Cook, S.
; Katz, B.
; Moore-Russo, D.
(Ed.)

The method of Least Square Approximation is an important topic in some linear algebra classes. Despite this, little is known about how students come to understand it, particularly in a Realistic Mathematics Education setting. Here, we report on how students used literal symbols and equations when solving a least squares problem in a travel scenario, as well as their reflections on the least squares equation in an open-ended written question. We found students used unknowns and parameters in a variety of ways. We highlight how their use of dot product equations can be helpful towards supporting their understanding of the least squares equation.

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