How Can Geometry Students Understand What It Means to Define in Mathematics?

Abstract:

This article discusses how a teacher can prepare the terrain for students to understand what it means to define a figure.

Drawing on writings from mathematicians and mathematics educators on the role of definitions in mathematics, the authors

argue that students develop a greater appreciation for the conciseness of a mathematical definition if they are involved in

activities of generating figures that meet stipulated properties. The authors illustrate that argument with episodes from

students’ play of a game called Guess My Quadrilateral! in two high school geometry classes.

Last modified: 30 July 2012.

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