Relations between secondary pupils' conceptions about functions and problem solving in different representations
SourceInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
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The present study explores pupils’ constructed definitions of the concept of function in relation to their abilities in dealing with tasks of functions involving different forms of representations and problem solving tasks. A major concern is also to examine the interrelations between these three ways of thinking about or dealing with the concept of function. The sample of the study consisted of secondary school pupils in Cyprus. A test was developed which involved seven items: one item requested pupils to provide a definition of what function is and the other six items were developed in order to investigate pupils’ ability to transfer information from one representation to another and to solve problems on function. Findings revealed pupils’ difficulties in giving a proper definition for the concept of function and resolving problems on functions involving conversions between diverse modes of representation. Several inconsistencies among pupils’ constructed definitions, their competence to use different representations of functions and their problem solving ability, were also uncovered, indicating lack of flexibility between different ways of approaching functions.