Emma Bellman SURF SMART
Puzzling Proofs: Navigating Proof Construction and Communication in Middle School
Recent reforms in STEM education argue for students engagement in disciplinary practices, such as the construction and communication of a mathematical proof. Researchers have argued that some of the difficulties students face with proofs in particular, may stem from their limited opportunities to engage in productive disciplinary practices, such as successfully employing multiple forms of reasoning when constructing a proof (Boero, 1999; Pedemonte, 2007). In this project, my graduate student mentor and I will explore how educators can support proof construction and communication in middle school that may encourage the use of multiple forms of reasoning through non-linear explorations. Using qualitative methods, we will study young learners reasoning patterns and disciplinary practices as they participate in innovative puzzle-like proving activities. We will pay particular attention to the role of material and social configurations that may influence young students equitable opportunities for participation in productive disciplinary practices.