Pythagoras' Theorem: Bent Bamboo

Australian curriculum number (ACMNA233; ACMNA239)

Students apply Pythagoras’ theorem to explore a historical real-world problem. They are provided with an initial problem context that can be approached using Pythagoras’ theorem, and can see connections between their solutions and concepts of symmetry and algebra.

This lesson assumes knowledge of Pythagoras’ theorem and makes links to the algebra of binomial expansions and to graphs of quadratic functions.


Lesson 1: Bent Bamboo

Students use Pythagoras’ theorem to solve a problem from an ancient Chinese text. They make physical models of the problem and use this to construct a graph. They use algebra skills associated with binomial expansions and use simplification of fractions to show that the general solution given in the Chinese text gives identical results to those developed using modern mathematical techniques. There are opportunities to solve similar problems for consolidation.


Last updated June 22 2020.