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Pupils' needs for conviction and explanation within the context of dynamic geometry.

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Recent literature on mathematics education, and more especially on the teaching and learning of geometry, indicates a need for further investigations into the possibility of devising new strategies, or even developing present methods, in order to avert what might seem to be a "problem" in mathematics education. Most educators and textbooks, it would seem, do not address the need (function and meaning) of proof at all, or those that do, only address it from the limited perspective that the only function of proof is verification. The theoretical part of this study, therefore, analyzed the various functions of proof, in order to identify possible alternate ways of presenting proof meaningfully to pupils. This work further attempted to build on existing research and tested these ideas in a teaching environment. This was done in order to evaluate the feasibility of introducing "proof" as a means of explanation rather than only verification, within the context of dynamic geometry. Pupils, who had not been exposed to proof as yet, were interviewed and their responses were analyzed. The research focused on a few aspects. It attempted to determine whether pupils were convinced about explored geometric statements and their level of conviction. It also attempted to establish whether pupils exhibited an independent desire for why the result, they obtained, is true and if they did, could they construct an explanation, albeit a guided one, on their own. Several useful implications have evolved from this work and may be able to influence, both the teaching and learning, of geometry in school. Perhaps the suggestions may be useful to pre-service and in-service educators.


Thesis (M.Ed.)-University of Durban-Westville, 1998.


Geometry--Study and teaching., Mathematics--Study and teaching., Theses--Education.