Intuitions on functions

Tommy Dreyfus, Theodore Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A theoretical model is presented for commencing a systematic assessment of students’ intuitions on the mathematical notion of functions. This model considers functions in terms of a three-dimensional block, with specific function settings running along its x-axis, function topics running along its y-axis, and levels of abstraction running along its z-axis. Questionnaire booklets assessing specific notions of a function were written and administered to 127 junior high school students. It was found that high ability students tended toward a graphical approach to the notions, while low ability students were attracted to pictorial and tabular presentations of the notions. The model and its implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1984
Externally publishedYes


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