What Is the Pythagorean Theorem?

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The Pythagorean theorem is a formula used to solve side lengths of a right triangle, and it is expressed as A squared plus B squared equals C squared. Identify the different components of the Pythagorean theorem with instructions from a college-level math teacher in this free video on geometry.

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Video Transcript

So what is the Pythagorean Theorem? Hi, I'm Jimmy Chang, I've been teaching college math for 9 years. And the Pythagorean Theorem is one of the most popular and widely used theorems, because in part it is pretty simple to remember, but the important thing is you need to know how it is used and where it is used. Now the Pythagorean Theorem was named after the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, and it's a right triangle exclusive, in that its a theorem that applies only to right triangles. Now in a right triangle you have the sides A,B and C. Now A and B are known as your legs, those are sides that represent and support the right angle, and C is the side that's facing the right angle known as the hypotenuse. So therefore the formula A squared plus B squared equals C squared came about, but what that actually means here is, the leg squared plus the leg squared is equal to the hypotenuse squared. This is always true for right triangles, but for right triangles only. Now here's a case and point as to how you want to use the theorem. Suppose you wanted to know what C is and you're given that A is 3 and B is 4. Now what you would do is just plug in those numbers back in the Pythagorean theorem and this is what you have; 3 squared plus 4 squared equals C squared. Now 3 squared is 9 plus 4 squared is 16 and that's equal to C squared. Now obviously 9 and 16 is going to give you 25, is equal to C squared and to solve 4C all you need to do is, using algebra, take the squared of both sides and you'll get C equals 2,5, so 5 is the missing hypotenuse. Now if you, whatever reason were given the hypotenuse, you wanted to solve one of the legs instead, just plug in the Trident Pythagorean Theorem, and as long as you plug in your numbers correctly you will find the missing side. So I'm Jimmy Chang and that gives you an example as to what is the Pythagorean Theorem.


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