Constructing conceptual knowledge and promoting "number sense" from computer-managed practice in rounding whole numbers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study sought to identify how high achievers learn and understand new concepts in arithmetic from computer-based practice which provides full solutions to examples but without verbal explanations. Four high-achieving second graders were observed in their natural school settings throughout all their computer-based practice sessions which involved the concept of rounding whole numbers, a concept which was totally new to them. Immediate post-session interviews inquired into students' strategies for solutions, errors, and their understanding of the underlying mathematical rules. The article describes the process through which the students construct their knowledge of the rounding concepts and the errors and misconceptions encountered in this process. The article identifies the cognitive abilities that promote student self-learning of the rounding concepts, their number concepts and "number sense." Differences in the ability to generalise, "mathematical memory," mindfulness of work and use of cognitive strategies are shown to account for the differences in patterns of, and gains in, learning and in maintaining knowledge among the students involved. Implications for the teaching of estimation concepts and of promoting students' "number sense," as well as for classroom use of computer-based practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-151
Number of pages28
JournalMathematics Education Research Journal
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1993

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