for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Thorsten Scheiner ,  Marcia Pinto - Vol. 42 Num. 3 (2022)
 Sense-making in mathematics: an act of comprehension or creation?


Earlier approaches to sense-making in mathematics have looked at the ways students comprehend a mathematical concept. Recent research suggests that some students make sense not only of mathematical objects that have a being, but also of objects that have yet to become. In such cases, learning mathematics is not just an act of comprehending a given mathematical concept, but rather an act of creating a mathematical concept that has yet to come into being. In this paper, we argue that this act of creation is better referred to as meaning-making than sense-making, bringing to the fore the distinction between acts of comprehension and acts of creation. Recognising learning mathematics as both sense-making and meaning-making allows better acknowledging the reciprocal relationship between mathematical concept and mathematical conception, a relationship constituted by the interplay of comprehension and creation.