# Teaching Pythagoras to different classes

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by fareeha246, Jan 16, 2011.

1. ### fareeha246

Dear All
How would you teach Pythagoras to a Year 7 class and Year 9 support class? I know that prior knowledge required is squared numbers/squared roots/ areas of squares/recognising right-angled triangles.
Also does anyone have any resources for these?
I am not a teacher yet but i may need to do a presentation on any one of Yr7, Yr9 top, Yr support, Yr 11 top and Yr middle sets and a year 13 class.( i am a MEC student)
I understand that for a Year 7 class you would need to explain all the prior knowledge first and maybe a bit of a background on Pythagoras. But how would you teach it to a Yr 13, when you'd expect them to already know this.
Also if any of you have taught Pythagoras to a Yr 7 class, which parts do they find diffcult to grasp?
If anyone could shed some light into this, that would be good.
Thank you.

2. ### NazardNew commenter

You don't mention the prior attainment of this group.
If they are L4 or L5 then it would be worth asking "why?" - not because they won't necessarily be unable to cope with following an algorithm, but because they will almost certainly get more out of learning other bits of maths.
If very high attainers then I would start with "tilted squares" (one version of which is available on Nrich) - and then would develop the ideas with them, leading to Pythag at the end of a couple of lessons.
... are likely to have issues remembering the difference between squaring and square-rooting. If you absolutely must teach them Pythag then I suggest drawing squares on the sides of the triangle and getting them to work out missing areas, rather than trying to work out side lengths or to use the formula.
Presumably if they are retaking GCSE (for a second time?) then drawing squares, etc, would be OK. If they are A-level students then Pythag in 3D?
Not sure how helpful this is - hope you manage to dig something useful out!

3. ### stuartwithau

I have also used the "tilted squares" activity from Nrich with several classes. It works extremely well but you must be careful that the pupils are confident to actually draw the tilted squares - the rest they find straight forward enough. If you have a particularly good class tilted squares is also a good activity to indroduce expanding brackets.

4. ### Betamale

What isan MEC student out of ineterest?
Some god points raised above.
IMO its not about teaching a year group, its about teaching an ability group. From experience 'good' year 7s who were working at level 6 can get their head around the basics but many wil struggle with anything beyond the hypotenuse in an pythagorian triple and many don't even hit evel 6 by year 9.
Unless re-sits the year 13 will not learn pyhthag as year 12 will be ful of trig identities and equations along with work with scalene
Find what level the topic is you are planning
Design something from there thats progressive and applicable
Main issues for weaker pupils from experience is rooting, deciding which is the hyp and the formula. Slightly better kids are ok with some basics but (again from experience) don't like finding a shorter side. Silly mistakes by higher ability pupils is not appreciating the size of exact answers when checking answers

5. ### Betamale

Thanks DM...I need to get on top of my acronyms. SCITTMECs
Sounds like a German wartime weapon
Micro teaching?
Ahh just chuck the trainees in with 30+ in a room in an inner city school and they will hack anything in their career. I remember my first day in a school was in a rough place and 28 'no thank you' learners who just wanted a row. Would I have swapped that?....not a chance as I knew I had to make it.
Anyway Im off on a tangent...again

6. ### Betamale

I had a read and its a nice idea. My main concerns would be
• The length of the lessons is not 'usual'
• Your kids seem to want to learn
• They are able to walk around a class whilst staying on task
• The pupils have the ability to process that level of maths
Good idea and it would be nice to see if its retained.
Was it 2 or 3.5hrs overall?
I think its nice getting 'straws' or similar to appreciate the lengths that will an wil not work to make triangles and the simply thinking about those lengths squared as an individual quantity.
This though would be reserved for fairly able KS3 pupils who were able to control themselves.