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John Aldrich1

The Pythagorean Theorem is a mathematical relation attributed to the ancient Greek mathematician Pythagoras of Samos (569 BC-475 BC). Algebraically it is stated as a2 + b2 = c2. Geometrically it is stated as the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

I learned of the Pythagorean Theorem in high school 45 years ago, and the algebra teacher at Woodstock Academy taught it in a very effective way. He used humor in his lesson plan and everyone who heard the story remembers the theorem to this day.

Mr. Wilde related the following story:

A Native American chief has three wives, and all three were pregnant at the same time, and lived in separate teepees. The squaw in the first teepee lies on an antelope hide. The squaw in the second teepee lies on a buffalo hide, and the squaw in the third teepee lies on a hippopotamus hide. The squaw on the antelope hide had a baby boy. The squaw on the buffalo hide had a baby girl, and the squaw on the hippopotamus hide delivered twins, a baby boy and a baby girl.

This proves that the squaw on the hippopotamus is equal to the sum of the squaws on the other two hides.

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