A Learning Trajectory in 6-Year-Olds’ Thinking About Generalizing Functional Relationships
The study of
functions is a critical route into teaching and learning algebra in the
elementary grades, yet important questions remain regarding the nature of young
children’s understanding of functions. This article reports an empirically
developed learning trajectory in first-grade children’s (6-year-olds’) thinking
about generalizing functional relationships. Findings suggest that children can
learn to think in quite sophisticated and generalized ways about relationships
in function data, thus challenging the typical curricular approach in the lower
elementary grades in which children consider only variation in a single
sequence of values.
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