Mauks–Kaupke, K. P., Buchanan, K., Relaford–Doyle, J., Souchkova, D., & Abrahamson, D. (2009, April). The double-edged sword of constructivist design. 

Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, April 13-17.

23 middle-school students participated in a randomized-control clinical-interview-based study of relations between perceptual frames and conceptual learning. Specifically, we examined whether tapping learners’ multi-modal intuition of likelihood bears on their inclination to understand the notion of sample space, in the context of an experiment with a random generator of binomial distribution. We found that students whose intuitive frames had been evoked initially struggled more than others in creating the sample space yet ultimately were more likely to discern deep conceptual connections among the interview activities. We examine implications for heuristic design frameworks. Namely, creating opportunities for students to build upon intuitive knowledge as a means of abducting mathematical procedures still begs the question of the epistemological status of such knowledge.