Jan 292009


Friday Afternoon Lifesavers are exactly what they sound like: at the end of the week when you and your students are running out of gas, these activities come to the rescue. They are mathematical, engaging, fun, and give the teacher a much-needed break.

Here’s a puzzle that works anytime, but works especially well if your class is studying the Pythagorean Theorem. It will make a nice project as well for kids to make as a paper/pencil drawing or a computer project.

I first came across this at a math conference years ago. It came in the form of five pieces of plastic which could be rearranged to form one square by itself, with the other four pieces forming a square as well. The graphic above shows these five pieces. Then the directions said that it was possible to rearrange the five pieces to form another, larger square. This, of course, is a demonstration of the Pythagorean Theorem.

I’ve included a link to my puzzle file which gives a full-size ready-to-cut-out model of the puzzle. It’s sure to be a winner with your kids. You might consider making a transparency of this for an overhead projector model.

To receive all new posts – subscribe via email or RSS Web Feed.

Mr. L’s cursive signature

  7 Responses to “Friday Afternoon Lifesavers – the Teacher’s Best Friend; Part 3, Pythagorean Theorem Cut-Up”

  1. I can not find out how to make the square!! How do you complete the puzzle?

  2. where is the answer?

  3. For Courtney and Anonymous (a popular name) here is a clue to the answer: place the square at the corner of the new square you are trying to make with the five pieces. I will post the solution to the puzzle in a couple days. Best of luck!
    -Mr. L

  4. i still cannot get the answer and exactly how you would describe the connection to the pythagorean. i am a edu student and just was wondering the best approach to explaing this project.

  5. Where can I find the solution?

  6. Love it! I’m an 8th grade math teacher and this is a great visual activity for my students. Thanks so much!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.