Q&A #131

Geometry - ideas for teaching proofs

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From: Claudia (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 18, 1998 at 23:53:40
Subject: Re: Geometry - ideas for teaching proofs

Proofs are tough, especially since most kids today don't like to learn the 
postulates or basic axioms necessary to build the idea of the proof. They want 
a quick fix, rather than a structured argument.

Here are a couple of ideas you might try.

Have the class work in groups to write down a "paragraph" explanation of how 
they can go from the "given" to the "proven." Perhaps you can offer some 
incentive for the group with the best explanation. You can take those and 
analyze the thinking better. Maybe you could videotape the students sharing the 
best ones. Getting the best ones may take a while.  

Before this, you might want to give them all the pieces of a proof. This would 
take time and you might want to eventually laminate the pieces for re-use.  
Give each group different "sets" of items of the proof, and throw in some 
incorrect steps. Perhaps manipulating the pieces would motivate them. It should 
create some discussion if they get motivated to argue which step comes next and 

Hope this helps.

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