# The Proof-Writing Process: A Look at Novice Mathematics Students

## Document Type

Presentation Abstract

## Presentation Date

4-3-2008

## Abstract

Proof writing is a serious concern for all mathematicians. Educators must also be concerned with how to instruct students in learning to write mathematical proofs. Math education research can lend answers to how students write proofs, what strategies they are using in the process, the products of proof writing, and how to teach students to write proofs. This talk is based on my recently completed study designed to describe the detailed processes and strategies used during the proof-writing process in order to more completely understand this process.

Specifically, this study is designed to answer the following questions:

- What are the proof writing strategies of a novice mathematics proof writer?
- What strategies are in use during a successful proof writing attempt?
- In what specific ways do novice mathematics proof writers use heuristics or strategies when working through a proof, which go beyond the application of standard problem-solving heuristics?
- Do the strategies used by individuals remain constant across multiple questions or do the questions affect the choice of strategies?

In this talk, we will take an in-depth look at a few key participants in the study and investigate what can be learned from their work. I will describe their work, tendencies, errors, and successes, and give some ideas of what this data could tell us about proof-writing strategies. This talk is designed to give a flavor of math education research and to gain an appreciation of what can be learned through such research. I will also discuss further research opportunities for how we can continue to study the proof-writing process.

## Recommended Citation

VanSpronsen, Hillary, "The Proof-Writing Process: A Look at Novice Mathematics Students" (2008). *Colloquia of the Department of Mathematical Sciences*. 285.

https://scholarworks.umt.edu/mathcolloquia/285

## Additional Details

Thursday, 3 April 2008

4:10 p.m. in 103

3:30 p.m. Refreshments in Math Lounge 109