SUPPORTING MEANINGFUL INITIAL LEARNING OF THE ASSOCIATIVE PROPERTY: CROSS-CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN TEXTBOOK PRESENTATIONS
ResumoThe purpose of this paper is to examine how Chinese and U.S. textbooks present the associative property of multiplication (AP) to support student’s initial learning. For all of the identified worked examples, we analyzed the nature of context and the purpose of using word problems and illustrations. There were important cross-cultural differences in textbook presentations. The U.S. reform textbook did not explicitly introduce AP; the U.S. traditional textbooks introduced AP and applied it to computation while the accompanying word problems and illustrations did not help students understand AP. In contrast, the Chinese textbook introduced AP through a word problem context while seamlessly incorporating sense making of AP. Our findings of cross-cultural differences suggest alternative approaches for grounding fundamental mathematical ideas in word problems and illustrations to support students’ meaningful initial learning.