Neither even nor odd: Sixth grade students' dilemmas regarding the parity of zero

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Abstract

This study investigates two sixth grade students' dilemmas regarding the parity of zero. Both students originally claimed that zero was neither even nor odd. Interviews revealed a conflict between students' formal definitions of even numbers and their concept images of even numbers, zero, and division. These images were supported by practically based explanations relying on everyday contexts. By using mathematically based explanations that rely solely on mathematical notions, students were able to correctly conclude that zero is an even number. Extending the natural number system in elementary school to include zero can be used as springboard to encourage the use of mathematically based explanations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-95
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Mathematical Behavior
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Elementary school
  • Explanations
  • Mathematically based and practically based explanations
  • Parity
  • Zero

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