THE WIZARD OF OZ
The Wizard of Oz
Scarecrow’s Speech on Pythagorean Theorem
The Pythagorean theorem is one of the earliest theorems known to ancient civilization. The well-known theorem is named after the Greek mathematician and philosopher, Pythagoras. In the Wizard of Oz, after the Scarecrow gets a brain, he states the Pythagorean theorem. However, he mistakenly says it applies to an isosceles triangle when it applies to a right triangle. He not only says the wrong triangle, he also gets the equation wrong. The Scarecrow says, “The sum of the square root of two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the third side.” The correct equation for the Pythagorean theorem is, “The sum of the squares of the two legs of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.” The isosceles triangle is a triangle with at least two equal sides; it also has two equal angles. The Pythagorean theorem is a statement about triangles containing a right angle. A right triangle is a triangle with a ninety-degree angle. With the Pythagorean theorem, you take a triangle with a right angle and make a square on each of the three sides; the biggest square has the exact same area as the two other squares put together. A square root of a number is a value that can be multiplied by itself to give the original number. Here is an example of a square root; the square root of nine is three because when three is multiplied by itself you get nine. To square a number, you just THE WIZARD OF OZ
multiply it by itself, as in the Pythagorean theorem. You can also square negative numbers, when you square a negative number you get a positive answer.
Although the Scarecrow got a brain from the wizard, he didn’t necessarily get the knowledge of having a brain. He messed up the Pythagorean theorem multiple times. He said that it had to do with square roots and isosceles triangles when the correct equation has to do with right...
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