Basic Math of Triangles

It’s hard to imagine a world without the triangle.  I’m not talking about the musical instrument version, the love version, or even the famous Bermuda version.  If you really think about how many uses you see for triangles in every aspect of our lives, it would be scary to imagine a world without them.  They are used in engineering, architecture, machinery, nature and decorations.  Because there are so many uses, it is important to have a strong grasp of the basic math principles behind this shape.

A triangle is a 3 sided shape with 3 corners and can be described in 3 ways.  There are three basic types: Isosceles, Scalene and Equilateral.  An Equilateral triangle has equal lengths on all 3 sides.  An Isosceles has 2 sides of equal length.  And Scalene has 3 different lengths of all sides.

The Parts of a Right TriangleA unique triangle is the Right triangle.  This triangle has one corner that is 90 degrees.  No matter what version you have, you can add all 3 angles at the corners and the sum will be 180 degrees.

To find the perimeter you find the total sum of the lengths of all three sides.  It’s pretty simple.  To calculate the triangle perimeter you add  Length1 + Length2 + Length3.

The area of a triangle is a little more tricky.  Think of a triangle as half of a parallelogram.  To calculate the area of a parallelogram, you multiply the base length by the height.  Don’t confuse the height length as one of the side lengths.  To calculate the area of triangle , you multiply 1/2 x base length x height.

Finally we get to the Pythagorean Theorem.  On any triangle, the longest side is referred to as the hypotenuse.  If you look at a Right triangle, the hypotenuse is directly across from the 90 degree angle.  Using the Pythagorean Theorem, we can calculate the length of the hypotenuse of the Right Triangle from the lengths of the other two sides.  To calculate the hypotenuse (c), use the equation: a2 + b2 = c2

These are some of the most basic math calculations for triangles.  Try to spend a day and make a list of how many times you see a triangle in use.

CalcuNATION is a website featuring online calculators and educational resources for mathematics.  Other Mathematical Blogs ( CalcuNATION on EduBlogs and CalcuNATION on Blogger)

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