The Pythagorean Theorem in our house

The boys had an early morning trip with their cousins today, so I was looking for a pretty light and easy morning math project. Since my younger son is studying square roots right now and my older son is studying geometry, I settled on a Pythagorean theorem project.

We’ve talked a little bit about the Pythagorean theorem previously, so the material isn’t totally new to either of the boys. Still, I thought a quick review of the theorem and right angles would be a good way to get going:

With the quick review out of the way we went looking for right angles and right triangles in our house. The first one we found was a window shaped like a right triangle. This window is in a place that made measuring it a little tricky, but we managed to get some crude measurements:

We weren’t able to find any more right triangles, but we did find a lot of rectangles. The first rectangle measurement we made were of the bricks on part of our floor:

Our last measurement we made was of some of the windows in our living room. These windows were a little too tall for my son to measure on his own, but they were a lot easier to measure than the first window.

To wrap up we returned to the table to work through the calculations. As we could have probably guessed from the measuring, the window that was difficult to measure gave the worst results, but the three measurements for the brick and the living room window were really close to satisfying the Pythagorean theorem. Hopefully this was a fun way for the boys to see the Pythagorean theorem in a non-theoretical way.