### BETWEEN FORMAL AND INFORMAL THINKING: THE USE OF ALGEBRA FOR SOLVING GEOMETRY PROBLEMS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF VAN HIELE THEORY

#### Abstract

This study investigated master students’ problem-solving strategies and also interpreted their formal and informal thinking when dealing with geometry problems inviting the use of algebra in the solution processes. In order to do so, an explorative study through individual written test, observation, and field notes, involving 47 master students of the primary education program, was carried out. The perspective of Van Hiele theory on the development of geometric thought was used to interpret student formal and informal thinking when dealing with geometry problems. The results showed that more than half of the participated students used informal rather than formal algebraic strategies in solving geometry problems; when students used algebraic strategies, their works were imperfect as they still made mistakes in applying the strategies. In the light of Van Hiele theory, we concluded that participated students’ thinking ability were still in between formal and informal thinking when dealing with geometry problems.

#### Keywords

#### References

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18269/jpmipa.v21i2.817

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