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Engaged in What? The Power of Cognition
Engaged in What?: The Power of Cognition

What number would you put in the box to make this a true number sentence?

8 + 4 = ◻ + 5

Falkner, Levi, and Carpenter (1999) gave this problem to 30 elementary-grade classes ranging from first grade to sixth. The responses are shown in Figure 6.1.

Understanding equality is essential for students in order to grasp basic arithmetic concepts as well as later on as they begin to develop algebraic reasoning skills. As we consider the response data, it appears “many students have serious misconceptions about the meaning of the equal sign as a relation between two equal quantities. Many seem to interpret the equal sign as a command to carry out a ...

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