Pythagorean Rules: Pythagorean Theorem Math Game

Pythagorean Rules

“Like that activity is short and can be done without taking the whole class period. Good lesson for differentiation.” – Colleen S.

“Used this for a station activity. Very easy for my 8th graders to do by themselves with little help from me!” – Jennifer M.

“Engaging activity. The students really enjoyed playing.” – Nancy F.

The Pythagorean Rules Game gives kids the opportunity to practice solving the Pythagorean equation, which states that the square of the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other sides.

You could use this as an exploratory activity by having students roll their dies and calculate the measurement of the hypotenuse of each right triangle by using a ruler. Once they have played a number of games have them organize their summary data in a chart. You could list the measurements of side A, side B, and side C (hypotenuse) in the chart. Have the students speculate about the patterns shown by these measurements. Put up all their conjectures before showing them the equation for the Pythagorean Theorem. A visual proof would be a great extension of the game as well.

The luck of the toss will determine if one student wins over another since it’s the length of the hypotenuse that determines the winner.

In addition to testing students’ understanding of the Pythagorean Theorem, this game also tests their precision with measurement. They need to measure the hypotenuse to determine its length and then categorize it before determining what score is appropriate. Let the opponents check each others work to ensure that no one is trying to bend the rules of the game!

If you are going to use this game as an introduction to your teaching of the Pythagorean Theorem, it’s a good idea to compare the measured answers to the ones computed by using the actual theorem. Which method will bring a more accurate answer and why?

As mentioned in the adaptation suggestions, you could also use this as a springboard for discussing Pythagorean triples, such as 3, 4, and 5.

8.G Understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem.
Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to determine unknown side lengths in right triangles in real-world and mathematical problems in two and three dimensions.
Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to find the distance between two points in a coordinate system.

Common Core Mathematical Practices

6. Attend to precision.


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