Why do this problem
offers a simple context which can generate lots of questions. Inviting learners to make conjectures and form convincing arguments. Demonstrating the similarity of triangles is relatively straight forward and calculating lengths offers opportunities for links with Pythagoras' theorem and ratios, bringing
together important geometrical concepts.
Time to engage in, and become familiar with, the context is important. Early on, encourage learners to list and share what they notice, using large squares of paper on a display board can encourage discussion of key features and ideas and conjectures which they might explore.
Identify questions about the triangles that learners will work on.
As learners work this document
may help them discuss possibilities and focus on some possible approaches.
It is likely that learners will arrive at results in different ways. These journeys and findings form opportunities to share and discuss good and elegant solutions and different ways of "seeing".
- What do you think might be true?
- What do you know?
- What do you need to know?
- What mathematical ideas and techniques might be of use in order to answer that question?
If the square paper napkin is folded so that the corner P does not coincide with the midpoint of an opposite edge, where would you place the fold for a 5, 12, 13 or an 8, 15, 17 or a 7, 24, 25 triangle?
Are any of these findings extendable to other quadrilaterals?
is a similar context involving a similar fold but with more accessible results. It also has the potential to lead to some practical mathematics.