Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Ruben, a student:

Please assist me with the following problem: A rectangle has a diagonal that is 3.6 feet longer than the length and 7.1 feet longer than the width. What are the dimensions of the rectangle? Thanks

Hi Ruben,

When you draw a diagonal in a rectangle you form two right angled triangles and right angled triangles always cause me to ask if there is a way to use the theorem of Pythagoras. If the diagonal (hypotenuse of the right triangle) is h feet long then the length is 3.6 feet shorter than h so the length of the rectangle is h - 3.6 feet. What is the width of the rectangle? Use the theorem of Pythagoras to connect the lengths of the three sides of the triangle. Solve for h.


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