The present study aims to describe and characterize the insights of elementary school students during the collaborative solving of mathematics problems. A total of 10 elementary school 60-min math classes were analyzed, with each session documented by videotaping the interaction of groups of 3 to 6 children. The study included 41 students in total (14 boys and 27 girls aged from 7 to 10). Group interaction was analyzed by taking spontaneous insights as queues. The results distinguish full insight—where students suddenly discover the answer to the problem—from partial insight—where students realize they have been following an incorrect procedure. Data shows that most insight takes place during interaction and not individually. An in-depth description of such insights shows a junction between the semantic content in verbal explanations and proto-symbolic content involved in gestures. The described insights also show in situ emergence of joint rhythmicity among participants. Results suggest that it is possible to clearly identify insight in spontaneous interaction among school children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-736
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financed by the Research Office at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile through the Inicio grant (No. 11/2018) obtained by the corresponding author. The third author was partially supported by PIA-CONICYT Basal Funds for Centers of Excellence Project FB0003 Grant PAI AFB-170001 and ANID-ACE210010.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan.


  • Collaborative work
  • Gesture
  • Group work
  • Insight
  • Mathematics problem solving


Dive into the research topics of 'Student Insights in Mathematics Problem Solving: Cognition, Affect, and Gesture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this