ERIC Number: EJ797060
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Connecting Science and Mathematics: The Nature of Proof and Disproof in Science and Mathematics
Oehrtman, Michael; Lawson, Anton E.
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, v6 n2 p377-403 Jun 2008
Disagreements exist among textbook authors, curriculum developers, and even among science and mathematics educators/researchers regarding the meanings and roles of several key nature-of-science (NOS) and nature-of-mathematics (NOM) terms such as proof, disproof, hypotheses, predictions, theories, laws, conjectures, axioms, theorems, and postulates. To assess the extent to which these disagreements may exist among high school science and mathematics teachers, a 14-item survey of the meanings and roles of the above terms was constructed and administered to a sample of science and mathematics teachers. As expected, the science teachers performed better than the mathematics teachers on the NOS items (44.1 versus 24.7%, respectively) and the mathematics teachers performed better than the science teachers on the NOM items (59.0 versus 26.1%, respectively). Nevertheless, responses indicated considerable disagreement and/or lack of understanding among both groups of teachers concerning the meanings/roles of proof and disproof and several other key terms. Therefore it appears that these teachers are poorly equipped to help students gain understanding of these key terms. Classroom use of the "If/and/then/Therefore" pattern of argumentation, which is employed in this paper to explicate the hypothesis/conjecture testing process, might be a first step toward rectifying this situation.
Descriptors: Science Teachers, Mathematics Teachers, Mathematical Logic, Validity, Science Instruction, Mathematics Instruction, Prediction, Theories, Secondary School Teachers, Secondary School Mathematics, Secondary School Science, Mathematical Concepts, Scientific Concepts, Hypothesis Testing
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.springerlink.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A