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The study of geometry can be broken into two broad types: plane geometry, which deals with only two

dimensions, and and solid geometry which allows all three. The world around us is obviously threedimensional, having width, depth and height, Solid geometry deals with objects in that space such as

cubes and spheres.

Plane geometry deals in objects that are flat, such as triangles and lines, that can be drawn on a flat piece

of paper.

The Plane

In plane geometry, all the shapes exist in a flat plane. A plane can be thought of an a flat sheet with no

thickness, and which goes on for ever in both directions. It is absolutely flat and infinitely large, which

makes it hard to draw. In the figure above, the yellow area is meant to represent a plane. In the figure, it

has edges, but actually, a plane goes on for ever in both directions.

Objects which lie in the same plane are said to be 'coplanar'. See Defintion of coplanar.

Origins

Plane geometry, and much of solid geometry also, was first laid out by the Greeks some 2000 years

ago. Euclid in particular made great contributions to the field with his book "Elements" which was the first

deep, methodical treatise on the subject. In particular, he built a layer-by-layer sequence of logical steps,

proving beyond doubt that each step followed logically from those before.

Geometry is really about two things:

1. The objects and their properties. Analysis of things such as points, lines, triangles.

2. Proofs. A methodology for proving that the claims made about objects are really true.

Fun reading

Clearly, our world is three dimensional. But in the fictional story Flatland by Edwin Abbott, he speculates

what living in a two-dimensional world (a plane) would be like. It's a fun diversion from the strict factual

logic of mathematics. Surprisingly for a science fiction story, it was written in 1884, and his writing style is

quaintly Victorian as a result. An excerpt from Chapter 1:

..Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and

other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but

without the power of rising above or sinking below it, very much like shadows ...

Read it online at "Flatland - A romance of many dimensions" by Edwin A. Abbott, a Square,1884;

Definition: A shape, formed by two lines or rays diverging from a common point (the vertex).

Try this Adjust the angle below by dragging the orange dot.

Attributes

Vertex

The vertex is the common point at which the two lines or rays are joined. Point B is the figure

above is the vertex of the angle ABC.

Legs

The legs (sides) of an angle are the two lines that make it up. In the figure above, the line

segments AB and BC are the legs of the angleABC.

Interior

The interior of an angle is the space in the 'jaws' of the angle extending out to infinity.

See Interior of an Angle

Exterio

r

All the space on the plane that is not the interior. See Interior of an Angle

Identifying an angle

An angle can be identified in two ways.

1. Like this: ABC

The angle symbol, followed by three points that define the angle, with the middle letter being the

vertex, and the other two on the legs. So in the figure above the angle would be ABC or CBA.

So long as the vertex is the middle letter, the order is not important. As a shorthand we can use

the 'angle' symbol. For example 'ABC' would be read as 'the angle ABC'.

2. Or like this: B

Just by the vertex, so long as it is not ambiguous. So in the figure above the angle could also be

called simply 'B'

Measure of an angle

The size of an angle is measured in degrees (see Angle Measures). When we say 'the angle ABC' we

mean the actual angle object. If we want to talk about the size, or measure, of the angle in degrees, we

should say 'the measure of the angle ABC' - often written mABC.

However, many times we will see 'ABC=34'. Strictly speaking this is an error. It should say

'mABC=34'

Types of angle

Altogether, there are six types of angle as listed below. Click on an image for a full description of that type

and a corresponding interactive applet.

Acute angle

Less than 90

Right angle

Exactly 90

Obtuse angle

Between 90 and 180

Straight angle

Exactly 180

Reflex angle

Between 180 and

360

Full angle

Exactly 360

In Trigonometry

When used in trigonometry, angles have some extra properties: They can have a measure greater than

360, can be positive and negative, and are positioned on a coordinate grid with x and y axes. They are

usually measured in radians instead ofdegrees. For more on this see Angle definition and properties

(trigonometry).

Angle construction

In the Constructions chapter, there are animated demonstrations of variousconstructions of angles using

only a compass and straightedge.

Copying an angle

Constructing a 30 angle

Constructing a 45 angle

Constructing a 60 angle

o

Definition: A shape, formed by two lines or rays diverging from a common point (the

vertex).

Try this Adjust the angle below by dragging the orange dot.

a)

b)

c)

d)

e)

f)

A method for finding the area of any polygon when

the coordinates of itsvertices are known.

(See also: Computer algorithm for finding the area of any

polygon.)

First, number the vertices in order, going either clockwise or

counter-clockwise, starting at any vertex.

coordinate of the nth vertex etc. Notice that the in the last

term, the expression wraps around back to the first vertex

again.

Try it here

Adjust the quadrilateral ABCD by dragging any vertex. The

area is calculated using this method as you drag. A detailed

explanation follows the diagram.

The above diagram shows how to do this manually.

1. Make a table with the x,y coordinates of each

vertex. Start at any vertex and go around the

polygon in either direction. Add the starting vertex

again at the end. You should get a table that looks

like the leftmost gray box in the figure above.

2. Combine the first two rows by:

1. Multiplying the first row x by the second row

y. (red)

2. Multiplying the first row y by the second row

x (blue)

3. Subtract the second product form the first.

3. Repeat this for rows 2 and 3, then rows 3 and 4 and

so on.

4. Add these results, make it positive if required, and

divide by two.

Area calculator

See Polygon area calculator for a pre-programmed

calculator that does the arithmetic for you. Just enter the

coordinates.

Limitations

for self-intersecting polygons, where one side crosses over

another, as shown on the right. It will work correctly however

for triangles, regular andirregular

polygons, convex or concave polygons.

Things to try

In the above diagram, press 'reset' and 'hide details', then

try the following:

1. Drag the vertices of the polygon to create a new

shape. (Do not create a 'crossed' polygon, this

method does not work on those.)

2. Calculate the area using this method.

3. Click on 'show details' to check your answer.

quadrilateral where all interior angles are 90, and whose location on the coordinate

plane is deteample

The example below assumes you know how to calculate the distance between two points, as described

in Distance between Two Points. In the figure above, click 'reset' and 'show diagonals'

The height of the rectangle is the distance between the points A and B. (Using C,D will produce

the same result). Using the formula for the distance between two points, this is

Calculator

The width is the distance between the points B and C. (Using A,D will produce the same result).

Using the formula for the distance between two points, this is

The length of a diagonals is the distance between B and D. (Using A,C will produce the same

result). Using the formula for the distance between two points, this is

A 4-sided regular polygon with all sides equal, all

interior angles 90 and whose location on

the coordinate plane is determined by

the coordinatesof the four vertices (corners).

how to calculate the distance between

two points, as described in Distance

between Two Points. In the figure above, Try this Drag any vertex of the square below. It will remain a

click 'reset', 'rotated' and 'show diagonals' square and its dimensions calculated from its coordinates. You

can also drag the origin point at (0,0), or drag the square itself.

The side length of the square is In coordinate geometry, a square is similar to an ordinary

the distance between any two

square (See Square definition ) with the addition that its

adjacentvertices. Let's pick B and position on the coordinate plane is known. Each of the four

C. Using the formula for the

vertices (corners) have known coordinates. From these

distance between two points:

coordinates, various properties such as width, height etc can be

found.

It has all the same properties as a familiar square, such as:

distance between any pair of

opposite vertices. In a square,

the diagonal is also the length of

a side times the square root of

two:

Calculator

See Square definition for more.

\

A quadrilateral that has one pair of parallel sides,

and where the vertices have known coordinates.

Try this Drag any vertex of the trapezoid below. It will remain a

trapezoid. You can also drag the origin point at (0,0).

As in plane geometry, a trapezoid is a quadrilateral with one

pair of parallel sides. (See Trapezoid definition). In coordinate

geometry, each of the four vertices (corners) also have

known coordinates.

Altitude of a trapezoid

In the figure above, click on 'reset' then 'show altitude'. The

altitude is the perpendicular distance between the two bases

described in Distance from a point to a line. For the point, we

use any vertex, and for the line we use the opposite base. In

the figure above we have used the distance from point B to the

opposite base AD.

This method will work even if the trapezoid is rotated on the

plane, but if the sides of the trapezoid are parallel to the x and y

axes, then the calculations can be a little easier. The altitude is

then the difference in y-coordinates of any point on each base,

for example A and B.

A quadrilateral with both pairs of opposite sides parallel and congruent, and whose location

on the coordinate plane is determined by thecoordinates of the four vertices (corners).

Try this Drag any vertex of the parallelogram below. It will remain a parallelogram and its dimensions

calculated from its coordinates. You can also drag the origin point at (0,0).

In coordinate geometry, a parallelogram is similar to an ordinary parallelogram (Seeparallelogram

definition ) with the addition that its position on the coordinate plane is known. Each of the four vertices

(corners) have known coordinates. From these coordinates, various properties such as its altitude can be

found.

It has all the same properties as a familiar parallelogram:

Dimensions of a parallelogram

The dimensions of the parallelogram are found by calculating the distance between various corner points.

Recall that we can find the distance between any two points if we know their coordinates. (See Distance

between Two Points ) So in the figure above:

The height of the parallelogram is the distance between A and B (or C,D).

The length of a diagonals is the distance between opposite corners, say B and D (or A,C since

the diagonals are congruent).

This method will work even if the parallelogram is rotated on the plane, as in the figure above. But if the

sides of the parallelogram are parallel to the x and y axes, then the calculations can be a little easier.

In the above figure uncheck the "rotated" box to create this condition and note that:

The height is the difference in y-coordinates of any top and bottom point - for example A and B.

The width is the difference in x-coordinates of any left and right point - for example B and D

Example

The example below assumes you know how to calculate the distance between two points, as described

in Distance between Two Points. In the figure above, click 'reset' and 'show diagonals'

The height of the parallelogram is the distance between the points A and B. (Using C,D will

produce the same result). Using the formula for the distance between two points, this

is

The width is the distance between the points B and C. (Using A,D will produce the same result).

Using the formula for the distance between two points, this is

The length of a diagonals is the distance between B and D. (Using A,C will produce the same

result). Using the formula for the distance between two points, this is

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