Doctoral dissertation

A phenomenographic study exploring students' thinking of dimension

This study explored the experiences of dimension among young school children. A phenomenographic approach was followed, and meanings of dimension were generated from 24 students during four situations. Data were collected using clinical interviews accompanied with the design of tasks using the software Elica, physical objects, the film Flatland, and the software Google SketchUp in each of the situations respectively.

The meanings generated from the first three situations were compared and grouped into theme categories. The aim of the fourth situation was to design an environment in which we might witness experiences of dimension not observed before, by building on preceding research on how modelling can foster the utility of mathematical concepts. SketchUp and its dimensional tools helped the students to form situated experiences about mathematical ideas relating to vectors and capacity. Dimensional experience was categorised as Dimension as Action, Dimension as Material, Dimension as Vector and Dimension as Capacity.

Supervisor: Prof. Dave Pratt

Examiners: Prof. Richard Noss and Prof. John Mason