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Broad Topics > Pythagoras and Trigonometry > Pythagoras' theorem

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A Chordingly

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord which is tangent to the inner circle.

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Pythagoras Proofs

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?

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Tilted Squares

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?

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The Pillar of Chios

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to the area of the rectangle.

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Pareq Calc

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Triangle ABC is an equilateral triangle with three parallel lines going through the vertices. Calculate the length of the sides of the triangle if the perpendicular distances between the parallel. . . .

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Cutting a Cube

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A half-cube is cut into two pieces by a plane through the long diagonal and at right angles to it. Can you draw a net of these pieces? Are they identical?

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Pythagorean Triples II

Age 11 to 16

This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.

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Weighty Problem

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .

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Pythagorean Triples I

Age 11 to 16

The first of two articles on Pythagorean Triples which asks how many right angled triangles can you find with the lengths of each side exactly a whole number measurement. Try it!

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Picturing Pythagorean Triples

Age 14 to 18

This article discusses how every Pythagorean triple (a, b, c) can be illustrated by a square and an L shape within another square. You are invited to find some triples for yourself.

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Zig Zag

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Four identical right angled triangles are drawn on the sides of a square. Two face out, two face in. Why do the four vertices marked with dots lie on one line?

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All Is Number

Age 7 to 14

Read all about Pythagoras' mathematical discoveries in this article written for students.

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The Old Goats

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A rectangular field has two posts with a ring on top of each post. There are two quarrelsome goats and plenty of ropes which you can tie to their collars. How can you secure them so they can't. . . .

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Trice

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

ABCDEFGH is a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. Point P is 1/3 along AB (that is AP : PB = 1 : 2), point Q is 1/3 along GH and point R is 1/3 along ED. What is the area of the triangle PQR?

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Circle Box

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

It is obvious that we can fit four circles of diameter 1 unit in a square of side 2 without overlapping. What is the smallest square into which we can fit 3 circles of diameter 1 unit?

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Generating Triples

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Sets of integers like 3, 4, 5 are called Pythagorean Triples, because they could be the lengths of the sides of a right-angled triangle. Can you find any more?

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Semi-square

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

What is the ratio of the area of a square inscribed in a semicircle to the area of the square inscribed in the entire circle?

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Floored

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A floor is covered by a tessellation of equilateral triangles, each having three equal arcs inside it. What proportion of the area of the tessellation is shaded?

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Star Gazing

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.

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Squareo'scope Determines the Kind of Triangle

Age 11 to 14

A description of some experiments in which you can make discoveries about triangles.

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Liethagoras' Theorem

Age 7 to 14

Liethagoras, Pythagoras' cousin (!), was jealous of Pythagoras and came up with his own theorem. Read this article to find out why other mathematicians laughed at him.

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Some(?) of the Parts

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

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Fitting In

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The largest square which fits into a circle is ABCD and EFGH is a square with G and H on the line CD and E and F on the circumference of the circle. Show that AB = 5EF. Similarly the largest. . . .

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Square Pegs

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Which is a better fit, a square peg in a round hole or a round peg in a square hole?

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All Tied Up

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A ribbon runs around a box so that it makes a complete loop with two parallel pieces of ribbon on the top. How long will the ribbon be?

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Grid Lockout

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

What remainders do you get when square numbers are divided by 4?

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Hex

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Explain how the thirteen pieces making up the regular hexagon shown in the diagram can be re-assembled to form three smaller regular hexagons congruent to each other.

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Squaring the Circle and Circling the Square

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.

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The Dangerous Ratio

Age 11 to 14

This article for pupils and teachers looks at a number that even the great mathematician, Pythagoras, found terrifying.

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Pythagoras

Age 7 to 14

Pythagoras of Samos was a Greek philosopher who lived from about 580 BC to about 500 BC. Find out about the important developments he made in mathematics, astronomy, and the theory of music.

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Circle Packing

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Equal circles can be arranged so that each circle touches four or six others. What percentage of the plane is covered by circles in each packing pattern? ...

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The Spider and the Fly

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?

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Rhombus in Rectangle

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Take any rectangle ABCD such that AB > BC. The point P is on AB and Q is on CD. Show that there is exactly one position of P and Q such that APCQ is a rhombus.

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In a Spin

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

What is the volume of the solid formed by rotating this right angled triangle about the hypotenuse?

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Round and Round

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove that the shaded area of the semicircle is equal to the area of the inner circle.

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Tennis

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A tennis ball is served from directly above the baseline (assume the ball travels in a straight line). What is the minimum height that the ball can be hit at to ensure it lands in the service area?

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Nicely Similar

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

If the hypotenuse (base) length is 100cm and if an extra line splits the base into 36cm and 64cm parts, what were the side lengths for the original right-angled triangle?

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Pythagorean Triples

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

How many right-angled triangles are there with sides that are all integers less than 100 units?

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Three Four Five

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Two semi-circles (each of radius 1/2) touch each other, and a semi-circle of radius 1 touches both of them. Find the radius of the circle which touches all three semi-circles.

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Matter of Scale

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.

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Corridors

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.

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Kite in a Square

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you make sense of the three methods to work out the area of the kite in the square?

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Isosceles

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Prove that a triangle with sides of length 5, 5 and 6 has the same area as a triangle with sides of length 5, 5 and 8. Find other pairs of non-congruent isosceles triangles which have equal areas.

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Crescents and Triangles

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Triangle ABC is right angled at A and semi circles are drawn on all three sides producing two 'crescents'. Show that the sum of the areas of the two crescents equals the area of triangle ABC.

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Tilting Triangles

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A right-angled isosceles triangle is rotated about the centre point of a square. What can you say about the area of the part of the square covered by the triangle as it rotates?

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Equilateral Areas

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

ABC and DEF are equilateral triangles of side 3 and 4 respectively. Construct an equilateral triangle whose area is the sum of the area of ABC and DEF.

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Xtra

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find the sides of an equilateral triangle ABC where a trapezium BCPQ is drawn with BP=CQ=2 , PQ=1 and AP+AQ=sqrt7 . Note: there are 2 possible interpretations.

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Take a Square

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Cut off three right angled isosceles triangles to produce a pentagon. With two lines, cut the pentagon into three parts which can be rearranged into another square.

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Medallions

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Three circular medallions fit in a rectangular box. Can you find the radius of the largest one?

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Circle Scaling

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Describe how to construct three circles which have areas in the ratio 1:2:3.