This paper discusses variation in reasoning strategies among expert mathematicians, with a particular focus on the degree to which they use examples to reason about general conjectures. We first discuss literature on the use of examples in understanding and reasoning about abstract mathematics, relating this to a conceptualisation of syntactic and semantic reasoning strategies relative to a representation system of proof. We then use this conceptualisation as a basis for contrasting the behaviour of two successful mathematics research students whilst they evaluated and proved number theory conjectures. We observe that the students exhibited strikingly different degrees of example use, and argue that previously observed individual differences in reasoning strategies may exist at the expert level. We conclude by discussing implications for pedagogy and for future research.
- How nice! Actually, I thought it might be you when I heard your name, Raymond (@MathEdnet)! We should talk tomorrow :-) 2 months ago
- Enjoyed rehearsing rehearsals at #Novemberkonferansen with @ekazemi today! Choral counting has a lot to it! 5 months ago
- J. Skott: «Generic example of generic proofs is Gauss: 1+2+3...+100=?» #Novemberkonferansen #playonwords 5 months ago
- Next up at #Novemberkonferansen is Jeppe Skott, who talks about Goldilocks, mathematical reasoning and proof. Nice combination :-) 5 months ago
- Listening to a very nice lecture on the importance of maths by Chris Budd ( people.bath.ac.uk/mascjb/) at #Novemberkonferansen 5 months ago