<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Dismiss
Skip Navigation
You are viewing an older version of this Concept. Go to the latest version.

Triangle Relationships

Prove theorems about the sum of angles, base angles of isosceles triangles, and exterior and interior angles.

Atoms Practice
%
Progress
Practice
Progress
%
Practice Now
Theorems about Triangles

In the triangle below, point  is the midpoint of  and point  is the midpoint of . Make a conjecture about how  relates to .

Guidance

Recall that a triangle is a shape with exactly three sides. Triangles can be classified by their sides and by their angles

When classifying a triangle by its sides, you should look to see if any of the sides are the same length. If no sides are the same length, then it is a scalene triangle. If two sides are the same length, then it is an isosceles triangle. If all three sides are the same length, then it is an equilateral triangle.

When classifying a triangle by its angles, you should look at the size of the angles. If there is a right angle, then it is a right triangle. If the measures of all angles are less than , then it is an acute triangle. If the measure of one angle is greater than , then it is an obtuse triangle. Additionally, if all angles of a triangle are the same, the triangle is equiangular.

In the examples and practice, you will learn how to prove many different properties of triangles.

Example A

Prove that the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is .

Solution: This is a property of triangles that you have heard and used before, but you may not have ever seen a proof for why it is true. Here is a proof in the paragraph format, that relies on parallel lines and alternate interior angles. 

Consider the generic triangle below.

By the parallel postulate, there exists exactly one line parallel to  through . Draw this line.

 because they are alternate interior angles and alternate interior angles are congruent when lines are parallel. Therefore, . Similarly,  because they are also alternate interior angles, and so because these three angles form a straight line. By substitution, .

The picture below uses color coding to show the angles that are congruent, referenced in the above proof.

The statement “the sum of the measures of the interior angles of a triangle is ” is a theorem. Now that it has been proven, you can use it in future proofs without proving it again.

Example B

Prove that the base angles of an isosceles triangle are congruent.

Solution: The base angles of an isosceles triangle are the angles opposite the congruent sides. Below, the base angles are marked for isosceles .

Your job is to prove that  given that . Here is a proof in the two-column format, that relies on angle bisectors and congruent triangles. The proof will reference the picture below.

Statements

Reasons

Isosceles

Given

Definition of isosceles triangle

Construct , the angle bisector of , with  the intersection of  and

An angle has only one angle bisector

Reflexive Property

Definition of angle bisector

 

CPCTC

The statement “the base angles of an isosceles triangle are congruent” is a theorem. Now that it has been proven, you can use it in future proofs without proving it again.

Example C

Prove that the measure of an exterior angle of a triangle is equal to the sum of the measures of the remote interior angles.

Solution: An exterior angle of a triangle is an angle outside of a triangle created by extending one of the sides of the triangles. Below,  is an exterior angle. For exterior angle , the angles  and  are the remote interior angles, because they are the interior angles that are not adjacent to the exterior angle.

Here is a flow diagram proof of this theorem.

The statement “the measure of an exterior angle of a triangle is equal to the sum of the measures of the remote interior angles” is a theorem. Now that it has been proven, you can use it in future proofs without proving it again.

Concept Problem Revisited

A conjecture is a guess about something that might be true. After making a conjecture, usually you will try to prove it. Two possible conjectures are:

  1. The length of  is half the length of 

Both of these conjectures will be proved in the Guided Practice and Practice questions.

Vocabulary

A scalene triangle has no sides that are congruent.

An isosceles triangle has two sides that are congruent.

An equilateral triangle has three sides that are congruent.

A right triangle has one right angle.

An obtuse triangle has one angle with a measure that is greater than .

An acute triangle has all three angles with measures less than .

An equiangular triangle has three congruent angles.

Guided Practice

Consider the picture below. The following questions will guide you through proving that .

1. Prove that

2. Continue your proof from #1 to prove that .

3. Continue your proof from #2 to prove that .

4. Continue your proof from #3 to prove that .

Answers:

 

Statements

Reasons

1.

, ,

Given

 

Vertical angles are congruent

 

2.

CPCTC

 

If alternate interior angles are congruent then lines are parallel.

3.

If lines are parallel then alternate interior angles are congruent.

 

Reflexive property

 

CPCTC

 

Substitution

 

4. 

CPCTC

 

If alternate interior angles are congruent then lines are parallel.

Note that there are other ways to prove that the two segments are parallel. One method relies on similar triangles, which will be explored in another concept.

Practice

1. In Example A you proved that the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is  using a paragraph proof. Now, rewrite this proof in the two-column format.

2. Rewrite the proof from #1 again in the flow diagram format.

3. In Example B you proved that the base angles of an isosceles triangle are congruent using a two-column proof. Now, rewrite this proof in the paragraph format.

4. Rewrite the proof from #3 again in the flow diagram format.

5. In Example C you proved that the measure of an exterior angle of a triangle is equal to the sum of the measures of the remote interior angles using the flow diagram format. Now, rewrite this proof in the paragraph format.

6. Rewrite the proof from #5 again in the two-column format.

7. In the Guided Practice questions you proved that the segment joining midpoints of two sides of a triangle is parallel to the third side of the triangle. Given the diagram below and that  as proved in the Guided Practice questions, prove that .

8. In Example B you proved that “if a triangle is isosceles, the base angles are congruent”. What is the converse of this statement? Do you think the converse is also true?

9. Prove that if two angles of a triangle are congruent, then the triangle is isosceles. Use the diagram and two-column proof below and fill in the blanks to complete the proof.

Statements

Reasons

________

Construct , the angle bisector of , with  the intersection of and

An angle has only one angle bisector

________

Definition of angle bisector

________

Reflexive Property

________
________

CPCTC

10. Rewrite the proof from #9 in the flow diagram format.

11. Rewrite the proof from #9 in the paragraph format.

12. Given that , prove that  is isosceles.

13. Given the markings in the picture below, explain why  is the perpendicular bisector of .

14. In the picture below,  is isosceles with . is the midpoint of  and  is the midpoint of . Prove that .

15. Explain why knowing that  is isosceles is not enough information to prove that .

Vocabulary

altitude

altitude

An altitude of a triangle is a line segment from a vertex and is perpendicular to the opposite side. It is also called the height of a triangle.
angle bisector

angle bisector

An angle bisector is a ray that splits an angle into two congruent, smaller angles.
Median

Median

The median of a triangle is the line segment that connects a vertex to the opposite side's midpoint.
perpendicular bisector

perpendicular bisector

A perpendicular bisector of a line segment passes through the midpoint of the line segment and intersects the line segment at 90^\circ.
theorem

theorem

A theorem is a statement that can be proven true using postulates, definitions, and other theorems that have already been proven.

Image Attributions

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Triangle Relationships.

Reviews

Please wait...
Please wait...

Original text