Observing Student Representation
 Introduction | Representing Data | Problem Reflection #1 | Is This Circle Graph Correct? | Problem Reflection #2 | Classroom Practice | Observe a Classroom | Your Journal
"Good representations fulfill a dual role: they are tools for thinking and instruments for communicating . . . Learning to record or represent thinking in an organized way, both in solving a problem and in sharing a solution, is an acquired skill for many students. Teachers can and should emphasize the importance of representing mathematical ideas in a variety of ways."

## (NCTM, 2000, p. 206, 208)

In order to use representation as a communication and thinking tool, students must be encouraged to go beyond basic work with representation. It is not enough, for instance, for students to be able to follow the prescribed steps for creating a diagram. Students must be actively engaged in developing, interpreting, and critiquing a variety of representations. This type of work will lead to better understanding and effective, appropriate use of representation as a mathematical tool.

We will begin with two examples of student work for you to consider. As you observe these problems, notice the different methods of representing data. Think about the opportunities the students have to learn about graphs and to connect graphic representations to other forms of representing data.

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