The Pythagorean theorem
The Pythagorean theorem was reportedly formulated by the Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras of Samos in the 6th century BC. It says that the area of the square whose side is the hypotenuse of the triangle is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares whose sides are the two legs of the triangle. If you write it in the form of an equation, it looks like this:
a^{2} + b^{2} = c^{2}
In this equation, c represents the length of the hypotenuse, while the legs are represented by a and b.
In this form, the Pythagorean theorem enables you to find the length of any side in a right triangle if you know the other two, as well as to check if a triangle is a right triangle. This proves quite useful in solving math problems during education, as well as in a number of real life situations. We are going to illustrate this through these few examples:
Example 1
The length of one side is 9 cm and the length of the other side is 10 cm. Calculate the length of the hypotenuse.
This is a very simple problem. We know the length of two sides of the triangle and to determine the length of the hypotenuse, we just have to insert the lengths we know into the equation.
c^{2} = a^{2} + b^{2}
c^{2} = 9^{2} + 10^{2}
c^{2} = 81 + 100
c^{2} = 181
c = 13,5 cm
We see now that the missing length of the hypotenuse is 13,5 cm and that is our result. The next assignment will be a bit more complicated.
Example 2
The length of the hypotenuse is 10,6 cm and the length of one of the legs is 5,2 cm. Find the length of the other leg of the triangle.
This is also very simple. Let us name the hypotenuse c and the side we already know – a. The missing side is b. To get b from our equation we need to rearrange it a bit. Like this:
b^{2} = c^{2} – a^{2}
The only thing left to do now is to insert the known values into the equation.
b^{2} = 10,6^{2} – 5,2^{2}
b^{2} = 112,36 – 27,04
b^{2} = 85,32
b = 9,2 cm
The length of the missing side is 9,2 cm. Now let us take a look at one more example.
Example 3
The length of the hypotenuse is 6,5 cm, the length of leg a is 5,6 cm and the length of leg b is 3,3. Do these sides belong to a right triangle?
As before, this can also be solved easily. We will take the lengths of two sides of the triangle in question, calculate the length of the third using the Pythagorean theorem and check if our result is a match to the length of the hypotenuse of our triangle. We will do it like this:
c^{2} = 5,6^{2} + 3,3^{2}
c^{2 }= 42,25
c = 6,5 cm
As we can see, the length we calculated if identical to the given length of this triangle. This means that the triangle in question is indeed a right triangle.
These are just some of the numerous uses of the Pythagorean theorem. If you wish to practice working with the Pythagorean theorem, please feel free to use the math worksheets below.
Pythagorean theorem exams for teachers
Exam Name  File Size  Downloads  Upload date 
Integers


Pythagorean theorem – Integers – very easy  456.4 kB  20993  October 13, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Integers – easy  590.8 kB  16450  October 13, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Integers – medium  592.9 kB  24584  October 13, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Integers – hard  594.5 kB  13390  October 13, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Integers – very hard  607 kB  10940  October 13, 2012 
Decimals


Pythagorean theorem – Decimals – very easy  456.4 kB  3644  October 13, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Decimals – easy  599.4 kB  2672  October 13, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Decimals – medium  596 kB  4549  October 13, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Decimals – hard  599.2 kB  3610  October 13, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Decimals – vey hard  605.9 kB  4004  October 13, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem worksheets for students
Worksheet Name  File Size  Downloads  Upload date 
Integers


Pythagorean theorem – Integers – Find the missing hypotenuse  3.4 MB  52473  October 14, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Integers – Find the missing leg  3.4 MB  22620  October 14, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Integers – Find the missing parameter  3.3 MB  11648  October 14, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Integers – Right triangle or not  2.8 MB  11503  October 14, 2012 
Decimals


Pythagorean theorem – Decimals – Find the missing hypotenuse  7.1 MB  4447  October 14, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Decimals – Find the missing leg  7.2 MB  3788  October 14, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Decimals – Find the missing parameter  7.1 MB  3953  October 14, 2012 
Pythagorean theorem – Decimals – Right triangle or not  7.6 MB  3608  October 14, 2012 