Knowledge use in the construction of geometry proof by Sri Lankan students



Publication Details

Chinnappan, M., Ekanayake, M. & Brown, C. A. (2012). Knowledge use in the construction of geometry proof by Sri Lankan students. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 10 (4), 865-887.


Within the domain of geometry, proof and proof development continues to be a problematic area for students. Battista (2007) suggested that the investigation of knowledge components that students bring to understanding and constructing geometry proofs could provide important insights into the above issue. This issue also features prominently in the deliberations of the 2009 International Commission on Mathematics Instruction Study on the learning and teaching of proofs in mathematics, in general, and geometry, in particular. In the study reported here, we consider knowledge use by a cohort of 166 Sri Lankan students during the construction of geometry proofs. Three knowledge components were hypothesised to influence the students’ attempts at proof development: geometry content knowledge, general problem-solving skills and geometry reasoning skills. Regression analyses supported our conjecture that all 3 knowledge components played important functions in developing proofs. We suggest that whilst students have to acquire a robust body of geometric content knowledge, the activation and the utilisation of this knowledge during the construction of proof need to be guided by general problem-solving and reasoning skills.

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