Geometric discovery through interactive software : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has recently called for many changes within mathematics education. The NCTM Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics develops the basis for these changes. A major theme throughout the Standards is that learning should be accomplished by active experimentation, rather than passive absorption. One method for implementing such a change is the use of computers in the teaching of mathematics. Many software packages exist to aid in teaching such high school subjects as algebra and pre-calculus, however, there are presently few packages on the market that specialize in geometry, and even fewer resources to aid teachers in utilizing this software. The Geometer's Sketchpad and Cabri-Geometre are the most powerful computer tools available for geometric exploration. They allow students to modify particular geometric aspects of a figure and instantly watch changes caused by those modifications. Through observations, students are then able to make educated conjectures about geometric ideas. This project branched in two directions. The first was the comparison of the two interactive software packages listed above. The second was the development of computer laboratory activities to guide students in their discovery of geometric concepts.