for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Susan Staats - Vol. 43 Num. 0 (2023)
 Same thing: mind blown. Stylization of “pleasantly frustrating” analogies


This paper makes a case for attending to the linguistic and performative style of students’ mathematical engagements. As groups of secondary school students investigated a puzzle that was “pleasantly frustrating”, following Gee’s description of successful games, they also explored several analogies. This paper celebrates David Pimm’s research on mathematical analogies by focusing on students’ analogies, e.g., any investigation of sameness, whether in the form of a direct statement about similarity or a performance that explores similarity. Noticing levels of stylistic elaboration in three student analogies enhances our critical understanding of engagement with mathematics in ways that include feeling socially powerful through successful mathematical work and developing a sense of mathematical style.