Development of Secondary School Students’ Relational Thinking Skills with a Teaching Experiment

1Anadolu University, Faculty of Education, TURKEY
2Ministry of National Education-Mathematics Teacher, PhD Candidate-Anadolu University, TURKEY
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2020.85.7

Purpose: Since there are a limited number of studies on how to develop relational thinking in secondary school students in mathematics education literature, this study will contribute to the field both in theoretical terms and concerning the implications for in-class applications. In this respect, this study aims to examine how to develop the relational thinking skills of 5th-grade students.
Research Methods: The participants of this study, which was adopted as a research design of the teaching experiment, were six students attending 5th grade in secondary school. The teaching process was eight sessions per week with one session. The main data source of this study was in-class teaching videos. The data were analyzed descriptively.
Findings: The questions, the in-class dialogues directing relational thinking and activities in each session of the teaching experiment conducted with the fifth-grade students were presented under related themes.
Implications for Research and Practice: The most general result was that at the end of the teaching process based on numbers, relationships between numbers, operations and properties, the students made use of equality axioms to evaluate the true/false and open number sentences without any calculation. It was also seen that the students made connections between addition-subtraction, addition-multiplication and multiplication-division and that they made effective use of commutative, associative and distributive properties.
Keywords: Mathematics education, relational thinking, equality, equal sign.