Emma Bellman

Puzzling Proofs: Navigating Proof Construction and Communication in Middle School

Recent reforms in STEM education argue for students engagement in disciplinary practices, such as the construction and communication of a mathematical proof. Researchers have argued that some of the difficulties students face with proofs in particular, may stem from their limited opportunities to engage in productive disciplinary practices, such as successfully employing multiple forms of reasoning when constructing a proof (Boero, 1999; Pedemonte, 2007). In this project, my graduate student mentor and I will explore how educators can support proof construction and communication in middle school that may encourage the use of multiple forms of reasoning through non-linear explorations. Using qualitative methods, we will study young learners reasoning patterns and disciplinary practices as they participate in innovative puzzle-like proving activities. We will pay particular attention to the role of material and social configurations that may influence young students equitable opportunities for participation in productive disciplinary practices.

Message to Sponsor

I am very grateful to the SURF-SMART program and my graduate mentor, Vicky Laina, for allowing me to take part in this program. I am thrilled to be able to continue this program thanks to the flexibility and creativity of Vicky, especially during these uncertain times. It is very exciting to be able to further pursue my passion for equity in STEM education, and I can not wait to learn and grow throughout this program.
  • Major: Undeclared
  • Sponsor: Johnson Fund
  • Mentor: Vasiliki Laina