Reasoning about relationships between quantities to reorganize inverse function meanings: The case of Arya

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Researchers have argued high school students, college students, pre-service teachers, and in-service teachers do not construct productive inverse function meanings. In this report, I first summarize the literature examining students’ and teachers’ inverse function meanings. I then provide my theoretical perspective, including my use of the terms understanding and meaning and my operationalization of productive inverse function meanings. I describe a conceptual analysis of ways students may reorganize their limited inverse function meanings into productive meanings via reasoning about relationships between covarying quantities. I then present one pre-service teacher's activity in a semester long teaching experiment to characterize how her quantitative, covariational, and bidirectional reasoning supported her in reorganizing her limited inverse function meanings into more productive meanings. I describe how this reorganization required her to reconstruct her meanings for various related mathematical ideas. I conclude with research and pedagogical implications stemming from this work and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100741
JournalJournal of Mathematical Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020



  • Cognition
  • Covariational reasoning
  • Inverse function
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Relations

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