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Software tools for geometrical problem solving: potentials and pitfalls

By Lulu Healy and Celia Hoyles


Dynamic geometry software provides tools for students to construct and experiment with geometrical objects and relationships. On the basis of their experimentation, students make conjectures that can be tested with the tools available. In this paper, we explore the role of software tools in geometry problem solving and how these tools, in interaction with activities that embed the goals of teachers and students, mediate the problem solving process. Through analysis of successful student responses, we show how dynamic software tools can not only scaffold the solution process but also help students move from argumentation to logical deduction. However, by reference to the work of less successful students, we illustrate how software tools that cannot be programmed to fit the goals of the students may prevent them from expressing their (correct) mathematical ideas and thus impede their problem solution

Year: 2002
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