Starting around fifth grade, students are expected to represent and reason about various mathematical concepts (e.g., geometrical shapes, equations, and functions, etc.) using the Cartesian plane. However, the Cartesian plane is often taken for granted and students are assumed to develop proficiency in using the Cartesian plane in relatively unproblematic ways.
My research has focused on understanding how students construct and make sense of coordinate systems, the foundational structure underlying graphs. I will (a) present a distinction between two types of coordinate systems that has guided my research activities, (b) present results from a textbook analysis of middle school textbooks using this distinction, and (c) discuss implications for teaching and curriculum development.
Key words: Coordinate system, graph, student thinking
Hwa Young Lee. PhD. in Mathematics Education. University of Georgia
Assistant professor. Texas States University
Hwa Young Lee, a former middle school and high school math teacher from Seoul, Korea, is an assistant professor at Texas State University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education at the University of Georgia. Her main research interest is in building conceptual models of how students think mathematically—specifically, students’ construction and use of coordinate systems involved in their spatial and quantitative reasoning—and in learning how teachers can facilitate and support their students’ mathematical thinking.