##
* *Reflection: Transitions
Discovering Triangle Congruence Shortcuts - Section 3: Debrief/Notes: Triangle Congruence Shortcuts

In the past, I have debriefed this investigation by passing out note takers to students, asking questions about what kinds of observations and conjectures students had made, and facilitating a whole-class discussion about the key ideas of the investigation—in this case, which constructions produced one distinct triangle and which did not. This discussion can be a bit dissatisfying in that there are times when it feels that I, the teacher, am the one who gives all the answers.

This year, I tried something slightly different. I passed out the note takers to students after they had finished the investigation with their partner and asked them to try to summarize their thinking on the notetaker. This is a shift from what I have done in the past, and a good one, I think. By giving students six pairs of triangles that show all six of the triangle shortcuts, I enabled my students to critically examine the triangles’ given information (to distinguish SAS from SSA, for example) in order to formally record their conjectures. Furthermore, in the case of ASA, for example, students had to draw on prior knowledge in order to make a decision about whether the shortcut guarantees triangle congruence (if two angles in one triangle are congruent to two angles in another, then the third angles are congruent, thus allowing students to rely on their understanding of AAS as a congruence shortcut).

The idea of giving students time to think, do some sense making, and make some connections BEFORE facilitating a whole-class debrief discussion is not new. However, this small decision reminded me that even the smallest decisions (giving students more think time) can increase cognitive demand and encourage higher order thinking as students construct viable arguments and critique their partner’s reasoning.

*Thoughts on How to Jump into the Debrief*

*Transitions: Thoughts on How to Jump into the Debrief*

# Discovering Triangle Congruence Shortcuts

Lesson 4 of 10

## Objective: Students will be able to conjecture about the sets of three sides and angles that will guarantee triangle congruence.

I use this warm-up because it forces students to apply their understanding of the angles of isosceles triangles in an unconventional way. This problem can yield a really rich whole-class discussion since there are several ways to think and reason through the problem. What I like to do for the first problem is write out three different possible equations that represent the geometric relationships in the problem; I then ask students to take a moment to consider what ideas the equations represent and to justify how they know—this really gives students an opportunity to look for structure in the work (**MP7**) and to defend their thinking using precise vocabulary (**MP3**).

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I launch this Investigation by leading a short whole-class discussion around triangle congruence. I offer a simple definition for congruence—all corresponding sides and angles are congruent—an idea that makes sense to students but sounds like a rather time consuming process. **This is when I plant the idea of looking for shortcuts**, which motivates the investigation. The Investigation is a task to see which of the six permutations of three sides and three angles will guarantee triangle congruence.

I ask students to work in pairs and to use their constructions skills (**MP5**) to make sense of the investigation. They are given a set of sides and angles from which they are to determine the number of triangles possible to construct—if they can construct one and only one triangle, the pair should conjecture that the shortcut might guarantee triangle congruence; **if they can construct more than one triangle, the pair should conjecture that the shortcut does not guarantee triangle congruence**. In this investigation, pairs will deal with SSS, SAS, ASA, SSA; they will come across AA later in the lesson, and they will prove AAS in the next lesson. Throughout this investigation, students are trying to look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning, considering which combination of three sides and angles can guarantee triangle congruence (**MP8**).

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During the debrief of this activity, I choose four different students’ constructions for SSS, SAS, ASA, and SSA to share using the document camera. The rest of the class checks their work against the constructions shown with the goal of showing a counterexample, which would disprove the conjectures students had written during the investigation. After we go through this process, we formally debrief on our note takers, which is a routine for our class.

#### Resources

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#### Exit Ticket

*10 min*

In this Exit Ticket, I display four pairs of triangles from the station work. Students choose any one of the pairs of triangles to prove congruent. This exit ticket gives me a way to formatively assess my students' understanding about triangle congruence criteria and whether they can prove triangles are congruent.

#### Resources

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*When you say construct, do you mean with straight edge and compass? Or how do you have them manipulate the segments and angles? | 3 months ago | Reply*

Jessica, thoughtful reflection. Thank you.

I am always trying to improve the quality of mathematical discourse in my classroom. It's only been a few years since I started to think of myself as a teacher who can pull off a whole-class discussion in which most of the good ideas come from students instead of from me, the teacher. This year has been harder somehow.

So, I enjoy learning what other teachers are trying in their classrooms.

Tom

| one year ago | Reply

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- UNIT 1: Creating Classroom Culture to Develop the Math Practices
- UNIT 2: Introducing Geometry
- UNIT 3: Transformations
- UNIT 4: Discovering and Proving Angle Relationships
- UNIT 5: Constructions
- UNIT 6: Midterm Exam Review
- UNIT 7: Discovering and Proving Triangle Properties
- UNIT 8: Discovering and Proving Polygon Properties
- UNIT 9: Discovering and Proving Circles Properties
- UNIT 10: Geometric Measurement and Dimension
- UNIT 11: The Pythagorean Theorem
- UNIT 12: Triangle Similarity and Trigonometric Ratios
- UNIT 13: Final Exam Review

- LESSON 1: The Language and Properties of Proof
- LESSON 2: Triangle Sum Theorem and Special Triangles
- LESSON 3: Triangle Inequality and Side-Angle Relationships
- LESSON 4: Discovering Triangle Congruence Shortcuts
- LESSON 5: Proofs with Triangle Congruence Shortcuts
- LESSON 6: Triangle Congruence and CPCTC Practice
- LESSON 7: Proving Isosceles Triangle Conjectures
- LESSON 8: Group Assessment: Triangle Congruence and Proof
- LESSON 9: Triangle Properties, Triangle Congruence, and Proof Review
- LESSON 10: Discovering and Proving Triangle Properties Unit Assessment