Teaching proof in the context of physics

Gila Hanna*, Ysbrand de Bruyn, Nathan Sidoli, Dennis Lomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes an application of statics to geometrical proofs in the classroom. The aim of the study was to find out whether the use of concepts and arguments from statics can help students understand and produce proofs of geometrical theorems. The two theorems studied were: (1) that the medians in a triangle meet at a single point which is the centre of gravity of the triangle, and (2) the Varignon theorem, that the lines joining the midpoints of successive sides of a quadrilateral form a parallelogram. The classroom experiment showed that most students were successful in using arguments from statics in their proofs, and that they gained a better understanding of the theorems. These findings lend support to the claim that the introduction of statics helps students produce proofs and grasp their meaning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
JournalZDM - International Journal on Mathematics Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Mathematics(all)


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