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Study Guide

A long time ago, in ancient Greece, a brilliant guy named Pythagoras discovered something pretty amazing and useful.

In a * right triangle, *the

**Legs**(a and b): the sides of the triangle adjacent to the right angle. They don't need to be the same length in order for this theorem to work.**Hypotenuse**(c): the side of the triangle opposite the right angle which, conveniently, is always the longest side.

So, let's break this down. If you **square each side of the triangle**, the sum of the areas of the two legs squared is equal to the hypotenuse squared.

Here you can see it with numbers:

The area of the two smaller squares is (3 × 3 = 9 cm^{2}) and (4 × 4 = 16 cm^{2}).

The area of the larger square is equal to (5 × 5 = 25 cm^{2}).

If you add the two smaller areas together, you get the area of the square of the hypotenuse (9 + 16 = 25 cm^{2}).

*Look Out**: Do not attempt this with obtuse or acute triangles. This awesome theorem only works for right triangles.*

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