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Lesson plan

Pythagorean Theorem Word Problems Lesson Plan


At this point, students have already learned about the pythagorean theorem and how to find missing side lengths in a right triangle. In this lesson, we’ll introduce different real-world scenarios and how to solve those problems using the pythagorean theorem. You can expect this lesson to take one `45`-minute class period.

Grade 8
Triangle Theorems
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Students will be able to apply the pythagorean theorem to real-world scenarios to find the missing side length in a right triangle.


  • Teacher slideshow
  • Partner Activity
  • Online practice

How to Teach Pythagorean Theorem Word Problems

Warm up review

Students already know how to solve numerical problems using the pythagorean theorem so start them with the warm up on slide `1`. 

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Give students a few minutes to answer the problems on their own before checking their answers with a partner. This warm up helps students review both finding a missing hypotenuse and finding a missing leg length. When students are finished, you can ask for volunteers to solve each problem on the board, explaining to the class as they go.

Introducing Pythagorean Theorem Word Problems

I find that the biggest struggle my students face when transitioning onto word problems is visualizing what the problem is and what it is asking for. So here’s what I do for the Pythagorean Theorem. I have students pair up. Depending on your specific group of students you may have them choose their own partners or you may assign partners. I give each student a copy of the partner activity.

I tell students to read the scenario, then work together to answer the questions! And I don’t give much more instruction than that! I am always impressed with the way students are able to work together to decode the problem and draw a picture of what it would look like.


When it seems like students are finished, have a group come to the front of the room to share how they were able to solve the problem. If any groups drew their picture other ways, allow them to come up and explain too. It is interesting to see the similarities and differences between the way each student draws their picture, but how they are able to answer the same question. Below are some examples of types of drawings you may see.

There is an answer key included in the partner activity that can help as you go over the answers to questions with the class.

Pythagorean Theorem Word Problem Practice

Now it’s time for students to practice on their own! Try doing a “Live” practice where students will all start the ByteLearn assignment at the same time. Hand out whiteboards or scratch paper and encourage students to draw pictures! Students will work on the same problems, in the same order, so it will be easy for you to see who you might be struggling and need more support. 

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Pythagorean Theorem Word Problem Practice
Problem 1 of 4
<p>Maggie makes a diagonal path through her rectangular garden. The path splits the garden into two right triangles. The legs of the triangles are `9` feet and `12` feet. </p><p>What is the length of the path?</p>

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