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Negative Integer Understanding: Characterizing First Graders’ Mental Models

Laura Bofferding 

March 2014, Volume 45, Issue 2, Page 194

This article presents results of a research study. Sixty-one first graders’ responses to interview questions about negative integer values and order and directed magnitudes were examined to characterize the students’ mental models. The models reveal that initially, students overrelied on various combinations of whole-number principles as they tried to understand negative integers. However, a significant number of students later developed formal mental models.