“The artifacts, traditional or technological, have always characterized the history of civilization and supported the growth of disciplines, included mathematics.
They are related to mathematicians’ production and have a role as semiotic systems. The use of artifacts in a learning context is stated by the so-called mathematics laboratory (UMI-CIIM, MIUR, 2004; Arzarello, Paola, & Robutti, 2006), intended as a structured set of activities aimed at the construction of mathematical meanings: “We can imagine the laboratory environment as a Renaissance workshop, in which the apprentices learned by doing, seeing, imitating, communicating with each other, in a word: practicing. In the laboratory activities, the construction of meanings is strictly bound, on one hand, to the use of tools, and on the other, to the interactions between people working together (without distinguishing between teacher and students)” (UMI, 2004, p. 60; see also the discussion in chapter 28, this volume).
Arzarello, F., & Robutti, O. (2008). Framing the embodied mind approach within a multimodal paradigm. In L. English, M. Bartolini Bussi, G. Jones, R. Lesh, & D. Tirosh (Eds.), Handbook of International Research in Mathematics Education (2nd ed., pp. 720–749). New York, NY: Routledge