Today we look back at one of our first episodes in September 2016 where we chatted with Dr. Andy Norton. Original episode description follows.
Joining us today via Skype is Dr. Andy Norton of Virginia Tech University. He will be discussing an area of research he is focused upon known as Units Coordination. This is an idea that has been shown to be critical to students’ abilities to understand
the Part to Whole relationship in fractions, and more abstract ideas within algebra and analysis.
Working from a philosophical question about how mathematical thinking is fundamentally different from other forms of thought, Dr. Norton talks to us about how “units-coordination” or “coordinating units” forms a basis of how the nature of mathematical knowledge in general. Finding connections to cognitive psychology, working memory, and how it is students strive to understand. Giving students items or devices to store levels of units allows them to go to one level higher in their coordinating schemes. Middles School curriculum is often where students are required to develop a flexibility within their number scheme or create their own compensatory actions. Dr. Norton closes his chat with a reference to a written assessment of students’ level of units-coordination. “A Written Instrument for Assessing Students’ Units Coordination Structures.”