Equations, Functions, Critical Aspects and Mathematical Communication

  •  Constanta Olteanu    
  •  Lucian Olteanu    


The purpose of this paper is to present the mechanism for effective communication when the mathematical objects of learning are equations and functions. The presentation is based on data collected while the same object of learning is presented in two classes, and it includes two teachers and 45 students. Among other things, the data consists of video-recordings of lessons and tests. In the analysis, concepts relating to variation theory have been used as analytical tools. The results show that effective communication occurs in the classroom if it has the critical aspects in students learning as its starting point. The communication in the classroom succeeds or not if the aspects of the content supposed to be treated is the same as or different from the aspects of the content of the teacher’s representation, and if the aspects of the content of the teacher’s representation are the same as or different from the aspects discerned by the students. The results also show that the students cannot make sense of the difference between the highest/lowest value of a quadratic function and the maximum/minimum point; the difference between a quadratic equation and function; the students also have difficulties in solving a quadratic equation if it appears in a new context. The argument of the functions is identified as critical aspect in this study.

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