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The Pythagorean Theorem

Name ___________________________ Period ____

One of the most famous sailboat races in the world is the Americas Cup. In each sailboat, the mast and boom form a right angle. The mainsail is in the shape of a right triangle.
mast

mainsail hypotenuse leg boom

leg

In a right triangle, the side opposite the right angle is called the hypotenuse. This side is always the longest side of a right triangle. The other sides are called legs of the triangle. To find the length of any side of a right triangle when the other two lengths are known, you can use the formula designed by the Greek mathematician Pythagoras.

The Pythagorean Theorem: If a and b are the measures of the legs of a right triangle and c is the measure of the hypotenuse, then a2 + b2 = c2.

EXAMPLE 1 Finding the Hypotenuse


Find the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle if a=12 in. and b=5 in. a2 + b 2 = c2 122 + 52 = c2 144 + 25 = c2 169 = c
2

Pythagorean Theorem Substitute a=12 in., b=5 in. Simplify Simplify by addition b c

169 = 13 in. = c
!
!

c2

Take the positive square root of each side Disregard the negative square root ( -13). Why? The hypotenuse is a distance, and therefore cannot be a negative number.

EXAMPLE 2 Finding the Hypotenuse


Find the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle if a=8 m and b=6 m. a2 + b 2 = c2 82 + 62 = c2 64 + 36 = c2 100 = c2
100 =
c2
Pythagorean Theorem Substitute a=8m, b=6m Simplify Simplify by addition Take the square root of each side 6m b a c

8m

_____ m = c
!

How long is the hypotenuse?

EXAMPLE 3 Finding the Hypotenuse


A right triangle has legs of lengths 9 cm and 12 cm. What is the length of the hypotenuse? Round to the nearest hundredth. a2 + b 2 = c2 9 + 12 = c
2 2 2

Pythagorean Theorem b Substitute a=9 cm, b=12 Simplify Simplify by addition 12 cm c cm

81 + 144 = c2 225 = c2 _____ = _____

What comes next? How long is the hypotenuse?

a 9 cm

______ cm = _____

EXAMPLE 4 Finding the Hypotenuse

Find the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle where the legs lengths are a=5 cm and b=12 cm. a2 + b 2 = c2 52 + 122 = c2
Pythagorean Theorem Substitute a=5 cm, b=12 cm b 12 cm c

______ + _______ = ______

What comes

________ = _______

next?

5 cm

________ = _______

________ = _______

How long is the hypotenuse?

Using the same steps as the Now its your turn! examples, find the length of the hypotenuse on each of the following right triangle to the nearest tenth. Show your work.

1.
9m c

c = _________
7m

2.
20

12

x = _________

3.

z 500

252

z = _________

Draw a picture to help you solve the following word problems. Be sure to show all work. Round to the nearest tenth.

4. A pigeon leaves its nest and flies 5 km due east. The pigeon then flies 3 km due north. How far is the pigeon from its nest?

The pigeon is __________ km from its nest.

5. The height of a second story window is 25 feet, and a window cleaner will need to put the ladder ten feet away from the house in order to avoid the bushes and flowers. How long of a ladder does the window cleaner need in order to achieve this task?

The ladder needs to be _________ feet long.

6. A carpenter wants to build a handicap ramp over a set of steps that is 12 feet long and 5 feet high. How long will the ramp be?

The ramp will be _________ feet long.

7. The height of the bed of a moving truck is 4 feet. The distance from the bottom edge of a ramp on the ground to the truck is 6 feet. How long is the ramp?

The ramp is ____________ long.

Solving Equations Using the Pythagorean Theorem When you draw a diagonal of a rectangle, you separate the rectangle into two right triangles.

hypotenuse

diagonal

legs

8. The walls of the Downtown Recreation Center are being covered with paneling. The doorway into one room is 0.9 meters wide and 2.5 meters high. What is the length of the longest rectangular panel that can be taken through the doorway diagonally?

9. In a baseball diamond, the distance between each of the three bases and home plate are 90 feet and all form right angles. How far does the second baseman have to throw the ball in order to get the runner out before he slides into home plate?

10. Television sets are generally measured diagonally, thus classifying them as 13 inches, 27 inches, 36 inches, and so forth. You want to purchase an entertainment center, but it only has enough room in its cubicle for a 27 inch TV set. You know that the length of your TV is 15 inches, and the height of our TV is 12 inches. Will your TV be able to fit into the cubicle?

12 in.

What if the missing side is NOT the hypotenuse? The theorem still works.

EXAMPLE Finding the Leg

a2 + b 2 = c2 92 + x2 = 152 81 + x2 = 225 81 81 + x2 = 225 81 x2 = 144


x2 =
15 X

144

x = 12
!
9

Find the length of the missing leg to the tenth. 11.

10 y

2.5

12.
12.7 x

13. A right triangle has a 47-inch hypotenuse and a 19-inch leg. What is the length of the other leg?

Check your work on problems # 1 13 with the answer key at the end of this packet. Then complete the following set of questions as homework for review. Homework Problems

Use the triangle at the right. Find the length of the missing side to the nearest tenth.
b a c

1. a = 6, b = 8, c = ______ 3. a = 1, b = 2, c = ______ 5. a = ______, b = 7, c = 10 7. a = 4, b = 4, c = ______ 9. a = 15, b = ______, c = 25 11. a = 75, b = ______, c = 100

2. a = 8, b = 24, c = ______ 4. a = 3, b = ______, c = 5 6. a = ______, b = 12, c = 13 8. a = 13, b = 2, c = ______ 10. a = ______, b = 10, c = 15 12. a = ______, b = 12, c = 18

13. How far up a wall will an 11 m ladder reach, if the foot of the ladder must be 4 m from the base of the wall?

14. Frank Rd. and James Rd. make a perpendicular intersection. The state wants to build a new road. The new road will intersect 3 miles north of the intersection on Frank Rd. and 4 miles west of the intersection of James Rd. (a) How long will the new road be that intersects Frank and James roads?

James Rd.

(b) The new road would cost $10 per foot to pave. What would be the cost of the new road?

Frank Rd.

15. (a) A gondola travels between two elevations along a cable. What is the distance the gondola travels from the bottom of the hill to the top?
Upper elevation 7761 ft. Lower elevation 6421 ft.

3350 ft.

(b) The gondola travels from the bottom of the hill to the top of the hill in 20 minutes. What is the average speed of the gondola in feet per minute?

16. (a) Find the length of the glass insert for the solar heating panel shown. Round your answer to the nearest tenth.

15 in.

21 in.

24 in.

(b) What is the area of the rectangular surface of the solar panel?

ANSWERS to Examples 2 4 and problems # 1 - 13

Example 2 10 m = c Example 3 15. 97 cm = c Example 4 25 + 144 = c2 169 = c2 13 cm = c 1. c = 11.4 m 2. x = 23.32 3. z = 559.9 4. 5.8 km 5. 26.9 ft. 6. 13 ft. 7. 7.2 ft. 8. 2.7 m 9. 127.3 ft. 10. Yes, the TV can fit. The TV set is 19.2 in. diagonally. 11. y = 9.7 12. x = 9.0 13. 43.0 in.
255 = c 2