This study investigated whether primary school students could develop better conceptual understanding and procedural knowledge on the topic of “area of closed shapes” using the inquiry-based learning approach scaffolded by the cognitive tools developed on the GeoGebra platform. It answered two research questions: (a) Compared with the direct instructional approach, would the inquiry-based learning approach scaffolded by cognitive tools developed on the GeoGebra platform help students develop better conceptual understanding and procedural knowledge? and (b) If the answer to the first research question was affirmative, how did the inquiry-based learning approach scaffolded by the GeoGebra cognitive tools help the students develop better conceptual understanding and procedural knowledge? This study focused on two classes of Grade 5 students with similar mathematics backgrounds. One class was selected randomly to be the experimental group (28 students); the other class became the control group (25 students). The students in the experimental group used GeoGebra cognitive tools to explore how to find the areas of a parallelogram, triangle, and trapezoid. The experimental group students used the inquiry-based instructional model. The control group students learned the same topics through the direct instructional approach without using GeoGebra cognitive tools. The original mathematics teacher of the control group class administered the control group. The researcher of this study administered the experimental group, and the original mathematics teacher of this group sat in as a teacher observer. The students took one pre-test before the study and two post-tests at the middle and end of the study, respectively. The pre-test showed that there were no significant differences between the two groups regarding their conceptual understanding and procedural knowledge of the target topics. The post-tests showed that the experimental group had developed significantly better conceptual understanding than the control group, while there were no significant differences between the two groups regarding their development of procedural knowledge. Apparently, because the parallelogram cognitive tool allowed students to interactively transform the parallelogram into a rectangle, they could realize the mathematical formula used for calculating the area of the parallelogram. Similarly, because the triangle and trapezoid cognitive tools allowed students to interactively replicate the shapes to form a parallelogram, they could apprehend the formulas used for calculating the area of these shapes. The GeoGebra cognitive tools also helped the students to visualize the various sets of shape bases and heights. This research revealed that it was difficult for the students to understand that the base of the parallelogram formed by two identical trapezoids was equal to the sum of the upper and lower bases of the trapezoid. Using the pedagogical approach proposed in this study, the teachers could guide the students through this difficulty, step by step. In fact, the GeoGebra cognitive tools, together with all the pedagogical activities carried out in the experimental group, contributed to the students’ understanding of the target topics. This study indicated that inquiry-based learning scaffolded by cognitive tools was a promising way to teach mathematics topics like finding the areas of a parallelogram, triangle, and trapezoid. All rights reserved.
|Qualification||Doctor of Education|
|Award date||18 Apr 2017|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
- 5E Model
- Cognitive tools
- Conceptual understanding
- Inquiry-based learning
- Procedural knowledge
- Theses and Dissertations
- Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2017.