Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from madi, a student:

A ladder 8 ft long resting on a house makes a 60 degree angle with the ground. how far up the house does it reach?

Hi Madi.

I sketched the question below.

Can you see the yellow right-angled triangle? That's what you use to find the answer for the question. Here's a simpler geometric sketch. We'll call the length of the side we want to find h.

There is a trig function called sine which will let you find the value of h.

In any right triangle, the length of the leg opposite a particular angle is equal to the length of the hypotenuse times the sine of the angle.


      h = (8 ft) sin (60°)

Hope this helps,
Stephen La Rocque.


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