Publication 7157

Cifarelli V. V. (2021) Generalization of Students’ Enactive Metaphorizing: The Handshake Problem and Beyond. Constructivist Foundations 16(3): 278–280. Fulltext at
Open peer commentary on the article “Enactive Metaphorizing in the Mathematical Experience” by Daniela Díaz-Rojas, Jorge Soto-Andrade & Ronnie Videla-Reyes. Abstract: Díaz-Rojas, Soto-Andrade and Videla-Reyes advocate an approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics that emphasizes enaction, embodiment and metaphorization. I comment on their analysis of one of the illustrative examples, the handshake problem. First, I provide some historical context and rationale from mathematics education for how tasks such as the handshake problem have been used in studies of problem solving and why they also can be effective examples of rich problem-solving tasks that can be used in instructional settings. Then I comment on the robustness of the researchers’ analysis of the handshake problem by examining an extension problem, finding the number of diagonals in an n-sided polygon.


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