A teaching experiment to foster the conceptual understanding of multiplication based on children's literature to facilitate dialogic learning

Year: 2004

Author: Worlley, Amanda, Jamieson-Proctor, Romina

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The importance of conceptual understanding as opposed to procedural knowledge in mathematics has been well documented (Hiebert; Carpenter, 1992). Development of conceptual understanding of multiplication is fostered when students recognise the equal group structure that is common in all multiplicative problems (Mulligan; Mitchelmore, 1996). This paper reports on the theoretical development of a transformative teaching experiment based on conjecture-driven research design (Confrey; Lachance, 1999) that aims to enhance Year 3 students' conceptual understanding of multiplication. The teaching experiment employs children's literature as a motivating catalyst for students to explore and engage in multiplication activities and dialogue. The SOLO taxonomy (Biggs; Collis, 1989) is used to both frame the novel teaching and learning activities, as well as assess the level of students' conceptual understanding of multiplication as displayed in the products derived from the experiment. Further, student's group interactions were analysed in order to investigate the social processes that may contribute positively to learning. An early pilot of this teaching experiment has indicated positive results and strong support for the approach.