19 Oct 2015

Year 8 pupils investigated Pythagoras’ theorem which relates to the length of sides in a right angled triangle.  Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician who lived between 570 – 495BC.   While he proved the theory, it is believed the Egyptians had some evidence of the same theory.  They used rope with knots at equal increments and shaped the rope into right angle triangles (these were possibly investigations during the building of the pyramids).  Pythagoras then proved the theory both geometrically (exploring with shapes) and algebraically (exploring using letters).   He discovered that if the two shorter sides were multiplied by themselves (squared) then their sum was equal to the square of longest side (hypotenuse).

Year 8 pupils spent a double lesson as part of our school Enrichment Week (Investigations) using string with equal increments of cm (whole class demonstration used metre increments – see the photo below) to create right angle triangles.  They found it a little tricky to be precise and needed to work together to shape the string into position.  It was an interesting to hear them say how much easier it was to use the formula:

a²+b² = c²

They were pleased to be able to offer a more precise answer for the length of the hypotenuse.

Visual representation of the theory using squares adjacent to side lengths.  This is the classic triangle said to have been the basis of Pythagoras’ theory.

Maths 20151016

Year 8 creating the classic right angled triangle (as above) using string:

A1 Maths 20151016 A2 trophy Maths 20151016