Do you hear a lot of grumbling in your home when high schools kids struggle with geometry proofs and can’t see the point?
Are geometry proofs really necessary? Do they have a purpose other than passing the math test and doing well on standardized tests? Is this a life skill your kids will use?
Unless your child majors in math, it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever need to the specific skill required in completing geometry proofs. And chances are he’ll soon forget how to do them.
So what’s the point? Why do we make kids go through this ordeal?
Learning to do geometry proofs is a brain-boosting activity that helps improve children’s brain function, often permanently. In other words, the thinking skills used in doing geometry proofs are important thinking skills your child will use in other academic classes . . . and life in general.
Doing geometry proofs requires the brain to operate in new and complex ways, forming and reinforcing complex brain connections. Once developed, these neural connections remain, ready to “jump into action” in real-life situations, long after how-to-do-geometry-proofs has faded into mental oblivion.
Brain patterns developed by doing geometry proofs include three essential skills.
Organization: Doing proofs requires organization, forcing the brain to cultivate and improve neural paths in the executive function area. This involves sorting the given information, making diagrams, labeling, and keeping track of the progress throughout the task. Until they’re doing geometry proofs, your kids probably haven’t done any activity that requires such complex organizing skills.
Logical thinking: Doing proofs requires logical thinking, a mental process that is rarely well developed in the younger high school students. The act of doing proofs provides your child with a great opportunity to develop, or improve upon, this valuable higher order thinking process.
Self-discipline: The mental and physical tasks required when doing proofs are unnatural, tedious, and difficult for many students. Now they’re being asked to make diagrams from sentences and symbols, and to plan, carry out and coordinate all the required activities. As a result, your kids tend to develop greater self-discipline.
So doing geometry proofs isn’t just for passing tests. It’s good for the brain. Doing proofs help make young brains better, often permanently better. In fact, math in general is good for the brain.
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