Overcoming the Obstacle of Poor Knowledge in Proving Geometry Tasks
Proving in school geometry is not just about validating the truth of a claim. In the school setting, the main function of the proof is to convince someone that a claim is true by providing an explanation. Students consider proving to be difficult; in fact, they find the very concept of proof demanding. Proving a claim in planar geometry involves several processes, the most salient being visual observation and deductive argumentation. These two processes are interwoven, but often poor observation hinders deductive argumentation. In the present article, we consider the possibility of overcoming the obstacle of a student’s poor observation by making use of computer-aided observation with appropriate software. We present the results of two small-scale research projects, both of which indicate that students are able to work out considerably more deductions if computer-aided observation is used. Not all students use computer-aided observation effectively in proving tasks: some find an exhaustive computer-provided list of properties confusing and are not able to choose the properties that are relevant to the task.
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