Asymptote Misconception on Graphing Functions: Does Graphing Software Resolve It?

Volume 5 - Issue 1
Mehmet Fatih Öçal
Pages: 21-33 Download Count : 317 View Count: 424 Facebook Share on Google+ Save to Zotero Save to Mendeley


Graphing function is an important issue in mathematics education due to its use in various areas of mathematics and its potential roles for students to enhance learning mathematics. The use of some graphing software assists students’ learning during graphing functions. However, the display of graphs of functions that students sketched by hand may be relatively different when compared to the correct forms sketched using graphing software. The possible misleading effects of this situation brought a discussion of a misconception (asymptote misconception) on graphing functions. The purpose of this study is two- fold. First of all, this study investigated whether using graphing software (GeoGebra in this case) helps students to determine and resolve this misconception in calculus classrooms. Second, the reasons for this misconception are sought. The multiple case study was utilized in this study. University students in two calculus classrooms who received instructions with (35 students) or without GeoGebra assisted instructions (32 students) were compared according to whether they fell into this misconception on graphing basic functions (1/x, lnx, ex). In addition, students were interviewed to reveal the reasons behind this misconception. Data were analyzed by means of descriptive and content analysis methods. The findings indicated that those who received GeoGebra assisted instruction were better in resolving it. In addition, the reasons behind this misconception were found to be teacher-based, exam-based and some other factors.


  • Asymptote Misconception
  • GeoGebra
  • Graphing Functions
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