Mathematical embodiment through robotics activities
Keith Victor Adolphson, The University of Oklahoma, United States
The University of Oklahoma . Awarded
This naturalistic phenomenological study looked at the emergence of mathematical understanding in middle school students as they engaged in open-ended robotics activities. The study chronicled the mathematics they used, the mathematics they perceived themselves to be using, and the opportunities for the embodiment of mathematics understandings as they engaged in meaningful open-ended problem solving activities using robots. In addition, the study sought to understand how the students cooperatively organized their efforts and negotiated meaning as they solved complex tasks.
The robotics activities portrayed in this study exemplify rich tasks that appear accessible to students of varied abilities. This accessibility potentially may provide an avenue for addressing equity issues in education, such as those related to gender, minority status, and learning disabilities. The accessibility of the robotics activities is also important since robotics activities have the potential to provide a meaningful context for the study of mathematics in a transformative mathematics curriculum. In this study, the students' choices influenced the complexity of the mathematics that emerged from the activities. Robotics seems to exemplify an appropriate use of technology to create meaningful, open-ended, problem solving activities. Further research is required in order to adapt these types of robotics activities into the in-school context as part of a transformative mathematics curriculum.
Adolphson, K.V. Mathematical embodiment through robotics activities. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Oklahoma.
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