The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Providing a foundation for deductive reasoning: students' interpretations when using dynamic geometry software and their evolving mathematical explanations

Jones, Keith (2000) Providing a foundation for deductive reasoning: students' interpretations when using dynamic geometry software and their evolving mathematical explanations Educational Studies in Mathematics, 44, (1-2), pp. 55-85. (doi:10.1023/A:1012789201736).

Record type: Article


A key issue for mathematics education is how children can be supported in shifting from ‘because it looks right’ or ‘because it works in these cases’ to convincing arguments which work in general. In geometry, forms of software usually known as dynamic geometry environments may be useful as they can enable students to interact with geometrical theory. Yet the meanings that students gain of deductive reasoning through experience with such software is likely to be shaped, not only by the tasks they tackle and their interactions with their teacher and with other students, but also by features of the software environment. In order to try to illuminate this latter phenomenon, and to determine the longer-term influence of using such software, this paper reports on data from a longitudinal study of 12-year-old students’ interpretations of geometrical objects and relationships when using dynamic geometry software. The focus of the paper is the progressive mathematisation of the student’s sense of the software, examining their interpretations and using the explanations that students give of the geometrical properties of various quadrilaterals that they construct as one indicator of this. The research suggests that the students’ explanations can evolve from imprecise, ‘everyday’ expressions, through reasoning that is overtly mediated by the software environment, to mathematical explanations of the geometric situation that transcend the particular tool being used. This latter stage, it is suggested, should help to provide a foundation on which to build further notions of deductive reasoning in mathematics.

PDF Jones_-_confirmation_of_publication_date.pdf - Other
Restricted to Registered users only
Download (55kB)

More information

Published date: December 2000
Additional Information: This revised version was published online in September 2005 with corrections to the Cover Date
Keywords: teaching, learning, pedagogy, curriculum, appropriation of learning, computer environments, deductive reasoning, dynamic geometry software, geometry, mathematical explanation, mathematisation, mathematization, mediation of learning, quadrilaterals, secondary school, sociocultural theory, DGS, DGE, Euclid, Euclidean, proof, proving, conjecture, conjecturing
Organisations: Mathematics, Science & Health Education


Local EPrints ID: 9809
ISSN: 0013-1954
PURE UUID: f9c89ff9-acbe-4e3a-b732-223362520d23
ORCID for Keith Jones: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Oct 2004
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 17:08

Export record


Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.