9.1: The Pythagorean Theorem
This activity is intended to supplement Geometry, Chapter 8, Lesson 1.
ID: 9532
Time required: 60 minutes
Activity Overview
In this activity, students will use the Cabri Jr. application to construct figures that prove the Pythagorean Theorem in two different ways.
Topic: Right Triangles & Trigonometric Ratios
 Construct and measure the side lengths of several right triangles and conjecture a relationship between the areas of the squares drawn on each side.
 Prove and apply the Pythagorean Theorem.
Teacher Preparation
 This activity is designed to be used in a high school or middle school geometry classroom.
 This activity is designed to be studentcentered with the teacher acting as a facilitator while students work cooperatively. Use the following pages as a framework as to how the activity will progress. Feel free to print out the following pages for your students.

The Pythagorean Theorem states that in a right triangle, the square of the length of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of the lengths of the legs. This can be expressed as
c2=a2+b2 wherec is the length of the hypotenuse.  Depending on student skill level, you may wish to download the constructed figures to student calculators. If the files are downloaded, skip the construction steps for each problem and begin each at Step 10.
 Note: Measurements can display 0, 1, or 2 decimal digits. If 0 digits are displayed, the value shown will round from the actual value. To change the number of digits displayed:
 Move the cursor over the value so it is highlighted.
 Press + to display additional decimal digits or  to hide digits.
 To download Cabri Jr, go to http://www.education.ti.com/calculators/downloads/US/Software/Detail?id=258#.
 To download the calculator files, go to http://www.education.ti.com/calculators/downloads/US/Activities/Detail?id=9532 and select PYTHAG1 and PYTHAG2.
Associated Materials
 Student Worksheet: The Pythagorean Theorem http://www.ck12.org/flexr/chapter/9693
 Cabri Jr. Application
 PYTHAG1.8xv and PYTHAG2.8xv
Problem 1 – Squares on Sides Proof
The Pythagorean Theorem states that, the square of the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the legs. In this activity, you will construct a right triangle and verify the Pythagorean Theorem by constructing squares on each side and comparing the sum of the area of the two smaller squares to the area of the square of the third side.
Step 1: Open a new Cabri Jr. file.
Construct a segment using the Segment tool.
Select the AlphNum tool to label the endpoints
Step 2: Construct a line through
Step 3: Construct a point on the perpendicular line and label it
Hide the perpendicular line with the Hide/Show tool and construct line segments
For the time being, keep the sides of the triangle fairly small so that squares can be constructed on the sides.
Step 4: In the lower left corner, use the AlphNum tool to place the number 90 on the screen. This will be the angle of rotation.
Note: Press ALPHA to access numerical characters. A small “1” will appear in the tool icon in the upper left corner of the screen.
Step 5: Use the Rotation tool to rotate point
 Press ENTER on point
B as the center of rotation.  Press ENTER on the angle of rotation (the number 90).
 Press ENTER on point
C , the object to be rotated.
Notice that the number now has a degree symbol associated with it and that the point has been rotated in the counterclockwise direction.
Step 6: What we want to do next is to rotate point
Using the value of 90, rotate point
Step 7: You should now have two points below the line segment
Answer Question 1 on the worksheet.
Step 8: In a similar fashion, rotate point
Use the Quad. tool again to construct the square on side
Step 9: Finally, rotate point
Then construct a third square on hypotenuse
Step 10: Start with this step if you are using the preconstructed file “PYTHAG1”.
Select the Measure > Area tool and measure the area of the three squares.
Step 11: Using the Calculate tool, press ENTER on the measurements of the two smaller squares and then press the + key. Place the sum off to the side of the screen.
How does this sum compare to the square of the hypotenuse? Record your observations in the table for Question 2 on the worksheet.
Step 12: To test your construction, drag points
Answer Question 3 on the worksheet.
Problem 2 – Inside a Square Proof
In this problem, we are going to look at a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem. We hope to prove the statement that, if
Step 1: Construct a line segment
Use the AlphNum tool to place the value
Step 2: Access the Rotation tool and press ENTER on point
Label the new point
Step 3: Continue by rotating line segment
Label the new point \begin{align*}C\end{align*}.
Step 4: Complete the square by constructing line segment \begin{align*}\overline{BC}\end{align*}.
Step 5: Using the Point on tool, add point \begin{align*}E\end{align*} on \begin{align*}\overline{AB}\end{align*} as shown and overlay a line segment \begin{align*}\overline{BE}\end{align*}.
Step 6: Select the Compass tool to construct circles with radius equal to the length of \begin{align*}\overline{BE}\end{align*}.
 Press ENTER on \begin{align*}\overline{BE}\end{align*}. A dashed circle will appear and follow the pointer.
 Press ENTER on point \begin{align*}A\end{align*}. The compass circle is anchored at center \begin{align*}A\end{align*}.
Create a point of intersection of this circle with \begin{align*}\overline{AD}\end{align*}. Label this point \begin{align*}F\end{align*}.
Hide the compass circle.
Step 7: Use the Compass tool again to construct circles with centers at \begin{align*}C\end{align*} and \begin{align*}D\end{align*} and radius \begin{align*}= BE\end{align*}.
Create points of intersection of these circles with \begin{align*}\overline{DC}\end{align*} and \begin{align*}\overline{BC}\end{align*}. Label these points \begin{align*}G\end{align*} and \begin{align*}H\end{align*}.
Hide the compass circles.
Drag point \begin{align*}E\end{align*} to confirm that \begin{align*}F\end{align*}, \begin{align*}G\end{align*}, and \begin{align*}H\end{align*} all move as \begin{align*}E\end{align*} moves.
Step 8: Construct the quadrilateral \begin{align*}EFGH\end{align*}. Can you prove that this quadrilateral is a square?
Step 9: Use the AlphNum tool to place the labels \begin{align*}x\end{align*}, \begin{align*}y\end{align*}, and \begin{align*}z\end{align*} on the figure as shown.
\begin{align*}\overline{BE}\end{align*} is labeled \begin{align*}x\end{align*}, therefore \begin{align*}AF = DG = CH = x\end{align*}.
\begin{align*}\overline{EA}\end{align*} is labeled \begin{align*}y\end{align*}, therefore \begin{align*}FD = GC = HB = y\end{align*}.
Since \begin{align*}ABCD\end{align*} is a square, each of the angles at \begin{align*}A\end{align*}, \begin{align*}B\end{align*}, \begin{align*}C\end{align*} and \begin{align*}D\end{align*} are \begin{align*}90^\circ\end{align*}, so we have four congruent triangles, namely \begin{align*}\triangle{EFA}, \triangle{FGD}, \triangle{GHC}\end{align*} and \begin{align*}\triangle{HEB}\end{align*}.
Step 10: Start with this step if you are using the preconstructed file “PYTHAG2”.
Let’s examine the algebra in this situation.
\begin{align*}ABCD\end{align*} is a square with sides of length \begin{align*}(x + y)\end{align*}.
The area of the square \begin{align*}ABCD\end{align*} is \begin{align*}(x + y)^2 = x^2 + 2xy + y^2\end{align*}.
Each of the triangles \begin{align*}\triangle{EFA}\end{align*}, \begin{align*}\triangle{FGD}\end{align*}, \begin{align*}\triangle{GHC}\end{align*} and \begin{align*}\triangle{HEB}\end{align*} is a right triangle with height \begin{align*}x\end{align*} and base \begin{align*}y\end{align*}. So, the area of each triangle is \begin{align*}\frac{1}{2}xy\end{align*}. The sum of the areas of the four triangles is \begin{align*}4 \cdot \frac{1}{2}xy=2xy\end{align*}.
\begin{align*}EFGH\end{align*} is a square with sides of length \begin{align*}z\end{align*}. So the area of \begin{align*}EFGH\end{align*} is \begin{align*}z^2\end{align*}.
Looking at the areas in the diagram we can conclude that:
\begin{align*}ABCD = \triangle{EFA} + \triangle{FGD} + \triangle{GHC} + \triangle{HEB} + EFGH\end{align*}
On the worksheet, substitute the area expressions (with variables \begin{align*}x\end{align*}, \begin{align*}y\end{align*}, and \begin{align*}z\end{align*}) into the equation above and simplify.
Step 11: Let’s look at this numerically as well to confirm what we just proved algebraically. Measure \begin{align*}\overline{BE}\end{align*}, \begin{align*}\overline{HB}\end{align*} and \begin{align*}\overline{EH}\end{align*}.
Note: Measure \begin{align*}\overline{HB}\end{align*} and \begin{align*}\overline{EH}\end{align*} by pressing ENTER on each endpoint, since these do not have separate segments constructed.
Use the Calculate tool to find the squares of these lengths.
Record your observations in the table for Question 6 on the worksheet.
Step 12: Find the sum of the squares of the lengths of segments \begin{align*}\overline{BE}\end{align*} and \begin{align*}\overline{HB}\end{align*}.
In the right triangle \begin{align*}HBE\end{align*}, is \begin{align*}BE^2 + HB^2 = EH^2\end{align*}?
Drag point \begin{align*}E\end{align*} to ensure that the relationship holds for other locations of the points \begin{align*}E\end{align*}, \begin{align*}F\end{align*}, \begin{align*}G\end{align*}, and \begin{align*}H\end{align*}.
What would happen if you dragged one of points \begin{align*}A\end{align*} or \begin{align*}B\end{align*}? Would the relationship still hold?
Answers Questions 7 and 8 on the worksheet.
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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012Last Modified:
Nov 03, 2014If you would like to associate files with this section, please make a copy first.