You are here:

The Interaction between Intuitive and Formal Mathematical Thinking: A Case Study


IJMEST Volume 38, Number 3, ISSN 0020-739X


This paper reports studies of the interaction between the intuitive, the formal and the procedural aspects in the processes of mathematical understanding of Peter, a first-year undergraduate of Mathematics. Using an activity and an interview, an attempt is made to analyse his mental operations. The way in which he handles visual-graphic representations in a problem of uniformly accelerating motion in order to reach mathematical conclusions and justify them with strict formal reasoning, making the transition from the intuitive assumptions to the mathematical argumentation, is studied. The "focal analysis" of the interview's content allows for an in depth investigation of qualitative elements of the student's mathematical thought. The study of the cognitive operations through the interconnection of various theoretical perspectives may lead to teaching interventions in order to develop students' intuitive forces in a controlled manner, so that the formal mathematical thinking process can be promoted. This case study is part of a wider action research aiming to introduce first-year undergraduates to basic Calculus concepts. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)


, F. & Paschos, T. (2007). The Interaction between Intuitive and Formal Mathematical Thinking: A Case Study. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 38(3), 353-365. Retrieved May 20, 2022 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on December 3, 2015. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.