Date of Award/Publication


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Degree Name

MS in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education


The research project conducted for this thesis determined whether the use of characters and scripts would help teach middle school students good mathematical discourse skills. It was conducted in a suburban eighth grade remedial mathematics classroom for three days during the month of March 2000. The four social aspects of good mathematical discourse formed the basis for the scripts; the topics included dedication to the group, helping each other understand, active listening, and not giving in to authority. Data included information from audiotapes of small group discussions, videotapes ofthe entire class, student journal writings, lesson plans, and teacher notes. The audio transcripts and journal writings of four students were placed in chronological tables to determine the relative progress of each student. An assessment was made each day for each student's progress in the four social aspects of mathematical discourse. It was found that students made significant progress in mathematical discourse as a result of this project. Additionally, they were enthusiastic about the characters and scripts, used the principles of mathematical argumentation in a socio-axiomatic framework, and showed individual transformation within their small collaborative groups.