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Broad Topics > Pythagoras and Trigonometry > Pythagoras' theorem

Napkin

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A napkin is folded so that a corner coincides with the midpoint of an opposite edge . Investigate the three triangles formed .

Partly Circles

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

What is the same and what is different about these circle questions? What connections can you make?

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.

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?

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.

Matter of Scale

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.

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. . . .

Slippage

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A ladder 3m long rests against a wall with one end a short distance from its base. Between the wall and the base of a ladder is a garden storage box 1m tall and 1m high. What is the maximum distance. . . .

Squareo'scope Determines the Kind of Triangle

Age 11 to 14

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

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.

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. . . .

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?

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.

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.

Garden Shed

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you minimise the amount of wood needed to build the roof of my garden shed?

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? ...

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?

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?

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

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?

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?

Under the Ribbon

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A ribbon is nailed down with a small amount of slack. What is the largest cube that can pass under the ribbon ?

The Fire-fighter's Car Keys

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A fire-fighter needs to fill a bucket of water from the river and take it to a fire. What is the best point on the river bank for the fire-fighter to fill the bucket ?.

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?

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.

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The sides of a triangle are 25, 39 and 40 units of length. Find the diameter of the circumscribed circle.

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.

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?

Semi-detached

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A square of area 40 square cms is inscribed in a semicircle. Find the area of the square that could be inscribed in a circle of the same radius.

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.

Medallions

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Far Horizon

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

An observer is on top of a lighthouse. How far from the foot of the lighthouse is the horizon that the observer can see?

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.

Two Circles

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Draw two circles, each of radius 1 unit, so that each circle goes through the centre of the other one. What is the area of the overlap?

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?

Rectangular Pyramids

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Is the sum of the squares of two opposite sloping edges of a rectangular based pyramid equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sloping edges?

Are You Kidding

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

If the altitude of an isosceles triangle is 8 units and the perimeter of the triangle is 32 units.... What is the area of the triangle?

Pythagoras Proofs

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Grid Lockout

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Holly

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The ten arcs forming the edges of the "holly leaf" are all arcs of circles of radius 1 cm. Find the length of the perimeter of the holly leaf and the area of its surface.

Where to Land

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Chris is enjoying a swim but needs to get back for lunch. If she can swim at 3 m/s and run at 7m/sec, how far along the bank should she land in order to get back as quickly as possible?

Six Discs

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Six circular discs are packed in different-shaped boxes so that the discs touch their neighbours and the sides of the box. Can you put the boxes in order according to the areas of their bases?

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?

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.

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?

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?

Inscribed in a Circle

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The area of a square inscribed in a circle with a unit radius is, satisfyingly, 2. What is the area of a regular hexagon inscribed in a circle with a unit radius?

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?

Circle Scaling

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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