The effect of incorporating Geometer's Sketchpad in a high school geometry course to improve conceptual understanding, inductive reasoning, and motivation
Lisa Ames, The William Paterson University of New Jersey, United States
The William Paterson University of New Jersey . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of using a software program called Geometer’s Sketchpad in high school mathematics classes on students’ conceptual understanding and inductive reasoning skills in geometry, as well as on their motivation toward learning mathematics. Geometer’s Sketchpad is a type of interactive dynamic geometry software that provides students with a hands-on and visual approach to learning mathematics. The study compared two high school geometry classes, one using Geometer’s Sketchpad and one completing the same activities using paper and pencil. One class completed all the activities in the classroom with paper, pencil, and various geometry tools such as protractors, rulers, and compasses. The other class went to the library computers to complete these activities but used Geometer’s Sketchpad.
Three types of data were collected and analyzed. First, conceptual knowledge was assessed through pre and posttest scores on multiple choice and open-ended assessments. This data was analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variance test (ANOVA). Second, inductive reasoning was measured through 12 problem sets given twice a week during the intervention. Both groups completed the same sketches and open-ended questions in each problem set and this data was analyzed using an independent samples T-test. Third, motivation was assessed through pre and post motivation surveys. This data was analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variance test (ANOVA).
The results of this study indicated that students who used Geometer’s Sketchpad demonstrated increased inductive reasoning when learning geometry and the properties of quadrilaterals. Even though an increase in motivation or conceptual knowledge were not found to be significant, informal observations showed that higher achieving students tended to display greater motivation and on task time when using Geometer’s Sketchpad.
For teachers who may wish to implement the Geometer’s Sketchpad program in their classrooms, it is recommended that they provide students with a tutorial and handson training with Geometer’s Sketchpad before they use the program. Teachers must also make sure the students are completely comfortable with the program before using it with new topics. It is also suggested that Geometer’s Sketchpad be used over a long time period since the program won’t have any immediate effects over the course of a few weeks. Geometer’s Sketchpad would help students the most when used with topics that require constructing and measuring more complex figures accurately, for example kites, trapezoids, and regular polygons.
Ames, L. The effect of incorporating Geometer's Sketchpad in a high school geometry course to improve conceptual understanding, inductive reasoning, and motivation. Master's thesis, The William Paterson University of New Jersey.
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