Using concept mapping to explore Grade 11 learners' understanding of the function concept

Naidoo, Selvan
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This study used concept mapping to explore South African Grade 11 learners’ understanding of the function concept. Learners’ understanding of the function concept was investigated by examining the relationships learners made between the function concept and other mathematical concepts. The study falls within a social constructivist framework and is underpinned by the key educational notion of understanding. The research method employed was a case study. Data for the study was collected through a concept mapping task, a task on functions and individual learner interviews. In the analysis four key issues are identified and discussed. They are concerned with (a) learners who make most connections; (b) issues related to learners’ omission and addition of concepts; (c) learners’ use of examples in concept mapping and (d) the nature of connections learners made. The study concludes that concept mapping is an effective tool to explore learners’ understanding of the function concept. The report concludes with recommendations for classroom practice, teacher education and further research, particularly given the context of school mathematics practice in the South African curriculum where concept mapping (i.e. use of metacogs) has recently been incorporated as an assessment tool.
Selvan Naidoo, Student no: 0215998E. MSc Education, Faculty of Science, 2006.
understanding , function concept , concept mapping , mathematical relationships , conceptual understanding , procedural understanding