<< Chapter < Page  Chapter >> Page > 
We used the formula $A=L\xb7W$ to find the area of a rectangle with length L and width W . A square is a rectangle in which the length and width are equal. If we let s be the length of a side of a square, the area of the square is ${s}^{2}$ .
The formula $A={s}^{2}$ gives us the area of a square if we know the length of a side. What if we want to find the length of a side for a given area? Then we need to solve the equation for s .
$\begin{array}{cccc}& & & \phantom{\rule{0.5em}{0ex}}A={s}^{2}\hfill \\ \text{Take the square root of both sides.}\hfill & & & \sqrt{A}=\sqrt{{s}^{2}}\hfill \\ \text{Simplify.}\hfill & & & \sqrt{A}=s\hfill \end{array}$
We can use the formula $s=\sqrt{A}$ to find the length of a side of a square for a given area.
We will show an example of this in the next example.
Mike and Lychelle want to make a square patio. They have enough concrete to pave an area of 200 square feet. Use the formula $s=\sqrt{A}$ to find the length of each side of the patio. Round your answer to the nearest tenth of a foot.
Step 1. Read the problem. Draw a figure and
label it with the given information. 

A = 200 square feet  
Step 2. Identify what you are looking for.  The length of a side of the square patio. 
Step 3. Name what you are looking for by
choosing a variable to represent it. 
Let s = the length of a side. 
Step 4. Translate into an equation by writing the
appropriate formula or model for the situation. Substitute the given information. 

Step 5. Solve the equation using good algebra
techniques. Round to one decimal place. 

Step 6. Check the answer in the problem and
make sure it makes sense. 

This is close enough because we rounded the
square root. Is a patio with side 14.1 feet reasonable? Yes. 

Step 7. Answer the question with a complete
sentence. 
Each side of the patio should be 14.1 feet. 
Katie wants to plant a square lawn in her front yard. She has enough sod to cover an area of 370 square feet. Use the formula $s=\sqrt{A}$ to find the length of each side of her lawn. Round your answer to the nearest tenth of a foot.
$19.2\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{yards}$
Sergio wants to make a square mosaic as an inlay for a table he is building. He has enough tile to cover an area of 2704 square centimeters. Use the formula $s=\sqrt{A}$ to find the length of each side of his mosaic. Round your answer to the nearest tenth of a foot.
$52.0\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{cm}$
Another application of square roots has to do with gravity.
On Earth, if an object is dropped from a height of $h$ feet, the time in seconds it will take to reach the ground is found by using the formula,
For example, if an object is dropped from a height of 64 feet, we can find the time it takes to reach the ground by substituting $h=64$ into the formula.
Take the square root of 64.  
Simplify the fraction. 
It would take 2 seconds for an object dropped from a height of 64 feet to reach the ground.
Christy dropped her sunglasses from a bridge 400 feet above a river. Use the formula $t=\frac{\sqrt{h}}{4}$ to find how many seconds it took for the sunglasses to reach the river.
Step 1. Read the problem.  
Step 2. Identify what you are looking for.  The time it takes for the sunglasses to reach
the river. 
Step 3. Name what you are looking for by
choosing a variable to represent it. 
Let t = time. 
Step 4. Translate into an equation by writing the
appropriate formula or model for the situation. Substitute in the given information. 

Step 5. Solve the equation using good algebra
techniques. 

Step 6. Check the answer in the problem and
make sure it makes sense. 

$5=5\u2713\phantom{\rule{4.5em}{0ex}}$  
Does 5 seconds seem reasonable?
Yes. 

Step 7. Answer the question with a complete
sentence. 
It will take 5 seconds for the sunglasses to hit
the water. 
Notification Switch
Would you like to follow the 'Elementary algebra' conversation and receive update notifications?