Reading Mathematical Texts as a Problem-Solving Activity: The Case of the Principle of Mathematical Induction

  • Ioannis Papadopoulos Faculty of Elementary Education, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Paraskevi Kyriakopoulou University of Western Macedonia, Greece
Keywords: mathematical induction, reading mathematical text, problem solving, secondary education students


Reading mathematical texts is closely related to the effort of the reader to understand its content; therefore, it is reasonable to consider such reading as a problem-solving activity. In this paper, the Principle of Mathematical Induction was given to secondary education students, and their effort to comprehend the text was examined in order to identify whether significant elements of problem solving are involved. The findings give evidence that while negotiating the content of the text, the students went through Polya’s four phases of problem solving. Moreover, this approach of reading the Principle of Mathematical Induction in the sense of a problem that must be solved seems a promising idea for the conceptual understanding of the notion of mathematical induction.


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