Saturday, March 29, 2014

A peek at my Pythagorean Theorem Unit

      At last, my finalized Pythagorean Theorem unit. I feel like I have been working on this forever. I love all of the activities that I have found and it was difficult to narrow it down to the following lessons. Here is a list of the major activities that I am doing with my students starting next week. This is going to be fun!

Pythagorean Theorem Investigation

     I will introduce Pythagorean Theorem with the Starburst candy activity. I was inspired by Pam Lucken's video to use Starburst candies as a manipulative to form the sides of the triangles. I have seen the same project using other manipulatives as well. I just think candy will be fun. My goal is for the students to be able to discover the Pythagorean Theorem on their own. When they have finished the activity it will go in their interactive notebooks.

Students will need:
  •   A copy of the Starburst Triangle Investigation and direction sheet.
  •  A plastic bag with 340 Starbursts in each bag. (Maybe 350 to account for accidental eating.) 
  •    A plastic bag with triangle measurement sides for the six triangles they will model.
  •    Paper, pencil and straightedge.    

Click here for: Starburst triangle investigation and
Triangle Exploration Worksheet ( adapted from Alexander Sabitino, Picking Pythagorus.)
Directions for Starburst ExplorationStarburst triangles to measure pg 1, 
starburst triangles to measure pg 2

         My students will follow the directions on the Triangle Exploration worksheet and create triangles with the side lengths given on the cards in their envelopes. They will determine if the sides form a triangle, classify what type of angle is formed by the largest angle and if the area of the smaller sides cover the largest side.

Pythagorean Theorem Foldable

The next day we will make this foldable and place it into our INB'directions for Starburst activitys.

Click here for Pythagorean Theorem foldable template.

Interesting Lessons

     Time for some interesting problems from Mrs. Hester's Classroom and Embrace the Drawing Board. Check their entire lessons on the link provided. I love these two lessons.

And here are some more wonderful INB pages from Mrs. Hester's Classroom.

Lesson Will the TV fit, from Tim's 3 act from Embrace the Drawing Board.

Pythagorean Triples

    In the past, Pythagorean Triples have been one or two problems where the topic has been mentioned and not much more. I plan on spending a few day on triples this year.

     OK, I don't have this foldable completely finished but thought I would give you a preview. Final foldable will be posted soon. Promise!

And here are some videos.

     I love Robert Kaplinsky - Wizard of Oz, Pythagorean Theorem problem. See if you can find all the errors in the video before looking at his answers. I can't believe that so many of my students have never seen this movie. I may be dating myself but we watched it every Thanksgiving when we had only 4 channels to watch on TV. My how times have changed.

       Some teachers would probably use this at the beginning of the unit, but I want my students to have lots of practice with Pythagorean Theorem before they see this video. I am going to use it at the end of the unit. They will have practiced many times and be able to verbalize or write down the errors they see.


And of course, Dan Meyer's 3 act, taco cart lesson. Check his site to see all 3 acts with questions and more. It is outstanding and the kids love guessing to see who will get to the taco cart first.

Distance Between Two Points 

     I'm excited to use Mary's lesson distance between 2 points at Curiouser and Curiouser. Read Mary's post to see the rest of the lesson. I'm hoping that the hallway outside my classroom is large enough for this. If not I will go to the main hall of the building. I like how the students will need to decide how to measure the sides. I've already started to think about how to group the students for this activity so they will be successful. Thanks Mary for posting this lesson.

     I know that I will  add to my plans throughout the unit. My lesson plans change depending on the students needs. Look for photos of students in my next post.

 Til next time,



  1. WOW! This looks GREAT! I can't wait to try this with my students. I used your Pythagorean Theorem Foldable in our ISN - the students really liked it!


    1. Thanks ML! I am glad you have discovered my blog. I've only been blogging for 2 months and I love it. I'm glad your kids like the foldable. This is my first year using foldables and I am addicted. I'll be over checking your site today.


  2. This looks really great! Thanks for sharing all of your ideas. I've just started reading your blog and it is great! Can't wait to hear more.

    1. Thanks Chris. I'm glad you found me. I would love to hear if you use any of the ideas in class and how they worked for your students. I was a little nervous posting before I actually did the lessons but I find that it helps keep me organized to post ahead of time. I appreciate your encouragement.


  3. Love all of these activities especially the starburst one. My kiddos would love it! I noticed when I clicked on of the links for the directions it pulls up the triangle investigation. Is there any way I can get the copy of the directions?? We are on our last unit before testing (try to save the best for last because I think it is so much fun to learn!).

    1. I will check on that tonight and post the link for you:) Thanks for visiting me blog.

    2. Hi Kylie,
      Sorry it took so long to post the directions and triangles. Kind of a busy week at school. I have uploaded the directions and I scanned a copy of the triangles that were place in envelopes at each station. You could have all 8 at one station and have the group stay to finish all the measuring or you could divide the triangles between the station. I had 2 triangles at each station. The problem became the larger triangles took the kids much longer to do which made switching a problem. Some kids sat with nothing to do. I just didn't have enough candy to have 200 at each station so I placed smaller triangles together and those groups finished early. Hope the kids enjoy the exploration. Thanks for stopping by my blog:)

  4. I wish my kids had you for math!!

    1. Thank you Shelly. I love geometry, it is so much fun to teach. You made my day!! Thank you for stopping by:)

  5. I love this assignment and I tried it today! The only issue I ran into was I guess when I printed my copies of your triangles they didn't come out the same size? We only had 2 triangles that worked. Triangle 4 ended up being isosceles.


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