Using Integer Manipulatives: Representational Determinism


  • Michael J. Bosse Appalachian State University



Teachers and students commonly use various concrete representations during mathematical instruction. These representations can be utilized to help students understand mathematical concepts and processes, increase flexibility of thinking, facilitate problem solving, and reduce anxiety while doing mathematics. Unfortunately, the manner in which some instructionally employ representations potentially leaves students confounded and mathematical ideas unlearned. From the perspective of representational determinism, this paper explores the appropriate uses and misuses of concrete representations in respect to integer operations.

Author Biography

Michael J. Bosse, Appalachian State University

Michael. J. Bossé is the Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Education and MELT Program Director at Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and is active in providing professional development to teachers in North Carolina and around the nation. His research focuses on learning, cognition, and curriculum in K-16 mathematics.


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