Students' Errors in Constructing Mathematical Proofs by Direct Method


In mathematics, there are several methods for proving mathematical statements, two of them are direct method and indirect method. Both the methods were included in the mathematics curriculum at senior high school level as a learning topic. It implied that the teachers or pre-service teachers must master these methods. In addition, learning advanced mathematics courses also needed the ability of mathematical proving. The direct method was often used in proving mathematical statements. This descriptive qualitative study was conducted to examine what errors were written by the students in constructing mathematical proofs by direct method. Two basic problems (mathematical statements) were administered to 13 college students. They were pre-service mathematics teachers in one of the public universities in Aceh, Indonesia, and were asked to prove the statements by direct method. The data were analyzed by using Miles and Huberman step. The results showed that there were three main errors, (1) errors in using definition correctly, (2) errors in algebraic process, and (3) proving by examples. It concluded that the students must be accustomed to mathematical proving activities to avoid errors in constructing mathematical proofs.

Keywords: constructing mathematical proofs, direct method, students’ errors

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