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The Pythagorean Theorem

In this section, you will explore the relationship between the hypotenuse and the legs in a right triangle.

1. On the PYTHAGOREAN tab, click on Show labels.


a. Which side of the triangle is the hypotenuse? Hint: the hypotenuse is the longest side of the triangle. Which
angle is the right angle? Which angles are the acute angles?
b. Drag the vertices of this right triangle to make other right triangles. Which angle is the hypotenuse always
opposite? The other sides of the triangle are called legs. Name the legs of the triangle.
2. Click on Show values.
a. Use a calculator to square the lengths of the legs, a and b. What is a2? What is b2? Add those values. What is
a2 + b2?
b. Next, square c, the length of the hypotenuse. How does c2 compare with a2 + b2? Use the Gizmotm to check
your work by clicking on Show squared side lengths.
c. Drag the vertices to see more right triangles. Is it always true that a2 + b2 = c2? This is the Pythagorean
Theorem.
d. Click on Show squares. You should see large squares attached to each side of the right triangle. What are
the areas of the squares? How do those areas relate to the Pythagorean Theorem? If the right triangle had
side lengths 3, 4, and 5, what would be the area of each of the squares?
3. Use the Pythagorean Theorem to solve these problems. Use the Gizmo to check your work.
a. If the lengths of the sides of a right triangle are 6 and 20, find the length of the hypotenuse. Hint: If you
know the value of c2, how do you find c?
b. Suppose c = 28.3 and a = 24. How do you find b2? How do you find b?
c. If three whole numbers a, b, and c, satisfy the equation a2 + b2 = c2, they are called a Pythagorean triple.
Do 14, 48, and 50 form a Pythagorean triple? Explain why or why not.
The Converse of the Pythagorean Theorem
In this section, you will learn to use the converse of the Pythagorean Theorem to determine if a triangle is a right
triangle.

1. Click on the CONVERSE tab and select Show values. Turn on Show squared side lengths.
a. What is the length of the longest side? Let that value be c. Square c. What is c2?
b. Drag the vertices of the triangle and watch the values of c2 and a2 + b2 in the squared side lengths table as
you drag. Make a triangle such that c2 > a2 + b2. Is this triangle acute, obtuse, or right? The key is the
measure of the largest angle. Click on Click to measure angles and use the interactive protractor to
measure the largest angle. (For help using the protractor, click on Gizmo help, below the Gizmo.) Is the
angle obtuse, acute, or right? Click on Show angle measures to check your work.
c. Drag the vertices of the triangle more to confirm for yourself that, if c2 > a2 + b2, the triangle is always
obtuse.
d. What is true about a triangle if c2 < a2 + b2? Use the Gizmo to verify your hypothesis.
e. What is true about a triangle if c2 = a2 + b2?
2. Summarize your findings by answering the questions below.
a. If c2 > a2 + b2, is the triangle acute, obtuse, or right?
b. If c2 < a2 + b2, is the triangle acute, obtuse, or right?
c. If c2 = a2 + b2, is the triangle acute, obtuse, or right? (This is the converse of the Pythagorean theorem.)