<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Dismiss
Skip Navigation

Unknown Dimensions of Triangles

Use the formula A = (bh)/2 to solve for the unknown variable

Atoms Practice
Estimated6 minsto complete
%
Progress
Practice Unknown Dimensions of Triangles
Practice
Progress
Estimated6 minsto complete
%
Practice Now
Unknown Dimensions of Triangles

Let’s Think About It

Credit: Jim Larrison
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/larrison/8136951044
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Bill and Takeen are running backs for the high school football team. They need to be in a split running back formation, which is a triangular pattern, and stay on a line 5 yards behind the quarterback. The area of the triangle should be approximately 20 square yards. How far apart should Bill and Takeen stand from one another?

In this concept, you will learn how to find the unknown dimensions in a triangle.

Guidance

The area of a triangle can be found by multiplying the base times the height and then dividing the product by 2.

\begin{align*}A = \frac{bh}{2}\end{align*}

This equation can also be used if you are given the area and asked to find either the base or the height.

Here’s an example:

A triangle has an area of \begin{align*}44 \ m^2\end{align*}. The base of the triangle is 8 m. What is its height?

First, write the formula and substitute the values that are given.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} A &=& \frac{bh}{2} \\ 44 &=& \frac{8h}{2} \end{array}\end{align*}

Next, begin isolating your unknown by multiplying both sides of the equation by 2.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} 44 \times 2 &=& \frac{8h}{2} \times 2 \\ 88 &=& 8h \end{array}\end{align*}

Then, divide both sides by 8.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} 88 &=& 8h\\ 11 &=& h \end{array}\end{align*}

The answer is 11 m. The height of the triangle is 11 m.

You can check your answer by placing all the dimensions back into the equation.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} A &=& \frac{bh}{2} \\ 44 &=& \frac{(8)(11)}{2} \\ 44 &=& \frac{88}{2} \\ 44 &=& 44 \end{array}\end{align*}

Guided Practice

A triangle has a \begin{align*}\text{base} = 4 \ \text{inches}\end{align*} and an \begin{align*}\text{area} = 6 \ \text{sq. inches}\end{align*}. What is its height?

First, write the formula and substitute the values that are given.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} A &=& \frac{bh}{2} \\ 6 &=& \frac{4h}{2} \end{array}\end{align*}

Next, begin isolating your unknown by multiplying both sides of the equation by 2.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} 6 \times 2 &=& \frac{4h}{2} \times 2 \\ 12 &=& 4h \end{array}\end{align*}

Then, divide both sides by 4.

\begin{align*}3=h\end{align*}

The answer is 3 inches. The height of the triangle is 3 inches.

Examples

Example 1

A triangle’s \begin{align*}\text{height} = 3 \ \text{feet}\end{align*}. Its \begin{align*}\text{area} = 7.5 \ \text{sq. feet}\end{align*}. What is the triangle’s base?

First, write the formula and substitute the values that are given.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} A &=& \frac{bh}{2} \\ 7.5 &=& \frac{(b)(3)}{2} \end{array}\end{align*}

Next, begin isolating your unknown by multiplying both sides of the equation by 2.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} 7.5 \times 2 &=& \frac{(b)(3)}{2} \times 2 \\ 15 &=& 3b \end{array}\end{align*}

Then, divide both sides by 3.

\begin{align*}5 = b\end{align*}

The answer is 5 feet. The base of the triangle is 5 feet.

Example 2

A triangle’s \begin{align*}\text{base} = 7 \ \text{meters}\end{align*}, \begin{align*}\text{area} = 17.5 \ sq.\end{align*} meters, what is the height?

First, write the formula and substitute the values that are given.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} A &=& \frac{bh}{2} \\ 6 &=& \frac{4h}{2} \end{array}\end{align*}

Next, begin isolating your unknown by multiplying both sides of the equation by 2.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} 6 \times 2 &=& \frac{4h}{2} \times 2 \\ 12 &=& 4h \end{array}\end{align*}

Then, divide both sides by 4.

\begin{align*}3=h\end{align*}

The answer is 3 inches. The height of the triangle is 3 inches.

Example 3

A triangle has an area of 11.25 square feet and a base length of 4.5 ft. What is the height of the triangle?
First, write the formula and substitute the values that are given.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} A &=& \frac{bh}{2} \\ 11.25 &=& \frac{4.5h}{2} \end{array}\end{align*}

Next, begin isolating your unknown by multiplying both sides of the equation by 2.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} 11.25 \times 2 &=& \frac{4.5h}{2} \times 2 \\ 22.5 &=& 4.5h \end{array}\end{align*}

Then, divide both sides by 4.5

\begin{align*}5=h\end{align*}

The answer is 5 feet. The height of the triangle is 5 feet.

Follow Up

Credit: Jim Larrison
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/larrison/8136952388
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Remember the running backs, Bill and Takeen?

They needed to know how far apart they should stand from one another to maintain a 20 square foot triangular pattern with the quarterback who is on a line 5 yards in front of them.

First, draw a picture and label it.

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Next, fill in the formula with the values that are given.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} A &=& \frac{bh}{2} \\ 20 &=& \frac{(b)(5)}{2} \end{array}\end{align*}

Begin isolating your unknown by multiplying both sides of the equation by 2.

\begin{align*}\begin{array}{rcl} 20 \times 2 &=& \frac{(b)(5)}{2} \times 2 \\ 40 &=& 10b \end{array}\end{align*}

Then, divide both sides by 10

\begin{align*}4=b\end{align*}

The answer is 4 yards. Bill and Taken should stand about 4 yards apart from one another.

Video Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJSxr6zqYC8

Explore More

Find the missing base or height given the area and one other dimension.

  1. Area = 13.5 sq. meters, Base = 9 meters
  2. Area = 21 sq. meters, Base = 7 meters
  3. Area = 12 sq. meters, Base = 8 meters
  4. Area = 33 sq. ft, Base = 11 feet
  5. Area = 37.5 sq. ft. Base = 15 feet
  6. Area = 60 sq. ft., height = 10 ft.
  7. Area = 20.25 sq. in, height = 4.5 in
  8. Area = 72 sq. in, height = 8 in
  9. Area = 22.5 sq. feet, height = 5 feet
  10. Area = 12 sq. in, height = 4 in
  11. Area = 45 sq. in, height = 9 in
  12. Area = 84 sq. ft, height = 12 ft
  13. Area = 144 sq. in, height = 16 in
  14. Area = 144.5 sq. ft, height = 17 ft.
  15. Area = 123.5 sq. in, height = 19 in

Vocabulary

Area

Area

Area is the space within the perimeter of a two-dimensional figure.
Base

Base

The side of a triangle parallel with the bottom edge of the paper or screen is commonly called the base. The base of an isosceles triangle is the non-congruent side in the triangle.
Height

Height

The height of a triangle is the perpendicular distance from the base of the triangle to the opposite vertex of the triangle.
Triangle

Triangle

A triangle is a polygon with three sides and three angles.

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Jim Larrison; Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/larrison/8136951044; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Jim Larrison; Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/larrison/8136952388; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  3. [3]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Unknown Dimensions of Triangles.

Reviews

Please wait...
Please wait...

Original text