Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 147–164 | Cite as

Finding and using patterns in linear generalising problems

  • Kaye Stacey


Linear generalising problems are questions which require students to observe and use a linear pattern of the formf(n)=an+b withb≠0. This study reports responses of students aged between 9 and 13 to these questions, documenting the mathematical models that they select, the strategies used in implementing them and the explanations they give. Substantial inconsistency of choice of model is observed; students who began a question correctly frequently adopted a simpler but incorrect model for more difficult parts of the question. Students who had undertaken a course in problem solving implicitly used a linear model more frequently and consistently and their explanations more often related the spatial patterns and the number patterns. They seemed to understand the relationship between the data and the generalising rule more completely.


Mathematical Model Linear Model Spatial Pattern Linear Pattern Difficult Part 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaye Stacey
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of EducationUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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