Argumentation and Discourse

Join a discussion about models for teaching and learning argumentation and discourse in mathematics, including implications for teacher practice, classroom structure, and the nature of students’ learning.

Presenter Reflections

David Yopp, University of Idaho | June 22, 2016

This session’s conversation focused on ways of viewing argumentation and how argument produces as the content to be learned.

Participants discussed examples (e.g., rational and irrational numbers, solving equations, and natural number operations) in Common Core where the argument students produce is the content. Understanding these concepts included understanding arguments that represent the concept, and these arguments provide access to mathematical notions that have no physical expression.

For example, numbers are classified as rational or irrational through an argument. An arguer might classify a radical as an irrational number by arguing that the radical cannot be expressed as the quotient of integers. When a linear equation is solved and a solution is found, the solution process can be viewed as an argument: that there exist a unique solution. The concept of "solving equations" is represented by this argument.

Following discussion of these examples, participants asked themselves what other areas of content could be viewed as an argument.