Challenges pupils face in enlargement transformation geometry in Zambian secondary schools: a case of two selected schools,one in Lusaka district and the other in Monze district.

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Malinta, Mande
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The University of Zambia
Zambian Secondary Schools have experienced a low performance in Mathematics at School Certificate level. Analyses of the results in terms of questions and facts on the examination indicate that Transformation Geometry is one of the topics in Mathematics in which pupils are not performing well. The study therefore, set out to establish the challenges that pupils face in learning Transformation Geometry, in particular Enlargement Transformation, at two selected schools in Zambia, one located in Lusaka district and the other in Monze district. The Van Hiele’s model of levels of geometric thought was used as the theoretical framework of the study, as well as one of the means of analyzing data. The study largely used a mixed method approach that included both quantitative descriptive study design and qualitative study design. Data was obtained through the written test and interview schedules from One Hundred Grade Twelve pupils from two schools, in which 50 were purposively selected from each school who wrote the test and where systematic randomly sampled. Teachers of mathematics teaching geometry to grade 12s were purposively sampled in this study. Data was analyzed through the process of coding, categorizing, clustering and performance indicators corresponding to the Van Hiele’s model. The analysis of the results showed that most of the Grade Twelve pupils at the two schools were reasoning at the lowest level of the Van Hiele’s model (visualization), and had difficulties with description, abstraction and deduction levels. Further, the teachers indicated that Transformation Geometry was unpopular among the pupils. Key findings of the study showed that most of the Grade Twelve pupils had challenges with using the concept of Enlargement to transform a figure when using the centre and scale factor, discovering the properties of Enlargement by determining the centre and scale factor and, using the concept of enlargement to carry out geometrical proof. The study recommended that Curriculum developers and teachers should ensure that the pupils’ first experiences with geometry at primary school level should primarily emphasize the formal study of physical shapes and their properties to develop pupils’ intuition and knowledge about spacial environment. Further, the teachers should ensure that pupils have enough and relevant pre-requisite knowledge to Enlargement Transformation Geometry, such as concepts of ‘ratio and proportion and similarity’, and that they are helped to understand and be encouraged to use geometrical ideas and terminologies applicable to Enlargement Transformation. Furthermore, the Van Hiele’s theory of geometry learning should be intensively used in schools to describe and analyze pupils’ levels of geometric understanding in transformations within the context of enlargement so that proper support and remediation to pupils might be supplied. Key words: Challenges, Enlargement Transformation, Problem-solving, Spacial skills.
Challenges-- Enlargement Transformation , Problem-solving--Spacial skills.