ERG SES H 02, Education and Research
Algebra has an undeniable importance in mathematics. In elementary schools, students are introduced with arithmetic early. They subtract, add, multiply, and divide numbers. They come to face with word problems and make calculations offered by these word problems. However; when the calculations are offered as algebraic expressions, some problems may show themselves. The calculations are still named as subtraction, addition, multiplication, and division but it can be observed that students can not be serial as they are in arithmetical expressions. Emphasis on computation can actually lead to many misconceptions in students’ minds, which in turn will make the learning of algebra become more difficult (Baroudi, 2006). In lots of the studies (Davidenko, 1997; English & Warren, 1998; Küchemann,1978; Philipp, 1992; Macgregor & Satcey,1997; Wagner,1983), it is revealed that; although understanding the meaning of the variables has great importance for algebraic thinking, students have difficulties to understand the meaning of the variables. In addition to variables; the equivalence sign, also, seems to be causing misunderstandings for the students (Kiearan, 1992). Turkish Education is in the process of renewing school curricula where algebra appears to be an important topic. The idea that algebra can and should contribute constructively to the curriculum is a phenomenon in schools. Therefore, for realizing the positive potential of teaching algebra in classrooms, a student needs a clear idea of what he/she is dealing with during the operations in algebraic expressions. Moreover; mathematics teachers need a clear idea of what the misconceptions of the students are in the algebraic operations. Determination of the misconceptions may be helpful for their teaching, and assessment processes. The lack of knowledge coming from the background of the students, or the teaching processes can be identified with fixing the misconceptions done in algebraic operations (Ministry of National Education, 2005).
This study focused on the misconceptions of the elementary school students during their solutions for algebra questions. It is aimed to represent the misconceptions during the solution of algebraic questions. For this aim, a question sheet with 17 questions is administered to 10 seventh grade elementary school students in an elementary schoolof Ankara. Two volunteers of these ten students are interviewed about their ways of answering to the questions. In the light of the study, it is aimed to contribute to the algebraic lectures by representing the misconceptions of the students. With the help of the results of the study, it is intended to represent the misunderstandings of the 7thgrade students about their practices in algebraic expressions.
It is aimed to investigate with the study that whether the misconceptions based on the arithmetical misunderstandings effect the seventh grade students’ solutions for algebraic expressions. Therefore; the main question of the study is determined as follows:
‘What are the misconceptions of the seventh grade students in their algebraic practices? ’
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