Use of a Graphical Simulation to Improve Student Understanding of the Chain Rule in Calculus.
Steven Rosenfield, Helena Dedic, Vanier College, Canada ; Chantal Desrosiers, Concordia University, Canada
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Phoenix, AZ, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-55-6 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA
In this paper we report on a qualitative study concerning the use of graphical simulations combined with group discussions to improve student conceptual understanding and performance in the use of the Chain Rule in a first course in Differential Calculus. This study was designed to investigate the hypothesis that many student difficulties with the chain rule can be overcome by prior development of a more solid conceptual understanding of the operation of composition of functions, addressing both graphical and symbolic representations. The session will demonstrate the simulation used, the tasks required of students, and short video clips of student conversations. The student engagement and level of conversation changed dramatically as the tasks changed from questions related to limits, to composition of functions, and finally to use of the Chain Rule. We will discuss the cognitive complexity of the tasks involved and suggestions for improving instructional settings integrating instructional technology in mathematics education that can be derived from these observations.
Rosenfield, S., Dedic, H. & Desrosiers, C. (2005). Use of a Graphical Simulation to Improve Student Understanding of the Chain Rule in Calculus. In C. Crawford, R. Carlsen, I. Gibson, K. McFerrin, J. Price, R. Weber & D. Willis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2005--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1576-1577). Phoenix, AZ, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).