An investigation of tenth grade students' views of the purpose of geometric proof Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/v692t935k

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  • The purpose of this investigation was to describe tenth grade students' views of the purposes of geometric proof within the context of their learning. Classroom observations, the curriculum, assessment tools, journal questions, and a preconceptions questionnaire were used to provide context for the views expressed by students from a single classroom. Eleven classroom episodes selected from the classroom observations were used to describe the instructional context as well as discourse among the students during group work. The episodes provided details about how and when the classroom teacher addressed various purposes of proofs involving geometry concepts throughout two instructional units on coordinate geometry proofs and two-column proofs. The episodes also consisted of student discourse relating to the purposes of geometric proof as students worked on assigned proof problems. The students' views were examined through journal questions given at the beginning of selected days and through a post-instruction questionnaire and individual interviews. There were three main findings of the study. First, several students experienced difficulty in expressing their views of the purposes of geometric proof when asked directly. One-third of the students could only list properties or theorems they encountered during the unit on geometric proof. However, when these students were asked to describe the purpose for each column, all of the students listed both explanation and verification. Second, the students expressed limited views of the purposes of proof, referring mainly to verification. Only a few students mentioned explanation, systematization, and communication. However, students generally referred to at least two purposes of proof (explanation, verification, and communication) when describing the proving process involved in coordinate geometry. Third, the students' views of various purposes of geometric proof were diverse. Recommendations for future research include the examination of students' views of the purposes of geometric proofs for students who use paragraph form and studies to investigate the development of students' views of the purposes of proof as they gain more experience with formal proof writing and other methods of proof.
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