July 9, 2013

Pythagorean Thoerem

Pythagorean Theorem... around town!!
 Most of my kiddos were already fairly familiar with Pythagorean Theorem as it is a pre-algebra topic and we were in Algebra 1 class. We did it for a day to make sure everyone was a pro! And because I was doing all CCSS-7, CCSS-8, and CCSS-Alg 1 standards (yikes! remember from here?)
We reviewed some basics, talked about what the theorem was really telling us (equal areas), talked about the theorem's converse, and talked about triples. All of those notes quickly went on the front of the map foldable. You can see those ideas in the picture above.

Then we got to the fun part!
I used google maps to zoom in on an area of town, relatively close to our school, that had some straight-line streets. I used my google maps image to create this for students.
The premise is that AT&T is laying fiber optic lines for its U-Verse service and we're calculating the total amount used by the technician. The map was blank when I gave it to students and we drew in the thick black line as a class to represent where the cable was being laid. I think I will go ahead and include those lines on the document when I give it to students next year. It will speed up the process and no learning will be lost.

This is what the map looked like with just "fiber line" drawn in.

After drawing in our fiber line, I gave students the actual measurements, again from google maps, for a few of the street sections. I didn't give them every piece they thought they wanted, but enough so that all the others could be obtained. Gotta make 'em work for it!

I told students that the technician was starting at the northern most corner so that's where we started. We needed to find six different individual lengths to find the total, so we used six different colors in our notebook. We calculated the first length together to make sure everyone was doing okay. From that point on students wanted to work with their partners so I let them go for it, especially since most knew what they were doing. Students then checked their six individually lengths and total with me before receiving their homework assignment. I was able to make sure everyone was confident that way. I also roamed around the room while they calculated to give tips and encourage.

Overall this activity went very well; I'll definitely be doing it again. Students got invested and practiced Pythagorean theorem multiple times, without just grinding out a worksheet full of problems. YAY!

What are your tips and tricks for Pythagorean? Please share!!!


  1. This is a great INB entry! Our textbook contains a map that we used to find various distances; however, I do like this idea. This year will be my first time using INB's and one of the things I want to do with the Pythagorean Theorem is to design a page where they can pull out pieces to show a proof for it. I'm looking for a neat way to do that. If I come it with something cool, I will share. :-d

  2. I'd love to see that! Sounds like a great idea! Please post a link or shoot me an email with whatever you create.

  3. I love this idea. I have often thought of going to my city office to see what kind of maps they have available to do a similar idea. I never thought of creating my own with Google Maps! Thank you for sharing!

    1. I hope you can find straight streets to use! My town is very "curvy" so I had to zoom in on google maps to get a good section. I just zoomed until I liked it, then use the windows snipping tools. Good luck!

  4. Great idea! How did you get your google map to give you measurements in feet? Mine only gives them in miles.

  5. This was a great activity! Thank you so much for sharing!
    No. 2 Pencils

  6. This looks excellent! Just curious: what lengths did you give the students? Is that what the third picture is showing?

  7. What did you assign to the students as homework?

  8. I'm doing this with my Pre-Algebra kids. (Advanced kids) I love it! It's making them think and work together to problem solve!