Revista latinoamericana de investigación en matemática educativa
versión impresa ISSN 1665-2436
In this work a cross exploratory study is carried out (N=25) to students of middle education (12 to 18 years old), in order to analyzing the strategies utilized and the underlying mental models when face a problematic mathematical situation, considering that they do not have efficient plans. The notions of mental representation and mental model proposed by Johnson-Laird (1983, 1990, and 1996) are adopted, as well as the idea of numerical mental model, elaborated by Schwartz & Moore (1998). The data show that when these students conceive the situation as a problem and/or cannot utilize efficient algebraic tools to express it, they develop strategies related to mental models that are based on numerical manipulations to reduce the complexity. Also the mental models that underlie in the algebraic resolutions are analyzed, their possible relations with the numerical models are discussed, it is investigated how the mental models -built in the work memory-serve as a bridge to extract knowledge of higher order, permitting the elaboration of most stable representations than would be able to impact in the plans of the subject (Schwartz & Moore, 1998; Moreira 2002; Border and Moreira, 2002). Besides, some implications for the teaching and research in mathematics education are discussed.
Palabras llave : Mental model; numerical mental model; mathematics teaching.