Karunakaran, S. S.
; Higgins, A.
(Ed.)

Systems of equations is a core topic in linear algebra courses. Solving systems with no or infinitely many solutions tends to be less intuitive for students. In this study, we examined two students’ reasoning about the relationship between the structure of a system of linear equations and its solution set, particularly when creating systems with a certain number of equations and unknowns. Using data from a paired teaching experiment, we found that both students favored the notion of parallel planes, both geometrically and numerically, in the case of a system having no solution or infinitely many solutions. We also found that algebraic or numerical approaches were used as the main way of developing systems with a unique solution, especially in systems with more than two equations and two unknowns. In particular, one student gravitated toward geometric approaches and the other toward algebraic and numerical approaches.

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