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Mathematical proof

through Geometry

Hoang Quoc Viet Fernando Chandika

Abstract 1992; Zimmermann & Cunninghatn, 1991). The


visual-spatial content of mathematics is broad,
" Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of and includes, among others, concepts associated
logical ideas." with geometry and spatial sense, measurement,
reasoning, and statistics. Visualizing objects and
Albert Einstein
graphically representing numerical information
are important mathematical tools that help stu-
1 What is proof without words? dents to solve problems and to understand math-
ematical concepts (Goldin, 2002). Visual-spatial
Proofs without words are pictures or diagrams representations may function as mental imagery,
that help the reader see why a particular mathe- or in the "mind’s eye." Mental imagery and the
matical statement may be true, and also see how associated intemal representations which can be
one might begin to go about proving it true. In ’pictured in the minds eye’ play a role in prob-
some instances a proof without words may in- lem solving by aiding memory and understanding
clude an equation or two to guide the reader, (Sadoski & Paivio, 2001).
but the emphasis is clearly on providing visual
clues to stimulate mathematical thought. While
proofs without words can be employed in many
3 Goals to obtaining a proof
areas of mathematics (geometry, number theory,
The ultimate goal of any problem-solving pro-
trigonometry, calculus, inequalities, and so on).
gram is to improve students’ performance at solv-
Suydam (44) concluded:
ing problems correctly. By doing so, they should
” If problem solving is treated as "apply be able to develop methods in writing and obtain-
the procedure," then the students try to ing a logical proof. The specific goals of problem-
follow the rules in subsequent problems. solving in Mathematics are to:
If you teach problem solving as an ap-
1. Improve students’ willingness to try prob-
proach, where you must think and can
lems and improve their perseverance when
apply anything that works, then stu-
solving problems.
dents are likely to be less rigid. (p. 104)”
2. Improve students’ self-concepts with respect
to the abilities to solve problems.
2 Why Proofs using geometry?
3. Make students aware of the value of ap-
The visual dimensions of mathematical leam- proaching problems in a systematic manner.
ing and the value of visual-spatial thinking in-
creasingly have been acknowledged as essential 4. Make students aware that many problems
to mathematics education (Clements & Battista, can be solved in more than one way.

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5. Improve students abilities to select appropri-
ate solution strategies.

6. Improve students’ abilities to implement so-


lution strategies accurately.

7. Improve students’ abilities to get more cor-


rect answers to problems.

" Proof is an idol before whom the pure


mathematician tortures himself."

Arthur Stanley Eddington


The Nature of the Physical World

4 Conclusion
The reality of that talk of ’the mind’s eye’ and ’see-
ing mathematical entities’ is highly metaphori-
cal. This is to be regretted-but not repented. Pic-
ture proofs are obviously too effective to be dis-
missed and they are potentially too powerful to
be ignored. Making sympathetic sense of them is
what is required of us.

5 References
1. Edens, K., & Potter, E. (2008). How Students
"Unpack" the Structure of a Word Prob-
lem: Graphic Representations and Problems
Solving. School Science & Mathematics,
108(5), 184-196.

2. Cupillari, A. (1989). Proof without Words:


³ ´2
13 + 23 + 33 + 43 + . . . + n3 = n(n4+1) . Mathe-
matics Magazine, 62(4), 259.

3. W Lushbaugh. (no title). Mathematical


Gazette, (49):200, 1965.

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