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This study begins by connecting semantic elaboration with conceptual understanding and syntactic elaboration with procedural understanding in the context of fractions. Through case studies and discourse analysis, the work and communication of students in fourth through sixth grade is analyzed to determine the extent of their semantic and syntactic elaboration regarding fractions and fraction operations. Findings are that, while some students emphasized one form of elaboration over the other, some students demonstrated use of both forms of elaboration. Indeed, it is wondered if semantic and syntactic elaboration should be seen as more complementary than adversarial.
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