When Can I Use The Pythagorean Theorem?

Does this seem like a strange question to you? Well, it totally depends on who you are.  Teachers use this famous theorem so much that a weaker student “on the fringe” in Geometry may use it way too much. I mean, why not. It’s famous! Or they may have no idea when to use it and rarely use it.  So here’s the scoop:

1. You may use this theorem only with right triangles.

2. Use it when you know any 2 sides of a right triangle and need to know the 3rd side.

3.   If you can  ‘create’ a right triangle, you can use the Pythagorean Theorem.  Sometimes we draw altitudes in a triangle to form right triangles.

This valuable theorem can help you solve many problems if you know when and how to use it.

Just for the record, it states, “The sum of the squares of the legs of a right triangle = the square of the hypotenuse.”

Now where is that hypotenuse?


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