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Cook, S. ; Katz, B. ; MooreRusso, 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 openended 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.more » « less

Cook, S. ; Katz, B. ; MooreRusso, D. (Ed.)We discuss two Dynamic Geometry Software applets designed as part of an InquiryOriented instructional unit on determinants and share students' generalizations based on using the applet. Using the instructional design theory of Realistic Mathematics Education, our team developed a task sequence supporting students' guided reinvention of determinants. This unit leverages students' understanding of matrix transformations as distortion of space to meaningfully connect determinants to the transformation as the signed multiplicative change in area that objects in the domain undergo from the linear transformation. The applets are intended to provide students with feedback to help connect changes in the matrix to changes in the visualization of the linear transformation and, so, to changes in the determinant. Critically, the materials ask students to make generalizations while reflecting on their experiences using the applets. We discuss patterns among these generalizations and implications they have on the applets' design.more » « less

Cook, S. ; Katz, B. ; MooreRusso, D. (Ed.)We discuss two Dynamic Geometry Software applets designed as part of an InquiryOriented instructional unit on determinants and share students' generalizations based on using the applet. Using the instructional design theory of Realistic Mathematics Education, our team developed a task sequence supporting students' guided reinvention of determinants. This unit leverages students' understanding of matrix transformations as distortion of space to meaningfully connect determinants to the transformation as the signed multiplicative change in area that objects in the domain undergo from the linear transformation. The applets are intended to provide students with feedback to help connect changes in the matrix to changes in the visualization of the linear transformation and, so, to changes in the determinant. Critically, the materials ask students to make generalizations while reflecting on their experiences using the applets. We discuss patterns among these generalizations and implications they have on the applets' design.more » « less

Cook, S. ; Katz, B. ; MooreRusso, D. (Ed.)We discuss two Dynamic Geometry Software applets designed as part of an InquiryOriented instructional unit on determinants and share students' generalizations based on using the applet. Using the instructional design theory of Realistic Mathematics Education, our team developed a task sequence supporting students' guided reinvention of determinants. This unit leverages students' understanding of matrix transformations as distortion of space to meaningfully connect determinants to the transformation as the signed multiplicative change in area that objects in the domain undergo from the linear transformation. The applets are intended to provide students with feedback to help connect changes in the matrix to changes in the visualization of the linear transformation and, so, to changes in the determinant. Critically, the materials ask students to make generalizations while reflecting on their experiences using the applets. We discuss patterns among these generalizations and implications they have on the applets' design.more » « less

Cook, S. ; Katz, B. ; MooreRusso, 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 openended 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.more » « less

Cook, S. ; Katz, B. ; MooreRusso, 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 openended 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.more » « less

Karunakaran, S. S. ; Higgins, A. (Ed.)Interdisciplinary studies illuminate ways mathematics is incorporated into core STEM courses. Vector normalization is a crosscutting idea that appears in several mathematics and physics courses. The research question pursued in this study is: how do quantum physics students reason about normalization of vectors from ℝ2 and ℂ2, before and after quantum mechanics instruction? The data are analyzed using the theory of coordination classes (diSessa & Sherin, 1998). Results focus on students’ thinking as they normalize different types of vectors: (A) a real vector and (B) a complex vector before instruction; and (C) a complex vector after instruction. Analysis identifies the ideas students coordinate when problem solving, which problem aspects students attend to, and how students take up or disregard ideas while they problem solve.more » « less

Karunakaran. S. S. ; Higgins, A. (Ed.)We present the results of a classroom teaching experiment for a recently designed unit for the InquiryOriented Linear Algebra (IOLA) curriculum. The new unit addresses orthogonality and least squares using Realistic Mathematics Education design principles with the intent to implement the new unit in an IOI (InquiryOriented Instruction)style classroom. We present an analysis of students’ written responses to characterize how they thought about the notion of shortest distance, travel vectors, orthogonality, and dot product in the “Meeting Gauss” context.more » « less

Karunakaran, S. ; & Higgins, A. (Ed.)We present the results of a classroom teaching experiment for a recently designed unit for the InquiryOriented Linear Algebra (IOLA) curriculum. The new unit addresses orthogonality and least squares using Realistic Mathematics Education design principles with the intent to implement the new unit in an IOI (InquiryOriented Instruction)style classroom. We present an analysis of students’ written responses to characterize how they thought about the notion of shortest distance, travel vectors, orthogonality, and dot product in the “Meeting Gauss” context.more » « less