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Theses Doctoral

Diagrammatic Reasoning Skills of Pre-Service Mathematics Teachers

Karrass, Margaret

This study attempted to explore a possible relationship between diagrammatic reasoning and geometric knowledge of pre-service mathematics teachers. Diagrammatic reasoning skills, as a sequence of steps from visualization, to interpretation, to formalisms, are at the core of teachers' content knowledge for teaching. However, there is no course in the mathematics curriculum that systematically develops diagrammatic reasoning skills, except Geometry. In the course of this study, a group of volunteers in the last semester of their teacher preparation program were presented with "visual proofs" of certain theorems from high school mathematics curriculum and asked to prove/explain these theorems by reasoning from the diagrams. The results of the interviews were analyzed with respect to the participants' attained van Hiele levels. The study found that participants who attained higher van Hiele levels were more skilled at recognizing visual theorems and "proving" them. Moreover, the study found a correspondence between participants' diagrammatic reasoning skills and certain behaviors attributed to van Hiele levels. However, the van Hiele levels attained by the participants were consistently higher than their diagrammatic reasoning skills would indicate.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Vogeli, Bruce R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 27, 2012