Vol. 29 No. 1 (2020)

Undergraduate Students’ Meanings for Central Angle and Inscribed Angle

Biyao Liang
University of Georgia
Carlos Castillo-Garsow
Eastern Washington University

Published 2020-12-18


  • cognition,
  • inscribed angle,
  • central angle,
  • circle geometry


Contributing to research on students’ multifaceted meanings for angles (e.g., angles as ray pairs, as regions, and as turns), we report on three undergraduate students’ meanings for central and inscribed angles in circles. Specifically, we characterize how these meanings govern their mathematical activities when engaging in a circle geometry task, including their experienced perturbations and reconciliation of those perturbations. Our conceptual analysis reveals that some meanings are productive for students to conceive of a reflex angle in a circle and the correspondence between a central and an inscribed angle, while other meanings are limited.