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November 2007, Volume 38, Issue 5

FEATURES

Effects of Early Field Experiences on the Mathematical Content Knowledge and Beliefs of Prospective Elementary School Teachers: An Experimental Study
Randolph A. Philipp, Rebecca Ambrose, Lisa L.C. Lamb, Judith T. Sowder, Bonnie P. Schappelle, Larry Sowder, Eva Thanheiser, Jennifer Chauvot
In this experimental study, prospective elementary school teachers enrolled in a mathematics course were randomly assigned to (a) concurrently learn about children's mathematical thinking by watching children on video or working directly with children, (b) concurrently visit elementary school classrooms of conveniently located or specially selected teachers, or (c) a control group. Those who studied children's mathematical thinking while learning mathematics developed more sophisticated beliefs about mathematics, teaching, and learning and improved their mathematical content knowledge more than those who did not.    

The Mathematical Disposition of Structural Engineers
Julie Gainsburg
This ethnographic study investigated the mathematical disposition of engineers. Structural   engineers in two firms were observed in everyday practice. Observation and interview data were analyzed to elucidate the role of mathematics in solving engineering problems and the engineers' perceptions of the status of mathematics relative to other resources and constraints. The phenomenon of "engineering judgment" was found to shape the role of mathematics in engineering work and render the engineers' mathematical disposition—of "skeptical reverence"—distinct from the disposition currently developed in schools.   

Perceiving the General: The Multisemiotic Dimension of Students' Algebraic Activity
Luis Radford, Caroline Bardino, Cristina Sabena
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 2007, Vol. 38, No. 5, 507–530 Perceiving the General: The Multisemiotic Dimension of Students Algebraic Activity Luis Radford and Caroline Bardini Universit Laurentienne, Canada Cristina Sabena Universit di Torino, Italy In this article, we deal with students algebraic gene

Middle School and High School Students’ Probabilistic Reasoning on Coin Tasks
Laurie H. Rubel
This article describes a subset of results from a larger study (Rubel, 2002) that explored middle school and high school students’ probabilistic reasoning abilities across a variety of probabilistic contexts and constructs. Students in grades 5, 7, 9, and 11 at an urban, private school for boys (n = 173) completed a Probability Inventory, comprising adapted tasks from the research literature, which required students to provide answers as well as justifications of their responses. Supplemental clinical interviews were conducted with 33 students to provide further detail about their reasoning. This article focuses specifically on the probabilistic constructs of compound events and independence in the context of coin tossing.