LEARNING MATHEMATICS WITH ROBOTS

E. Fernandes

Universidade da Madeira (PORTUGAL)
In this oral presentation we will present and discuss the use of robots in 7th grade mathematics classes to study the concept of function. The experience we relate in this paper is framed by a research project - DROIDE II – robots in mathematics and computer science education - whose aim is to describe, analyse and understand how students learn mathematics, informatics and others, having robots as mediators of learning.
DROIDE II – adopts a strategy that puts on dialogue the theoretical field and the empirical field of research in four phases: 1) to create problems in Mathematics /Informatics Education which are suitable to be solved using robots and to create robots to solve specific problems in Mathematics/Informatics Education; 2) to create learning scenarios using robots in different learning contexts (scholar and non scholar, and also virtual) and domains of knowledge; 3) to analyse learners practice when solving problems using robots in those different learning contexts; 4) to develop a set of guidelines about using robots as mediators of Mathematics/Informatics learning.
Theoretical framework is based on Activity Theory articulated with Human Computer Interaction with key concepts of Situated Learning Theories.
With this oral presentation we pretend describe and analyse an experience with 7th grade students using robots to learn the function concept. We will discuss the role of robots in the construction of representations, in the learning of functions and in the improvement of mathematical competence.

The research reported in this communication was prepared within the Project. DROIDE II - Robots in Mathematics and Informatics Eduacation funded by Fundação para a Ciência Tecnologia under contract PTDC/CPE-CED/099850/2008.