Learning algebra through motion: An examination of pre-service teachers’ misconceptions when using motion detectors for the first time

Kurz T. L., YANIK H. B.

Investigations in Mathematics Learning, vol.11, no.1, pp.44-55, 2019 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/19477503.2017.1375360
  • Journal Name: Investigations in Mathematics Learning
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.44-55
  • Keywords: Algebraic thinking, motion detectors, pre-service teachers, technology
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


© 2017, © 2017 Research Council on Mathematics Learning.Elementary pre-service teachers in an upper-division algebra mathematics content course explored graphing through the use of Calculator-Based Rangers™ (CBRs). This study explores how they used the Distance Match feature of the technology to engage in algebraic thinking. Operating CBR technology, pre-service teachers’ perceptions regarding how position/time graphs represent algebraic concepts was explored with an emphasis on physical movement. Using an inductive approach for qualitative data, the pre-service teachers’ reflections regarding the use of CBRs were analyzed. Specifically, patterns and structures were discovered through coding of the pre-service teachers’ raw descriptions of their movements. Using the data sources (a reflection and assignment), the results showed increased understanding and beneficial affordances with the use of CBRs. However, the pre-service teachers failed to connect the graphs thoroughly to numeric representations and described slope only superficially. For example, movement was not contextualized using numbers but rather using verbal descriptions. Implications are provided for the integration of CBRs as tools for enhancing pre-service teachers’ knowledge for teaching mathematics with technologies.