Learning mathematics through activities with robots
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionDigital Experiences in Mathematics Education. 2020, 6 (1), 30-50. 10.1007/s40751-019-00057-0
There are several countries that integrate programming into their mathematics curricula, thereby making robotics an interesting aspect of mathematics education. However, the benefits of using robotics for mathematics education are still unclear. This article addresses the use of mathematical tools with robot-based, problem-solving activities by discussing how mathematical tools are used in robot-based activities. This ethnographic intervention study took place in one secondary school in Norway as a part of an elective class in which videotaped data were gathered by observing the activity of groups of two or three students using Lego Mindstorm robots during an eight-week period. Through the use of activity system analysis in Cultural–Historical Activity Theory, we found that students used different kinds of mathematical tools. Furthermore, we found that mathematics can change its role from instrumental tool to object, that is, to an integrated aspect of the purpose of the activity.