Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from MARK, a student:

A truck starts at point A and drives South 3 miles. Then it turns left at Point B and drives east four miles to point C. How many miles is the truck at point C from point A if it were to drive directly from point A to Point C.My book says the answer is 5 miles. How did they come up with the answer?

Try drawing an accurate picture. You will note that the three distances in the problems are the sides of a right triangle. Use Pythagoras' theorem.

(On a scale like this we can treat the earth as flat; if the distances were in thousands of miles we would need spherical trigonometry to get the answer!)

Good Hunting!

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