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Understanding Periodicity as a Process with a Gestalt Structure

Gilli Shama
Educational Studies in Mathematics
Vol. 35, No. 3 (Mar., 1998), pp. 255-281
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3482926
Page Count: 27
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Understanding Periodicity as a Process with a Gestalt Structure
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Abstract

This paper presents a two phase investigation of how Israeli students (grades 3 to 12) understand the concept of periodicity. Qualitative study, including classroom observations, as well as interviews with students and with teachers, was performed as a first phase. Quantitative study, including a survey of 895 eleventh grade students, was performed as a second phase. Students' errors in relating to non-periodic phenomena and to non-periodic function as periodic, as well as their period preferment, were revealed in both phases and were classified. The evidence supports the claim that students understand periodicity as a process. The students' errors and preferences are discussed with reference to two frameworks: (1) the understanding of periodicity as a process, (2) the Gestalt theory.

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