# Double Dipping with “Conquering Mount Gravitation”

Hmmm… I’m not sure if this is a legitimate post for this week so I will likely address the second question later on. Anyway, it seems as though my post from the TGEM week fits nicely into our task requirements. I definitely put some hours into this lesson, so here goes… (the lesson is attached to the end of this post)

Having yet to finish reading the “related literature”, I think I will return with more thoughts to add to my PhET lesson!  To be continued!!!!

##### <insert dramatic yet Monty Python-esque interlude music>

I’m back! The two papers that I read today were “Reality versus Simulation” and “Fifty Years of Thinking About Visualization and Visualizing in Mathematics Education: A Historical Overview”. ( Srinivasan et al, 2006; Clements, 2014).  Relating these reading to my guided inquiry-based, simulation, T-GEM lesson…

1. “Reality versus Simulation”
• the authors conceded that there were no distinguishable quantitative differences between students’ learning outcomes via a simulation or an actual lab
• the big takeaway was that the majority of students perceived that the simulation was not as valuable of an experience than actually setting up and testing with real equipment; the simulations seemed inauthentic to students; professors perceived no difference in modalities
• the authors suggest there may be benefits to having open-ended discussions with students to help them appreciate the validity and worthiness of using a problem-free, time efficient simulation
• adding this type of discussion to Mt. Gravitation would be relatively simple to do; I refer to the simulation throughout the unit already, however, a more directed discussion could help mitigate students’ negative perceptions
2. “Fifty Years of Thinking About Visualization and Visualizing in Mathematics Education: A Historical Overview”
• very engaging paper for mathematics educators; very readable and contains engaging problems throughout; I subjected my mathematically gifted, 10 year old to the H-Shape problem– he nailed it and when asked about the method he used, he used analytical approaches over visual approaches (very interesting!!!)

Wattanawaha’s Monash Spatial Thinking Test, (Clements, 2014)

• there are many interpretations of what mathematical visualization entails
• one research process is to categorize students using the Mathematical Processing Instrument where subjects answer problems and solutions are categorized as visual, verbal-logical or neither in nature.
• it turns out that students who utilize verbal-logical methodologies primarily, perform better on math tests
• the author pushes the reader to think of ways to exploit a visual learner’s strengths to make them more successful in the mathematical classroom setting
•  relating these ideas back to my lesson reminds me that some of students will be able to interpret the graphical relationships connecting force to separation distance, more easily than others; my students have inherent strengths– to be able to work with those strengths yet also assist them develop their “non-strengths”, will continue to be a goal of mine as I guide them through their learning
• another interesting takeaway from this paper was that visual learners tend to apply visual strategies to problems that are optimally solved using verbal-logical strategies; also verbal-logical learners will tend to favour verbal-logical strategies when a visual approach is more efficient; as educators, we can introduce problem strategies that “go against the grain” of our students’ preferences, in order to maximize their overall experience and comprehension

Conquering Mt. Gravitation