Abstract by Chelsey Van de Merwe
Chelsey Van de Merwe
Student use of mathematical content knowledge during proof production
Although proof production is an important component of advanced mathematical thinking, students struggle to produce proofs. Much research has been done about the issues students experience with the logical nature of proof. This study contributes to the field by examining how the use of mathematical content knowledge affects proof production. The study specifically explains what pieces of mathematical content knowledge are used during proof production and how that knowledge is used. Task-based interviews were conducted with four BYU students enrolled in an introduction to proof course. Data from these interviews shows that deficiencies in mathematical content knowledge hinder students' ability to construct a proof. The interviews were also analyzed to determine how mathematical content knowledge is used in proof. Mathematical content knowledge is used in a variety of ways during proof production including: substituting one expression for another, translating a written statement into symbols, manipulating a mathematical expression, and classifying a mathematical object.