Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 87–103 | Cite as

Growing-making mathematics: a dynamic perspective on people, materials, and movement in classrooms

  • Wolff-Michael Roth


Recent theoretical advances on learning (mathematics) emphasize the fact that what results from engagement with curriculum materials is not entirely in the control of the students in the way classical theories of knowing and learning suggest. These new theories distinguish themselves by either invoking distributed agency, some of which is attributed to non-human aspects of the environment, or by emphasizing the essential (radical) passivity that characterizes coming to know. In this study, an alternative is offered: making as a modality of growing. This move allows us to capture theoretically that both growers-makers and their materials grow (old) together. The proposed approach troubles existing ones because it shifts our perspective from a transitive relation between students and the curricular objects to an intransitive one, where the becoming of each is described in terms of Deleuzian lines of flight. A case study involving two girls and tangram pieces is described in terms of growing together and becoming-hexagon. Implications are discussed for how researchers can capture the non-agential, non-causal dimensions of coming to know.


Transitivity Intransitivity Materialism Flow Deleuze 



Data collection for this study was supported by a research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I thank Alfredo Bautista, Maria Inês Mafra Goulart, Jean-François Maheux, and Jennifer Thom for their contributions to the implementation of the curriculum and the data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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