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You are on page 1of 5

0

© 2014 by HP Calculators Revised April 7, 2014 Page 1 of 5

Conjecture and Proof in Geometry:

A Practical Unit of Study

In this activity, we use a simple geometric construction to deliver a number of interesting

conjectures, followed by the proofs of these conjectures. The vision is to have the class share this

construction, and divide into groups to pursue group conjectures and proofs. Instead of the

typical, more artificial triangle proofs, these proofs involve quadrilaterals.

The geometric construction that forms the basis of this activity consists of a quadrilateral ABCD.

The midpoints of the sides of this quadrilateral are found and named KLMN. Then quadrilateral

KLMN is constructed. Rather than have the students create this construction themselves (which

is entirely possible but not done here to save time), we created an app named MidpointQuad,

based on the built-in HP Prime Geometry app. Because of this, the app uses the primary app keys

as described in the table below.

Key View Name Description

I

App Library Displays the library of apps

Y

Symbolic View Displays the definitions of each geometric object

P

Plot View Displays the geometric construction

M

Numeric View Displays any calculations or measurements in the construction

SI

Info View Displays a note explaining the purpose of the app and how to

use it

Getting Started

1. Press I and tap on the icon for the

MidpointQuad app

The app opens in Plot view. Press P at

any time to return to this view. The green

quadrilateral ABCD is the basis of the

construction. You can tap and drag to move

any of its vertices. You can also select and

move any of the sides. The blue

quadrilateral is formed by connecting the

midpoints of the sides of ABCD. The

diagonals AC and BD are also drawn to aid

in conjecture and proof. At the top of the

view is a test for whether or not KLMN is a

parallelogram.

Conjecture and Proof in Geometry: A Practical Unit of Study Version 1.0

© 2014 by HP Calculators Revised April 7, 2014 Page 2 of 5

The test can return any of the following five values:

0: KLMN is not a parallelogram

1: KLMN is a parallelogram

2: KLMN is a rhombus

3: KLMN is a rectangle

4: KLMN is a square

Take a moment and experiment with the construction by moving points A, B, C, or D. You will

see that the test never returns zero. Even if you make ABCD concave, the test will continue to

return a value of at least one. This leads us to our first conjecture:

The quadrilateral formed by the midpoints of the sides of any other quadrilateral is a

parallelogram.

The Technique

Now let's make ABCD a parallelogram.

2. Move points A, B, C, and D so that

they appear to form something close

to a parallelogram. In the figure to

the right, the opposite sides of

ABCD appear to be roughly equal in

length and parallel.

3. Press Y to open the Symbolic

view of the app and observe the

definitions of points A, B, C, and D.

We shall edit the coordinates of these points

so that they are more exactly the coordinates

of a parallelogram. Specifically, in our case

(but not necessarily yours), we will make the

following changes:

GA: point(-5, -5)

GB: point(-2, 1)

GC: point(9, 1)

GD: point(6, -5)

Conjecture and Proof in Geometry: A Practical Unit of Study Version 1.0

© 2014 by HP Calculators Revised April 7, 2014 Page 3 of 5

4. Tap on the definition of GA to select

it.

5. Tap to edit the definition

6. Delete the current coordinates and

enter your own. Press E or tap

when you are done.

In the figure to the right, the editing has

been done to the definitions of A, B, C, and

D.

7. Press P to return to Plot view to

see what has changed.

In this case, nothing has changed. Making

ABCD a parallelogram has had no effect on

KLMN. This example was selected merely

to illustrate the technique involved:

Move A, B, C, or D to form what

appears to be a special quadrilateral

Go to Symbolic view and edit the

definitions to make the coordinates

exact

Return to Plot view to see the effects

Try it yourself

Make ABCD a kite. Once it is a kite, select

one of the vertices and press E to

select it. Now you can move the vertex

carefully using the directional pad, one pixel

at a time. Move the vertex so that ABCD

continues to be a kite. In the figure to the

right, you could move A or C horizontally.

Or you could move points B and D

vertically.

Make a second conjecture based on your

experience.

Conjecture and Proof in Geometry: A Practical Unit of Study Version 1.0

© 2014 by HP Calculators Revised April 7, 2014 Page 4 of 5

Do these on your own

Now that you have practiced the technique, try each of the following and make a conjecture for

each one.

Make ABCD a rhombus.

In the figure to the right, the test has been

hidden. Press M to go to Numeric view,

tap on the check box to select the test, and

tap again to toggle it to unchecked (or tap

). Numeric view is used to create tests,

measurements, and other calculations. Those

that are checked appear in Plot view.

Make Conjecture #3.

Make ABCD a rectangle

Make Conjecture #4

Make ABCD a square

Make Conjecture #5

Conjecture and Proof in Geometry: A Practical Unit of Study Version 1.0

© 2014 by HP Calculators Revised April 7, 2014 Page 5 of 5

Advanced: Trapezoids are Interesting!

Make ABCD an isosceles trapezoid

Make Conjecture #6

You can go even further. In the figure to the

right, ABCD is a special trapezoid and the

test indicates that KLMN is a rectangle.

What property or properties must trapezoid

ABCD possess in order to make KLMN a

rectangle?

Make Conjecture #7

In the figure to the right, ABCD is a very

special isosceles trapezoid and the test

indicates that KLMN is a square. What

special property or properties must isosceles

trapezoid ABCD possess in order to make

KLMN a square?

Make Conjecture 8

In this set of activities, we used one simple construction to generate 8 conjectures to prove, from

the relatively easy to the devilishly tricky. The Numeric, Symbolic, and Plot views of the HP

Prime Geometry app encourage open-ended experimentation, the making of conjectures, and the

exploration of paths to proofs.

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