ERIC Number: ED476087
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Jul
Proofs in Number Theory: History and Heresy.
The domain of number theory lends itself particularly well to generic argument, presented with the intention of conveying the force and structure of a conventional generalized argument through the medium of a particular case. The potential of generic examples as a didactic tool is virtually unrecognized. Although the use of such examples has good historical provenance, the suggestion that they might be an alternative to formal proof tends to be viewed as a kind of heresy from the perspective of modern proof practice. This paper discusses the advantages of using particular-but-generic proof strategies in undergraduate classrooms and in textbooks in order to convince students of the truth of number-theoretic theorems and student-generated conjectures. (KHR)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (26th, Norwich, England, July 21-26, 2002; see SE 067 806.