Reflection: Conferencing Using the Pythagorean Theorem to Solve by Diagram - Section 3: Beginning the New Activity


This lesson has successfully helped students to avoid the common misconception that you add the sides before you squared them and then take the square root for the hypotenuse measurement.  My struggling students who seem to often be more visual than algebraic love this lesson so much that I often find them drawing squares on the outside of right triangles in order to solve by Pythagorean Theorem.  What is often an issue however is getting students to understand the point of drawing the squares.  It is sometimes difficult for them to understand that the triangle is the focus, not the squares.  I am very explicit with this lesson that the squares are only a means to an end. This unique relationship with area is used to find missing side lengths on the triangle.  I also keep the video on the screen throughout the entire lesson because as I conference with students I often need to refer back to the visual for them to understand visually that the water can flow from small squares to large square but then also from the large square back into the two small squares.  The visualization of water draining into two squares is how many students understand that sometime with Pythagorean Theorem you are subtracting the area of a leg square from the hypotenuse square.  Really, this is a wonderful lesson for promoting conceptual understanding and avoiding common misconceptions with just teaching this concept algebraically.  I find the student conferencing time throughout this lesson so valuable.  


  Formative Assessment - Conferencing
  Conferencing: Formative Assessment - Conferencing
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Using the Pythagorean Theorem to Solve by Diagram

Unit 4: Pythagorean Theorem
Lesson 2 of 10

Objective: Learn to apply the conceptual understanding of when and why the Pythagorean Theorem is equivalent in order to solve visually for missing side lengths

Big Idea: Moving students from hands-on Pythagorean Theorem to drawing diagrams to solve for missing sides continues the concept of why and how the equality works.

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Math, Pythagorean Theroem, 8th grade math, 8th Grade Geometry, master teacher
  55 minutes
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