Generalization in fifth graders within a functional approach

Eder Pinto, María C. Cañadas


This article discusses evidence of 24 fifth graders’ (10-11 year olds’) ability to generalize when solving a problem which involves a linear function. Analyzed in the context of the functional approach of early algebra, the findings show that 3 students generalized both when solving specific instances and when asked to provide the general formula; while 15 students generalized only when asked to define the general formula. The results are described in terms of the functional relationship identified, the types of representation used to express them and the type of questions in which students generalized their answers. Most of the pupils who generalized did so based on the correspondence between pairs of values in the function at issue.

Generalización de estudiantes de quinto de primaria desde un enfoque funcional

En este artículo presentamos evidencias de generalización de 24 estudiantes de quinto de primaria (10-11 años) al resolver un problema que involucra una función lineal. Desde el enfoque funcional del early algebra, los hallazgos muestran que 3 estudiantes generalizaron al trabajar con casos particulares y cuando se les pide expresar la regla general; mientras que 16 estudiantes solo lo hicieron cuando les pedimos expresar la regla general. Describimos los resultados en términos de la relación funcional identificada, los tipos de representaciones que emplearon para expresar dichas relaciones y el tipo de pregunta en la cual los estudiantes generalizaron. La mayoría de los estudiantes que generalizaron establecieron una relación de correspondencia entre los pares de valores de la función.


Palabras clave

generalization; functional relationship; representations; functional thinking


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