How to write a conjecture in math

How can students search for counterexamples? The talks I saw by him always mentioned a few of these conjectures and also proved a few instances.

People are attracted to different mathematics questions. It is probably a safer bet to assume that neither you nor me will ever phrase a question considered important, interesting and difficult enough by many enough to get elevated to the status of conjectures.

This should illustrate two rather diametrically opposed attitudes to "conjectures" by two very famous mathematicians. An advantage of peer review such as this to teacher comments is that students are usually quite good at finding alternative interpretations of confusing statements that reveal the imprecision in a claim.

Students provide constructive advice on how to clarify each statement.


To make sure that they clearly define what they are describing, they are not allowed to use labels from the figures; they had to use accepted vocabulary. While confirming examples may help to provide insight into why a conjecture is true, we must also actively search for counterexamples.

They should look at extreme cases at the far ends of the domains of their problems e. Let me describe two rather famous instances before making some remarks: Running ahead and throwing around conjectures is simply not an appropriate attitude I think. It is both a sign of their thoughtfulness and the possible start of a new and better theory.

For example, "the medians of a triangle are concurrent" is preferable but could be turned into "if a figure is a triangle, then its medians are concurrent.

After having made some contributions to your field you will probably be in position to judge whether formulating a conjecture rather than a question or a problem is appropriate or not, for instance for reasons as listed by Matt E in his answer.

Students will get additional practice understanding the conjectures that their peers generate throughout the year. I am not in position to give any advice on that. You must be convinced that the conjecture is an important problem not only you must consider it important but others should be likely to agree.

Out of reasons of modesty I think it is therefore best to refrain from making them, at least as long as you haven't reached a certain status of recognition in your research area.

For a class activity that involves looking for counterexamples, see the section Understanding Definitions: When a sufficient condition has been met, then the conclusion for which it was a condition will be true regardless of any other properties.


Congruent side must be the corresponding non-included one these triangles are similar but not congruent. Conjectures that are unexpected or counter-intuitive, that reveal a complex pattern, or that would be useful in supporting other important conjectures are more likely to be appreciated by a wide audience.

Other conditional statements seem more descriptive than inferential. My response is simply: Students are often particularly motivated to prove their own claims and turn them into theorems. If the angle bisectors of a quadrilateral form a rectangle, then that figure is a parallelogram.

The following describes a sequence that provides practice creating and reworking conjectures. The class then discusses each conjecture.Definition Of Conjecture. Conjecture is a statement that is believed to be true but not yet proved.

Examples of Conjecture. The statement "Sum of the measures of the interior angles in any triangle is ° " is a conjecture. Scientists write hypotheses and test them to see if they are true. A conjecture is just an initial conclusion that you formed based on what you see and already know. Making a conjecture doesn't.

EXAMPLES, PATTERNS, AND CONJECTURES. Mathematical investigations involve a search for pattern and structure. At the start of an exploration, we may collect related examples of functions, numbers, shapes, or other mathematical objects.

Conjecture is a statement that is believed to be true but not yet proved. Examples of Conjecture The statement "Sum of the measures of the interior angles in any triangle is ° " is a conjecture. Your conjecture would be: The next number is 14 because the list is counting by 2s.

You didn't prove anything; you just noticed the pattern and formed a conclusion. Writing a Conjecture. Therefore, when you are writing a conjecture two things happen: You must notice some kind of.

You must be sure that the conjecture is unlikely to produce silly counter-examples or be confirmed quickly and easily.


If you formulate a conjecture, this might be interpreted to say that you're thinking that all these conditions are fulfilled.

How to write a conjecture in math
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