Pythagoras is most likely one of the name that will come out of your mouth when asked about famous mathematicians. And rightfully so. Simply searching Pythagoras and his theorem generates lists upon lists of his history and his work.
The video above gives a nice little visual to the Pythagorean Theorem. This model has a single triangle in the middle with the squares built off each leg and the hypotenuse of the triangle. I'm sure you know Pythagoras's Theorem, but as a refresher:
a2 + b2 = c2
Where c is the longest side and a and b are the other two sides
In the water demo, the water beings in the squares built of the smaller legs. Each of these two areas are completely full. The board is the rotated to reveal that all the water that was contained in the two smaller squares, completely fills the larger square, the hypotenuse. Pretty cool, right?I wish it gave details onto how this model was created but I love how great of a visual it is. Granted, when showing this to kids they would already need to have the background knowledge but what a great anchor visual for them to have.
Also, another great activity is a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem using jelly beans! Cool, right? Not only does this activity allow students to work hands on with the Theorem but it also allows them to get a better understanding as to why and how the theorem works. Similar to the water demonstration, the Jelly Bean activity has students section off the squares created off each leg of the triangle. The students then slide the Jelly Beans into the largest square, not removing any of the Jelly Beans. Students are able to visual see the theorem in action, which is what I love about hands on activities. When I first learned this theorem, I never really understood why it worked. Through my college courses I have most definitely learned more about the workings of this theorem and it really is a great one that deserves to be fully understood.
You can check out the Jelly Bean activity here.