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## Troubles With Proofs

What mistakes would you expect to see in the proofs of the problem below? Take a moment and make some predictions. You might find it helpful to know that this was part of an end-of-the-year exam, and that kids were able to use whatever proof representation they wanted. In other words, they could write two-column proofs, paragraph proofs or flowchart.

Here are the mistakes, pulled from the class set. Or maybe you feel uncomfy describing these proofs as “mistakes”? Maybe it’s better to say that they contain mistakes? Or that they are proofs that aren’t where we probably want them to be?

Do you feel comfy calling these “mistakes”? What would you call them?

What are the next steps for these kids? What would you recommend that their teacher do?

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## If ABCD is a parallelogram…Prove that angle A is congruent to angle E

These are from my classroom, and a little bit of context might be helpful:

• This is from a very strong Honors class.
• Proof, right now, means something less formal in our Geometry class than it might mean in yours’. Proof doesn’t mean “Statements/Reasons.” Proof means offering an explanation for why something is true.
• We do this because it’s just as rigorous without crushing the souls of anyone in the classroom. Look at the array and variety of reasoning going on in these proofs. By keeping things less formal, we’ve got enough breathing room to actually do some Geometric thinking.
• As the year has been going on, though, we’re getting more and more rigorous. These exercises help reveal some sloppiness in the kids reasoning. These proofs fail by their own standards of explanation. I’m thinking that I’ll be printing these out and handing them back for discussion. This is exactly what my English teachers friend does with essays.

Feel free to comment wildly here, either on my standards, some of my bulletted statements, or about any of the student work.

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