Interpreting Embodied Mathematics Using Network Theory: Implications for Mathematics Education

Elizabeth Mowat, Brent Davis


Working from the premise that mathematics knowledge can be described as a complex unity, we develop the suggestion that network theory provides a useful frame for informing understandings of disciplinary knowledge and content learning for schooling. Specifically, we use network theory to analyze associations among mathematical concepts, focusing on their embodied nature and their reliance on metaphor. After describing some of the basic suppositions, we examine the structure of the network of metaphors that underlies embodied mathematics, the dynamics of this network, and the effect of these dynamics on mathematical understanding. Finally, implications for classroom teaching and curriculum are discussed. We conjecture that it is both instructive and important to use the network structure of mathematical knowledge to shed light on both cognition in mathematics and on mathematics education.

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