Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Wiliam, a parent:

A box contains one 2 inch rod, one 3 inch rod, one 4 inch, and one 5 inch rod.
What is the maximum number of different triangles that can be made using these rods as sides?


It takes three sides to form a triangle so one at a time you can select a side to eliminate and try to make a triangle from the remaining three sides. Thus there are four possible triangles. List the four possible choices of three sides. Can you form a triangle from each one? Remember that the sum of the lengths of any two sides of a triangle must be larger than the length of the third side.


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