# Proportions and Similar Triangles

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• #137
Anonymous
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What are some creative ways of teaching/explaining this?

• #524
Anonymous
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When explaining proportions one example that always captures the students attention is to find the distance to a city on the map (I use New York). On the map in my room, NYC is 37.5 inches away with a scale of 1.5 inches for every 100 miles. We then set up the following proportion:

I make sure to assert the concept of keeping the units consistent (inches on top on both sides etc), and I show the differing ways it can also be set up.

After we attain the answer–which comes out to 2500 miles–I then allow the student with smart phones to use the map function to find out what the distance comes out to (about 2800 miles). I challenge the students to think why it’s farther using this map than a real map (The zig zaggy-ness of the roads). Which makes flying so much more efficient–not only do airplanes go faster, they create their own straight-shot path.

(And while I’m on the topic, I like to point out why planes are able to go 650 mph at 30,000 feet but not nearly as fast when they first take off (thinner air). The same reason more baseball players hit more homeruns at Coors Field in Denver and why my golf swing mysteriously had 15% more power when I played in Denver.)

• #526
Anonymous
Inactive

Somehow, every student seems to have seen the 1989 movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids. In this movie I use Rick Moranis’s shrinking machine to explain similarity. “When the kids got shrunk, they didn’t get skinnier or pudgier. There were no deformities in their shrunken appearance. All their proportions remained the same. They simply shrunk in size. And then later got blown up in size. They same goes with triangles…”

• #528
Anonymous
Inactive

In explaining the SSS and SAS similarity postulates, I discuss the Pyramid of Giza, whose base is approx. 750 long and whose edges are roughly the same. When tourists buy souvenirs of the pyramids, those pyramids had better look like the actual pyramid, meaning they had better be similar. Not understanding similarity could spell doom for the souvenir makers/vendors. It’s the same reason we buy action figures, barbies, and Hot Wheels cars. If they weren’t similar we’d never buy them. Who would buy a barbie doll with tiny legs to go with giant feet?