Geometry

Area of Pyramids and Cones

We’ve looked at the volume of a pyramid, the formula for which can be found geometrically by a couple very different methods. Cones can be handled the same way, so we can skim over them. Let’s finish up by considering the surface areas of both cones and pyramids. Volumes and areas I’ll start with a …

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Volume and Surface Area of a Sphere – Without Calculus

We often get questions about deriving formulas for area and volume; usually when the question is about a sphere, the context is calculus, so we talk about integration, the usual modern method. But for students who only know geometry, “wait until you learn calculus” can be unsatisfying. Fortunately, there are a couple ways to do …

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Choosing the Most Appropriate Unit

We’ve been looking at measuring and drawing devices (compass, ruler, protractor); let’s move on to units of measurement. A fairly common question for students learning about measurement is, “What is the most appropriate unit for measuring ___?” The answer is not always clear, as we’ll see. General principles Here is a question from 2003: Choosing …

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Using a Protractor

Last time we looked at how to use a ruler to measure distances. This time, we’ll consider another common question over the years: how to use a protractor to measure angles. We’ll also consider the relationship between protractors and the compass and straightedge constructions that started this series on geometry tools. And just like last …

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Using a Ruler

Having just discussed why we use compass and straightedge in geometry, let’s flip that around and look at a common question at the more elementary level: How do you use a ruler to measure or draw a line of a given length? The usual issue here is working with the fractional markings on an inch …

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Compass and Straightedge: Why?

Some time ago I looked at questions about trisecting an angle by compass and straightedge, which entailed discussing the rules for such constructions. We left open another common question: Why are such constructions important, and why do we use those particular tools? This probably isn’t explained as often as it should be. Why does it …

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