Enacting Proof-Related Tasks in Middle School Mathematics: Challenges and Opportunities

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  • 1 Michigan State University

Discussions about school mathematics often address the importance of reasoning and proving for building students' understanding of mathematics. However, there is little research examining how teachers enact tasks designed to engage students in justifying and proving in the classroom. This article presents results of a study investigating the processes and outcomes of implementing proof-related tasks in the classroom. Data collection consisted of observations of 7 middle school classrooms during implementation of proof-related tasks—tasks providing opportunities for students to produce generalizations, conjectures, or proofs—in the Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) curriculum by teachers experienced in using the materials. The findings suggest that students' experiences with such tasks are insufficient for developing an understanding of what constitutes valid mathematical justification.

Contributor Notes

Kristen N. Bieda, Michigan State University, Department of Teacher Education, 312 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824; kbieda@msu.edu

(Corresponding author is Bieda kbieda@msu.edu)
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

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