Series: Success at the Core: Relevant and Real Content


Common core State Standards

  • Math:  Math
  • 8:  Grade 8
  • G:  Geometry
  • B:  Understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem
  • 7: 
    Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to determine unknown side lengths in right triangles in real-world and mathematical problems in two and three dimensions.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Challenging Students to Discover Pythagoras
Lesson Objective: Work on a challenging problem to discover the Pythagorean Theorem
Grade 8 / Math / Pythagoras

Thought starters

  1. What aspects of Mr. Ivy's practice most challenge your thinking about math instruction?
  2. What strategies does the teacher use to prepare students for the challenge he poses?
  3. How does the teacher guide students to discover (vs. memorize) the Pythagorean Theorem?
I loved this video because it touches on many essential elements of a successful lesson, especially introductory. I also liked the activity shared by Mr. Jim Paige.
Recommended (0)
What about coming from the direction of area as an exploration? Students start with a square of known area, say 10 cm X 10 cm. Then they create 2 areas from the square such that the sum of these areas equals the sum of the original square, say 80 square cm and 20 square cm. For each of these areas, they create squares of equivalent area. For 80 square cm, the side length would be 8.94 cm, and for 20 square cm, the side length is 4.47 cm. Students draw and cut out all three squares and use the sides of each square to make a triangle. The purpose would be to physically and mathematically establish the area of the squares relationship for a right triangle. Many different right triangles would be created because students will end up with different sized smaller squares than their classmates. The activity might prevent students from a simple (and incorrect) relationship between side lengths for right triangles.
Recommended (0)
And from across the proverbial pond, I like this way too
Recommended (1)

School Details

Sylvester Middle School
16222 Sylvester Rd Sw
Burien WA 98166
Population: 658

Data Provided By:



Breck Ivy


Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Planning

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12 / ELA / Tch DIY