In mathematics classrooms, body-based actions, including gestures, offer an important way for students to become mathematical ideas as they engage in mathematical practices. In particular, a type of gesture that we call a dynamic depictive gesture allows learners to model and represent fluid transformations of mathematical objects with their bodies. In this paper, we report on two empirical studies – one in which dynamic gestures were observed, and one where these gestures were directed. We conclude that dynamic gestures are a key element in successful justification and proof activities in mathematics.
Walkington, C., Boncoddo, R., Williams, C., Nathan, M.J., Alibali, M.W., Simon, E., & Pier, E. (2014, June). Being mathematical relations: Dynamic gestures support mathematical reasoning. In W. Penuel, S. A. Jurow, & K. O’Connor (Eds.), Learning and Becoming in Practice: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Vol. 1 (pp. 479-486). Boulder, CO: University of Colorado.