Geometry

Area of a Plot of Land

The last four posts dealt with formulas for finding areas using lengths of sides, starting with the triangle, where that is all you need, and then quadrilaterals, where something more must be added; and then using coordinates of vertices. Now we can use those tools to solve some of the more common real-life problems we …

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Polygon Coordinates and Areas

We’ve been collecting techniques for finding areas of polygons, mostly using their side lengths. We started with triangles (Heron’s formula), then quadrilaterals (Bretschneider’s formula and Brahmagupta’s formula), and the fact that the largest possible area is attained when the vertices lie on a circle. We’ll look at one more way to find area, using coordinates …

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Tangents Without Calculus

I always like solving advanced problems with basic methods. For example, many problems that we usually think of as “algebra problems” can be solved by creative thinking without algebra; and some “calculus problems” can be solved using only algebra or geometry. Using simple tools for a big job requires more thought than using “the right …

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Distances to an Arc: Exact and Approximate Formulas

(A new question of the week) It can be an interesting challenge to be presented with a formula and asked how it was derived. This becomes a bigger challenge when the formula is only approximate, so we have to figure out how to arrive at this particular approximation. But it is impressive when several different …

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