“Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have,” as stated by the Wizard from Oz in 1939. According to him, a Th.D. diploma (Doctor of Thinkology) is all that is needed for Scarecrow to spout off the Pythagorean theorem (albeit his definition was slightly off). I think my middle school math students would have supported the Wizard’s notion that it takes some kind of diploma to be able to understand the theorem and recite it, but that was before the days of the Internet. Nowadays, anyone who has any kind web-surfing device and web access can find a wealth of information about the theorem. No diploma required! Just do a Google, Yahoo or Bing search.
Newly posted on YouTube is an animated illustration and explanation of the theorem. This is a short sequence from a lesson (M8.7) in the Elevated Math app. Another Elevated Math lesson (A18.4) uses the Pythagorean theorem in finding distance between two points. Elevated Math is in the App Store in iTunes.
In your Internet search you will find teaching videos that feature robotic teachers, boring lectures, great info with no people, waterwheels demonstrating the concept, Darth Vadar explaining the theorem, and even video teachers who mispronounce the theorem’s name. Because there is a wealth of information doesn’t mean that wealth is quality stuff.
Here are a few other sites that have something to offer. If you want the Pythagorean theorem in 60 seconds and you are a fast learner, this video may be the ticket. For entertainment, watch Pythagorean Theorem starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Matt Damon where Kindergarten Cop meets Good Will Hunting. For real-life problems that students can try to solve using the theorem, here are a couple. If you want print info that is clear and concise, check out this site.
So, even though it may not take a diploma or Th.D. to understand the Pythagorean theorem, it is very important to find quality instruction that engages, teaches, and/or explains why the theorem is important and helpful when solving real problems. Like Scarecrow, we want our kids to know “they’ve got a brain” and can learn and apply this notable and essential mathematics concept.
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