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Conversations with Materials and Diagrams About Some of the Intricacies of Oscillatory Motion

Nemirovsky, Benjamin and Ferrari, Giulia and Rasmussen, Chris and Voigt, Matthew (2020) Conversations with Materials and Diagrams About Some of the Intricacies of Oscillatory Motion. Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education. ISSN 2199-3246

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Abstract

This article relates a case study on how a conversation with materials and diagrams – the actual use of materials and diagrams to think, imagine, explain, collaborate, design and build – featured a certain kind of interplay between material and digital components. The physical components present in this setting included a water wheel, which is a wheel driven by flow of water whose rotational motion is a classic example of chaotic dynamics regulated by Lorenz equations. Digital components allowed for real-time graphical displays corresponding to the turning of the water wheel. We selected for this article a sequence of episodes from an interview with Jake, an undergraduate student majoring in engineering. Through a micro-ethnographic analysis, we reflect on how Jake combined the responsiveness of the digital displays with the tangibility of the water wheel to gain insight into some of the intricacies of oscillatory motion.

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