Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Judy, a parent:

X^2 + Y^2 = 5^2
Graph all ordered pairs in the coordiante plane that satisfy the Pythagorean equation, x squared plus y squared equals five squared

Hi Judy.

What this question is asking is for you to pick some values of x and find out the corresponding value(s) of y for each of them. Use those (x,y) coordinates to plot a single dot on the graph. Keep doing this with various values of x until it becomes clear to you what the shape is.

If you examine the equation, you should be able to see that X cannot be larger than 5, so you don't even need to try anything larger than 5.

Do you think negative values of x will work? Perhaps you should try those. And always remember that there are two square roots of any positive number!

Stephen La Rocque.

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