# Right Triangles 4 A = 144 A = A = 64

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1 Right Triangles If I looked at enough right triangles and experimented a little, I might eventually begin to notice a relationship developing if I were to construct squares formed by the legs of a right triangle as shown below. = 25 = = 144 = = = 169 = = 64 6 = 36 By looking at these limited examples, it appears in each right triangle the area of the square formed by the hypotenuse is always equal to the sum of the areas of the squares formed by the two legs. Geometry, You Can Do It 1

2 Generalizing by replacing the numbers with letters, we have the following. = c 2 a = a 2 c b = b 2 The relationship we saw with the numbers suggest that in our generalization; c 2 = a 2 + b 2 This is an important relationship in mathematics, and since it is important, we will give this a name, the Pythagorean Theorem. Pythagorean Theorem In any right triangle the square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the legs. a a c b c 2 = a 2 + b 2 minute ago, we were talking about the area of the square formed by the hypotenuse being equal to the sum of the areas of the squares formed by the two legs. The Pythagorean Theorem does not mention areas of squares, so how do those relationships lead us to the Pythagorean Theorem? Well, the square of the length of the hypotenuse c 2, is equal to the area of the square formed by the hypotenuse. The same is true of the other two legs. So there is a connection between our observation and the Pythagorean Theorem. The converse of the Pythagorean Theorem is also true. That is, if the square of longest leg of a triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of lengths of the other two sides, the triangle is a right triangle. Geometry, You Can Do It 2

3 Now I could prove the Pythagorean Theorem by recalling what we have already learned about similar triangles. The relationships in the areas of the squares led us to the Pythagorean Theorem, but those were examples not a proof. To prove the theorem, I need to recall some previously learned information. Hopefully, you see the importance of continually reviewing information. Without a body of knowledge to draw from, it would be very difficult to think critically or to prove subsequent theorems. One such theorem states: Theorem If the altitude is drawn to the hypotenuse of a right triangle, the two triangles formed are similar to the given triangle and to each other. That s pretty easily proven using the Postulate. C Separating the smaller triangle formed by drawing the altitude as shown, notice B is in both triangles. P B lso notice that C in the original triangle and P in the smaller triangle are both right angles. C Since I have 2 s of one triangle equal to 2 s of another triangle, the two triangles must be similar by the ngle-ngle Postulate. P B Since the triangles are similar, the sides must be in proportion. corollary follows directly from that. Corollary If the altitude is drawn to the hypotenuse, the length of the leg of the right triangle is the geometric mean between the length of the hypotenuse and the length of the segment of the hypotenuse adjacent to that leg. Geometry, You Can Do It 3

4 That sounds interesting, but all that is happening here is I am setting up the proportions as a result of the two triangles being similar and introducing a new term geometric mean. geometric mean occurs when the second and third term of a proportion are the same. You ve seen one before when we worked with equivalent fractions, we just never gave it a name. Let s look at one. 1 = The 3 is the geometric mean between 1 and 9. Now, back to the corollary. Since those two triangles are similar, I pick any leg of the right triangle, either C or BC. If I picked BC, BC is the geometric mean between the length of the hypotenuse B, and the segment of the hypotenuse adjacent to that leg. C P B Let s write that down. B BC = BC PB Using that information we gained from similar polygons and the corollary, let s prove the Pythagorean Theorem. Pythagorean Theorem In any right triangle the square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the legs. To prove the theorem, we start off with a right triangle that was given and we draw the picture. Like most of the theorems we have proved, we then have to add more information to our picture using our knowledge of geometry. In this case, we will draw an altitude to the hypotenuse of the right triangle. We learned the altitude formed similar triangles. Similar triangles results in sides being in proportion, and more specifically, one side of the right triangle turns out to be the geometric mean between the hypotenuse and the segment of the hypotenuse adjacent to that leg. Geometry, You Can Do It 4

5 Let s draw the picture, construct the altitude, and label the picture. b C a G Given: Rt CB C is rt x c y B Prove: c² = a² + b² Statements Reasons 1. BC, C is rt Given 2. Draw to B Construction 3. c a = a y ; c b = b x ltitude drawn, leg is geo mean 4. x + y = c Segment ddition Postulate 5. cy = a² ; cx = b² Prop of proportion 6. cy + cx = a² + b² dd prop =, #5 7. c(y + x) = a² + b² Distrib prop (factoring) 8. c² = a² + b² Substitution Geometry, You Can Do It 5

6 Pythagorean Theorem: pplications To use the Pythagorean Theorem, we need to know how to simplify radicals. We ll look at simplifying square roots. Simplifying expressions such as the 25 and 64 are pretty straight forward. 25 = 5 64 = 8 The question that we need to consider is what happens if we want to take the square root of a number that is not a perfect square. To simplify a square root, you rewrite the radicand as a product of a perfect square and some other number. You then take the square root of the perfect square. If I square the numbers 1 through 10, the result will give me perfect squares. Example Simplify 50 1² = 1 2² = 4 3² = 9 4² = 16 5² = 25 6² = 36 7² = 49 8² = 64 9² = 81 10² = 100 Perfect Squares Now 50 can be written as a product of 5 and 10. Should I use those factors? 10 5 Hopefully, you said no. We want to rewrite the radicand as a product of a perfect square. Neither 5 nor 10 are perfect squares. So, looking at my list of perfect squares, which, if any, are factors of 50? That s right, 25 is a factor of 50 and it is a perfect square. Geometry, You Can Do It 6

7 Simplifying, I now have 50 = 25 2 = 25 2 = 5 2 Simplify the following radicals Sample Problem Let s find the height of a cone knowing its diameter is 6 feet and the slant height is 5 feet. 6 h 5 Drawing the picture is always helpful. I know the radius of the circle is half the diameter, that s 3. I can also see a right triangle being formed. 3 h 5 Using the Pythagorean Theorem, I know the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two legs. Geometry, You Can Do It 7

8 Therefore, I have 5² = 3² + h² 25 = 9 + h² 16 = h² 16 = h 4 = h The height of the cone is 4 feet. Let s see what we know. Use the triangle given for Name the similar triangles formed by drawing an altitude to DE. F 2. Name the proportions formed by the similar triangles. 3. If DE = 8, DM = 2, find DF 4. If DM = 4, ME = 6, find FE 5. If DF = 10, DM = 2x, ME = 3x, find the value of x. D E M 6. In a right triangle, if the length of the hypotenuse is 10 and the length of a leg is 5, find the length of the other leg. 7. In a right triangle, if the length s of the legs are 5 and 9, find the length of the hypotenuse. 8. Determine if a triangle with sides of the given lengths is a right triangle. {5, 12, 13}; {5, 7, 8}; {8, 10, 13} 9. The length and width of a rectangle are 6 ft and 4 ft respectively. Find the length of the diagonal of the rectangle. Geometry, You Can Do It 8

9 Special Right Triangles Something you might discover when working with triangles is the Triangle Inequality. The Triangle Inequality states the sum of the measures of any two sides of a triangle is greater than the measure of the third side, If we studied triangles long enough, we might see other interesting relationships. Now, being the nice guy that I am, I will point some of those out to you. You can thank me later. We have already learned that if you have a right triangle, then the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the legs. We called that the Pythagorean Theorem. What happens if you have a triangle so the lengths of the three sides, a, b, and c have this relationship c² = a² + b²? It turns out that the triangle would be a right triangle. That s converse of the Pythagorean Theorem. What that means is that we can now look at different triangles and determine if each of those triangles are right triangles. Isn t that something If I gave you a couple of triangles with their respective measurements, you can now determine if they were right triangles. Through some reasoning you would eventually determine that when trying to show a triangle is a right triangle, the longest side would be substituted for c the hypotenuse. The other two sides would be a and b Notice that the measurements on the triangle on the left will satisfy the condition c² = a² + b². Therefore it s a right triangle. The triangle on the right does not satisfy the Pythagorean relation; therefore it s not a right triangle. Because of similarity, after we find some measurements for right triangles using the Pythagorean Theorem, we can determine the lengths of the sides of other right triangles. The following are examples of right triangles Geometry, You Can Do It 9

10 Playing with right triangles, we would also discover relationships for particular right triangles. Let s look at an isosceles right triangle. 45 In an isosceles right triangle, the two legs would be equal, so the angles opposite those legs would be equal. Since it is a right triangle, the triangle would have to be a triangle. Let s look at a couple of examples and put some numbers in and see if we see a relationship. To find the hypotenuse; c 2 = a 2 + b c 2 = c 2 = c 2 = 18 c = 18 c = 9x2 or c = 3 2 Let s look at another isosceles right triangle. 5yds 5 yds To find the hypotenuse; c 2 = a 2 + b 2 c 2 = c 2 = c 2 = 50 c = 50 c = 25x2 or c = 5 If we did enough of these, we would see that the hypotenuse is always the 2 times the length of the leg when we have a triangle an isosceles right triangle. That leads us to a new theorem. 2 Geometry, You Can Do It 10

11 Theorem If each acute angle of a right triangle has measure 45, the hypotenuse is 2 times as long as the leg. Find the length of the hypotenuse of an isosceles right triangle if the length of one side is 7 inches. By this theorem, the answer is 7 2 inches. In a triangle, if the length of a side is 10 cm, find the length of the hypotenuse, gain, using that theorem rather than using the Pythagorean Theorem directly, we will take the shortcut, the answer by inspection is 10 2 cm. That theorem allows us to find the sides of a right triangle by inspection, rather than plugging the values into the Pythagorean Theorem. In other words, like all theorems, it is a shortcut If we played with other triangles, we would also see a relationship in the sides of a triangle that come directly from the Pythagorean Theorem. Let s look at a triangle. B s 60 C l 30 I will let BC = s and C = l as shown in the picture. Now I will do some drawing. I will extend BC and draw X so that BX = 60. B s 60 C l 30 X R Geometry, You Can Do It 11

12 Since we constructed BX =60, we have an equilateral triangle - BR. That means B = BR. BR = 2s because those two triangles are congruent. Keep in mind that B is the hypotenuse. That means that in a , the hypotenuse is twice as long as the shorter side. Now using the same information in the picture, let s apply the Pythagorean theorem to find the value of l. By the Pythagorean Theorem s 2 + l 2 = (B) 2 Since B = 2s, we have s 2 + l 2 = (2s) 2 s 2 + l 2 = 4s 2 l 2 = 3s 2 l = s 3 What all that means is there is a relationship between the lengths of the shorter side and longer side in a The longer side is the 3 times the shorter side. nother shortcut for finding the lengths of sides of a right triangle. Let s write these results as a theorem. Theorem If the acute angles of a right triangle have measures 30 and 60, then a) the hypotenuse is twice as long as the shorter leg. b) the longer leg is 3 times as long as the shorter leg. Both of these theorems could be proved easily using Pythagorean Theorem. It s important for you to know these two theorems so we can work with trigonometric ratios as we continue our study in the wonderful world of math. I can t stress enough the need for students to continually review previously learned definitions, postulates, and theorems. Being able to recall that information will allow you to think critically and solve problems. D 45 B C E F Find B, C, DE, and DF. 30 Geometry, You Can Do It 12

13 Trigonometry Many distances can be found directly by measuring with a ruler or tape measure. However, some distance cannot be found directly. For instance, it s not practical to determine the height of a mountain by dropping a tape measure from the highest peak. So what do we do? You ve got it, find it indirectly. How? We could try to use those special right triangles we found last time. Remember we said there was a relationship in their sides. Trigonometry means triangle measurement in Greek. That s why trig is Greek to so many people. Confining our discussion of trigonometry to special relationships that exist in right triangles, consider the right triangles shown in the diagram below. D F H B C E G I Since each of the triangles contain and a right angle, all the triangles are similar to one another by the ngle-ngle Postulate. That means the sides are in proportion. That means BC C = DE E = FG G = HI I all have the same ratio ratio. The triangles are different sizes, remains the same size, the sides have different lengths, but the ratios are the same by similar triangles. The tangent (tan) of an acute angle of a right triangle is the ratio of the length of the leg opposite the acute angle to the length of the leg adjacent to the length of the leg adjacent to the acute angle. Let s visualize that definition. B c a b C Geometry, You Can Do It 13

14 Using that picture and definition, we would write the tan = opposite side adjacent side = a b Why didn t we say c was the adjacent side? Well c represents the length of the hypotenuse. Let s look at a right triangle and name all the possible ratios of the sides. a c b I know this interests you, if you were to write all the possible ratios for the sides of a triangle, you would find there would be six. How many trig ratios do you think there are? That s right, there are six. So trigonometry is nothing more than the study of the ratios of right triangles. Here are the 6 ratios- a/b, b/a, a/c. c/a, b/c, and c/b Because we will use these ratios frequently, we will give those ratios names; sine, cosine, tangent, cosecant, secant, and cotangent. s you can see from the ratios we found, three of the six are reciprocals. So if I know three, I actually know all six. We have already defined the tangent ratio. The easiest way I know to remember the trig ratios is by memorizing SOHCHTO. The S stands for sine, O for opposite side, H for hypotenuse, C for cosine, for adjacent side, and T for tangent. We ll only look at the sine (sin), cosine (cos), and tangent (tan). Geometry, You Can Do It 14

15 Using SOHCHTO, the sin = cos = opposite hypotenuse = a c adjacent hypotenuse = b c and the tan = opposite adjacent = a b By using right triangles, we can now determine the sine, cosine, and tangent of angles. That, in turn, will allow us to find the sides of different right triangles if we know an angle because the sides will be in proportion pplications: sin, cos, tan Using SOHCHTO, the sin = cos = opposite hypotenuse = a c adjacent hypotenuse = b c and the tan = opposite adjacent = a b By knowing SOHCHTO, you will be able to remember the Sine is equal to Opposite over the Hypotenuse, the Cosine is equal to the djacent over the Hypotenuse, and the Tangent is the Opposite over the djacent. Let s combine this knowledge of trig ratios with our knowledge of special triangles. In a triangle we know the sides have the following relationships: the hypotenuse is twice as long as the shorter side and the longer side (not the hypotenuse) is 3 times the shorter side. Geometry, You Can Do It 15

16 1 60º º Now using a little trig, if I wanted to know the sine 30º, I would use sin 30º = opposite hypotenuse = 1 2 Piece of cake, don t you think? Let s say I only know the ratio of the sides, I could go backwards and find the angles. In other words, if I knew the sine of and the angle was 1/2 or (.5), then I would know the angle is 30º. The only trick to solving problems is using the most appropriate trig ratio. In other words, you want to use a trig ratio; sine, cosine or tangent that is the wisest choice to set up the problem. Before I go on, let me just say that I could use the special angles we learned earlier to solve problems or use trig tables or calculators to find the ratios for other angles. 61º x 20 Let s say I wanted to find the height of the above triangle. With the given information and wanting to find x, which trig ratio would I use, sine, cosine, or tangent? If I use the 61º angle, the sine is the opposite over the hypotenuse. The hypotenuse has nothing to do with the information given. In other words, using sine is not a wise choice. The cosine of 61º also uses the hypotenuse, again not a good choice. The tangent of 61º is the opposite, which is 20, over the adjacent, which is x. That gives us something to work with. tan 61º = opposite adjacent = 20 x Now I either look up the tangent of 61º in a table or I use a calculator to find the ratio is Substituting, I have Geometry, You Can Do It 16

17 x Therefore, x So let s keep trigonometry in perspective, all we are doing is studying the ratios of the sides of right triangles. Because those ratios are the same because of similar triangles and we use those ratios frequently, we gave them names. For our special right triangles, the and the , we can determine those ratios quickly because we have theorems that showed relationships between the sides of those right triangles. For angles other than 30, 45, and 60, we will rely on a calculator or table to give us the ratio of the sides If I know the side opposite the 30 angle measure 5, then by theorem I know the hypotenuse is 10 and the longer side, the side opposite the 60 angle is 5 3. Filling in that information, we have The sin 30 = 5/10, the cos 30 = 5 3 /10, and the tan 30 = 5/5 3, These should be reduced, so the sin 30 = ½, the cos 30 = 3 /2, and the tan 30 = 1/ Simplifying 1/ 3, the tan 30 = 3 /3. 3. Geometry, You Can Do It 17

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