Math Stories from this past week and forward

Recently, my wife and I have been building a sunroom addition on the back of our house. This past weekend I was finishing up the siding and because of the angle of my roof I had to cut the end of the siding on an angle.  I knew the length of what I needed of the siding, however,  it had to be cut just right because the last foot or so needed to be angled due to the slope of the roof.  I didn’t have the proper skills of a construction guy, so I thought about how I could determine the proper slope “cut” so that the siding would fit behind the j-channel.  As a math teacher, I told my wife we could use the Pythagorean Theory to help determine the length of the cut from the top of the siding to the end. So I figured it out as this.  My piece of siding was 12 feet long and the piece of siding would fit perfectly up until 8 feet 8 inches. At this point the slope came into play for the remaining 14 inches. So I used the Pythagorean theory and set my problem up as such:

12″ squared + 14″ squared = the length of my slope squared.

144 + 196= slope squared

340= slope squared

Slope had to be 18 1/3 ” long.
I am so proud to say that the first thing I tell my friends when they come over to see the final project is that I successfully completed the siding myself, without the help of my neighbor who owns his own remodeling company!!!

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2 Responses to “Math Stories from this past week and forward”

  1. Russ gavalis Says:

    Your math story reminded me of another that I could use. When my house was being built the plumber explained why the smaller pipes are used upstairs and bigger ones as you go toward the sewer. It was interesting to see that you didn’t need to add the size of the pipes together to get a large enough pipe because a small difference in the diameter made a larger difference in the volume that a pipe could handle.

  2. Shawn,

    Were you successful with this solution? I feel like you left us hanging!! ;-)I hope you will share this with your students – be sure to include a photo in your lesson to really drive home the point!

    Judy

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