Group Theory Students' Perceptions of Binary Operation
Educational Studies in Mathematics
Binary operations are one of the fundamental structures underlying our number and algebraic systems. Yet, researchers have often left their role implicit as they model student understanding of abstract structures. In this paper, we directly analyze students’ perceptions of the general binary operation via a two-phase study consisting of task-based surveys and interviews. We document what attributes of binary operation group theory students perceive as critical and what types of metaphors students use to convey these attributes. We found that many students treat superficial features as critical (such as element-operator-element formatting) and do not always perceive critical features as essential (such as the binary attribute). Further, these attributes were communicated across three metaphor categories: arithmetic-related, function-related, and organization-related.
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Melhuish, K., Ellis, B. & Hicks, M.D. Group theory students’ perceptions of binary operation. Educ Stud Math 103, 63–81 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-019-09925-3