Inscribe Circles in Triangles using Geometric Construction


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Inscribe circles in triangles using geometric construction, with PC geometry software such as Dr Geo on Linux. This slide show presents some innovative constructions. The slide show and included instructions are public domain. Basic use of compass and straightedge is advised as a prerequisite topic.

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Inscribe Circles in Triangles using Geometric Construction

  1. 1. Inscribe Circles in Triangles Using Geometric Construction A slide show of experiments with interactive geometry software.
  2. 3. Definition of Inscribed Figure In geometry, an inscribed planar shape or solid is one that is enclosed by and "fits snugly" inside another geometric shape or solid. Specifically, at all points where figures meet, their edges must lie tangent. There must be no object similar to the inscribed object but larger and also enclosed by the outer figure. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  3. 4. <ul><li>Prerequisites </li></ul><ul><li>It will be helpful if you are already familiar with: </li></ul><ul><li>Pythagoras’ theory of right angled triangles. </li></ul><ul><li>Compass and straight edge construction. </li></ul><ul><li>Inscribing a circle in a triangle. </li></ul><ul><li>If not, look them up after the slide show. </li></ul><ul><li>Goal </li></ul><ul><li>This presentation encourages you to take a fresh look at familiar shapes, to ask questions, to do experiments with geometry and mathematics, and to prove your results. </li></ul>
  4. 5. Motivation Interesting constructions can be formed from circles inscribed in an isosceles right triangles, as noted in reference [1]. What other shapes that are worth investigating? An isosceles right triangle is half of a square. What interesting constructions can we create from a circle inscribed in a half of an equilateral triangle? Let's experiment, using interactive geometry software to draw the constructions. The next slide compares an isosceles and half of an equilateral triangle, each with inscribed circles. [1] Inscribe Semicircle in Square
  5. 7. A Right Angled Triangle When an equilateral triangle is divided in two along its height, the triangle formed has angles of 30, 60 and 90 degrees. It is a right angled triangle, to which Pythagoras’ theory applies. This theory is represented in the next slide using interactive geometry software.
  6. 8. Interactive Geometry Software Interactive geometry software provides compass and straightedge construction, and additional tools such as the midpoint of a line, and parallel or perpendicular lines. The free Dr Geo software (by OFSET) was used for this slide show. You can use any interactive geometry software, or simply a pair of compasses and a ruler. The next slide is representation of Pythagoras’ theory, created using Dr Geo. The constructed triangle is half of an equilateral triangle. It is a right angled triangle. The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.
  7. 10. Experiment Let's experiment, using interactive geometry software to draw the geometric constructions. Use a the triangle which is half of an equilateral triangle. The ratio of its height to its base is the square root of three, by Pythagoras’ theorem. A set of different sized triangles can be drawn by using the side of one triangle as the hypotenuse of the next. Experiment with a variety of triangles, lines and circles. Look for patterns, symmetry and geometric coincidences, for example an unexpected intersection, tangent or square. The next slide shows some brainstorming with geometry.
  8. 12. Recursion A set of triangles of decreasing size can be drawn by using the side of one triangle as the hypotenuse of the next. The triangles are rotated in steps of 30 degrees, becoming smaller in each turn. Inscribe a circle in each triangle. Rotate the triangle eight times to produce nine circles. Calculate The ratio of side lengths between adjacent triangles. The ratio of diameters between one circle and the next. The ratio of areas between one circle and the next. The area of the ninth circle relative to the first circle. Suggest a useful application of this series of circles.
  9. 14. Recursion The triangles are rotated in steps of 30 degrees, becoming smaller on each turn. The yellow and red colouring highlights similarities over two turns, which is 60 degrees. Three triangles form the partial boundary of a square. The circle in the second triangle is in the centre of the square. The second square is rotated 60 degrees and its side is a fraction of the length of the side of the first square. What fraction? An intermediate square at 30 degrees has been omitted from the drawing. Can you see it?
  10. 16. Rotational Symmetry Take the second triangle from the previous slide, and extend it to the base of the square to form an equilateral triangle. Inscribe three circles in the triangle. This construction is unchanged by a 120 degree rotation about its centre. It is evident that: Three equal circles can be inscribed in an equilateral triangle, and each circle is in the centre of a square of which a side of the triangle is a side of the square. Exercise Add more circles to the diagram. Where is the centre of each circle you added? What points does it go through? Why? Prove it!
  11. 18. An Abstraction of Electricity This is an abstract representation of three-phase electricity. Electricity is useful, powerful and potentially dangerous. You might be surprised that mathematics is critical for its study. Compass and straightedge can be used to draw the “Y” and “Delta” of three-phase electricity. The “Y” shape is shown as blue lines and the “Delta” as a red triangle. Can you find a hexagon in the diagram? What is the ratio of lengths of the red and blue lines? How does the Pythagorean Theorem (slide 9) relate to this representation of three phase electricity (slide 19)? The blue “Y” also represents the three cube roots of 1, in the complex plane. (Look up Argand Diagram & Roots of Unity.)
  12. 20. Credits This slide show and included geometric constructions are in the public domain. Constructions drawn using Dr. Geo open source geometry software on Linux. Slideshow and constructions by Colin McAllister, blogging at: