 middle school students and their teacher–researcher working on a 3-week unit on quadratic growth that can be represented as y = ax2, the study identified 7 major categories of generalization-promoting actions. These actions represent how teachers and students can act in interaction with other agents to foster students’ generalizing activities.