A circle touches the lines OA, OB and AB where OA and OB are perpendicular. Show that the diameter of the circle is equal to the perimeter of the triangle
A 1 metre cube has one face on the ground and one face against a
wall. A 4 metre ladder leans against the wall and just touches the
cube. How high is the top of the ladder above the ground?
The area of a regular pentagon looks about twice as a big as the pentangle star drawn within it. Is it?
Solutions were received from Mary from Birchwood High School;
Sana, Jenny, Chris and Rosion of Madras College, St. Andrews; as
well as Andrei from School 205 Bucharest.
Some hard work went into these solutions but a little more
reflection at the start of the problem could have made it much
easier and reduced the consequent errors that appeared.
The first thing to look for and notice is Pythagorean triples
"hidden" in the sides.
Triangle ABC has AB = 25, AC = 40 and BC=39.
Draw a line from A to BC meeting BC at P so that it divides BC
into two parts of lengths BP=7 and PC=32.
AP is perpendicular to BC and AP = 24 (Pythagoras' theorem).
N.B. In triangle APB, $AP^2 = AB^2 - PB^2$
In triangle APC, $AP^2 = AC^2 - PC^2$
Therefore angle COQ is x (by symmetry)
Angle ABC = 1/2 Angle AOC = x (angle at centre and
The radius of the circle is OA.
In triangle AOQ
AO = 20/sin x
In triangle ABP
sin x = 24/25
Therefore OA = (20 x 25)/24 = 125/6
Therefore the diameter is 125/3 units (exactly)