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Explanatory unification by proofs in school mathematics

Explanatory unification by proofs in school mathematics
Explanatory unification by proofs in school mathematics
Kitcher’s idea of ‘explanatory unification’, while originally proposed in the philosophy of science, may also be relevant to mathematics education, as a way of enhancing student thinking and achieving classroom activity that is closer to authentic mathematical practice. There is, however, no mathematics education research treating explanatory unification in detail. In this article, we address this issue by illustrating explanatory unification of statements by proofs with a classroom episode involving an 8th grade class tackling ‘star polygon’ tasks. Based on analysing this episode, we suggest that another benefit of explanatory unification in mathematics education is in fostering mathematical understanding.
teaching, proof, school, mathematics
0228-0671
31-37
Komatsu, Kotaro
22446313-5c59-4d33-a7c2-94684615e98f
Fujita, Taro
8564512b-09a9-498f-8fc7-0569d071f04c
Jones, Keith
ea790452-883e-419b-87c1-cffad17f868f
Sue, Naoki
e23f2647-3852-4a1a-b652-3f3f5bd0cada
Komatsu, Kotaro
22446313-5c59-4d33-a7c2-94684615e98f
Fujita, Taro
8564512b-09a9-498f-8fc7-0569d071f04c
Jones, Keith
ea790452-883e-419b-87c1-cffad17f868f
Sue, Naoki
e23f2647-3852-4a1a-b652-3f3f5bd0cada

Komatsu, Kotaro, Fujita, Taro, Jones, Keith and Sue, Naoki (2018) Explanatory unification by proofs in school mathematics. For the Learning of Mathematics, 38 (1), 31-37.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Kitcher’s idea of ‘explanatory unification’, while originally proposed in the philosophy of science, may also be relevant to mathematics education, as a way of enhancing student thinking and achieving classroom activity that is closer to authentic mathematical practice. There is, however, no mathematics education research treating explanatory unification in detail. In this article, we address this issue by illustrating explanatory unification of statements by proofs with a classroom episode involving an 8th grade class tackling ‘star polygon’ tasks. Based on analysing this episode, we suggest that another benefit of explanatory unification in mathematics education is in fostering mathematical understanding.

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Komatsu-etc_Explanatory_unification_FLM_2018 - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 January 2018
Published date: 19 March 2018
Additional Information: The paper is open access and free to download from the FLM website at: http://flm-journal.org/Articles/58A829F06872CEA0F0505BD20F3028.pdf
Keywords: teaching, proof, school, mathematics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 419139
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419139
ISSN: 0228-0671
PURE UUID: 7ca3ced2-1ed7-4a32-a4a1-474bcddab0a1
ORCID for Keith Jones: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3677-8802

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 01:21

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Contributors

Author: Kotaro Komatsu
Author: Taro Fujita
Author: Keith Jones ORCID iD
Author: Naoki Sue

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