Math Monday: Math-Play With Your Food
MARCH 15, 2010

by George Hart



Making things with your food is an age-old pastime. Here are two mathematical constructions made from crackers.
crackers-5-12-13
This illustrates the Pythagorean Theorem for a 5-12-13 right triangle. The number of crackers in the two small squares (25+144) equals the number of crackers in the square on the hypotenuse (169).
crackers-3-4-5
With triangular crackers, this 3-4-5 right triangle illustrates a more general idea. The number of crackers in the two small triangles (9+16) equals the number of crackers in the large triangle (25). Here is an introduction to the Pythagorean Theorem with two simple proofs, and here is a detailed explanation of why this generalization works.


This article first appeared on Make: Online, March 15, 2010.

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