Geometry has so many options to make math engaging! Middle school math can get mundane. It can be harder to keep students interested in the many theorems and formulas that must be learned. Students need to feel connected and intrigued by the new mathematical ideas they are learning.
A great way to do this is to make the concepts relatable and gamified. Hype up middle school students with these stimulating Pythagorean Theorem activities!
1. Solve Real-World Problems
Provide students with relatable problems from the real world that can be solved by using the Pythagorean Theorem. Students will enjoy this real-world context and be much more excited to solve the problem. You can make it a team activity or individual. Check this video for some real-world problems that can be solved with the Pythagorean Theorem.
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2. Let Students Become Pythagoras Holmes: Math Mystery-Solver
Create a mystery in the classroom that accesses the skills that lead up to the Pythagorean Theorem such as parts of a right triangle, squares, basic algebraic equations, etc. The final clue could be solved using the Pythagorean Theorem. Maybe let that clue lead to some fun information like a special treat or activity you will be letting students experience in class that day.
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3. Pictures or it Didn't Happen: Prove it Project!
Let students learn how to prove that Pythagoras was right by showing them the evidence. After seeing the evidence that the Theorem is correct, students can create their own proof with cutouts. If you have the resources, students could even create their own water demonstrations!
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4. The Pythagorean Great Escape
In keeping with interactive resources, you can create digital math escape rooms or in-class math escape rooms surrounding problems that need the Pythagorean Theorem to solve. Students will enjoy this in class or in digital form. Get ready for a breakout escape!
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5. Pythagorean Mystery Pictures
8th Grade students can solve Pythagorean Theorem problems to find a mystery picture. You can make digital math activities for students to find different mystery pictures, or you can break out the colored pencils to map out the mystery pictures without the online tools.
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6. Become Pythoagrean Picasso
Use the Pythagorean Theorem to get students to create right triangles by solving for the hypotenuse and then placing the different-sized triangles in a specific way so as to create artistic pieces. Middle schoolers will love this hands-on Pythagorean Classroom Activity that incorporates artistic expression using a figure with squares and triangles! Right-triangle cubism would really be an exciting middle school art project!
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7. Break out the Board Game
Forget traditional worksheets full of questions to practice, use this awesome Pythagorean Theorem Board game to get students practicing. The author has a printable game board and a bunch of questions to spur the game onward. You can learn how to implement it and find the resources for the board game here.
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8. Pythagorean Origami
You can use this origami-style activity to fold an origami paper square. Students will enjoy this simple, original idea more than traditional worksheets, and it is still a great way to practice. In the end, they will even have a Pythagorean Theorem proof figure to share with others!
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9. Toy Zipliners
While students may not be able to create their own zipline, you can still make hands-on student projects of the Pythagorean Theorem using the real-life, relateable example of zip lines. All you need to do is create toy zip lines.
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10. Hold a Construction Project
Use the Theorem in everyday life by having students use it to design and then create a construction project. Teach students how the Pythagorean Theorem is used in roofing and other areas of construction, then let teams get together to use it to design and construct small buildings. To increase the interest, add in some choice: they can create replicas or their own designs! Students can share their completed designs on a project day exhibition.
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11. Create and Navigate a Sailboat
Students can create a sailboat, and then solve navigation problems with a sailboat obstacle course using the Pythagorean Theorem. Students will have a blast with this cool concept and realistic application.
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12. Get Moving!
Students love an opportunity to move around in math class. A simple way to spice it up is to do a Pythagorean Theorem scavenger hunt around the room or even the school! To get an idea on how to pull off this activity you can check out one that brings in video game characters for that added touch of student interest here!
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13. Have a Treasure Hunt!
You can create your own treasure hunt by having math clues around the room that partners must solve using the Theorem to solve and find a treasure box in the classroom (or somewhere in the school) containing some fun math class treats or treasures. You can also use an awesome ready activity.
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14. Bring out the Ballers!
In 8th math class, you may have students who are huge football fans, so be sure to employ this perfect real-world example of the Pythagorean Theorem in action. You can engage students in "winning" a football game or other related math activities with a football theme using the Theorem. Check out this cool video showing the math of American football here.
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15. Pythagoras, Lego my Theorem!
Break out the Legos, and let students create models proving the Pythagorean Theorem. You are never too old for Lego building. If you are missing Legos or need a virtual idea for online learners, check out the many virtual manipulatives available in this post. Students could create 2D and even 3D models for differentiation! Check out an idea for using Lego blocks here.
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16. Video Games on Paper? How in the Pythagoras Can we do That!?
Want to exchange a boring activity for an engaging activity? Forget the awful math worksheets with a list of practice problems, instead, get creative by making the practice a video game paper worksheet like the cool knock-off of popular classic video game characters found here!
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17. Massive Models
Have students use sidewalk chalk and yardsticks to bring math to the outdoors! Students can work in groups to measure and create a large-scale right triangle, then switch with other groups to use the Pythagorean Theorem to solve each other's creations! If you do not have large enough outdoor areas, you could do the same thing using painter's tape on the hallway walls or floors! You can view a sidewalk chalk Pythagorean Theorem lesson here.
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18. Be Interactive in the Mundane Practice!
You can make mundane practice more interactive by either creating Pythagorean Theorem tiles of your own or buying tile sets here. This small interactive component will make the daily lesson a much more engaging lesson!
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19. Break the Code!
Students will love this code activity. After all, everyone loves a secret, especially teens! Let the kids break the code and learn the secrets of the awesome code-breaker game found here. Get creative and come up with some relatable codes of your own!
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20. Pythagorean Math Centers
You can use task cards, Legos, fun and challenging worksheets, and many other activities from this list to make math centers that practice the Pythagorean Theorem and related concepts. Check out a math stack worksheet that is just the right amount of fun and challenging to put in the math center rotation here.
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