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Δ A B C is similar to Δ X Y Z . The lengths of two sides of each triangle are given in the figure.

The above image shows two similar triangles. The smaller triangle is labeled A B C. The length of two sides is given for the smaller triangle A B C. The length from A to B is 17. The length from B to C is a. The length from C to D is 15. The larger triangle is labeled X Y Z. The length is given for two sides. The length from X to Y is 25.5. The length from Y to Z is 12. The length from Z to X is y.

Find the length of side a .

8

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Δ A B C is similar to Δ X Y Z . The lengths of two sides of each triangle are given in the figure.

Find the length of side y .

22.5

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The next example shows how similar triangles are used with maps.

On a map, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles form a triangle whose sides are shown in the figure below. If the actual distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is 270 miles find the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The above image shows two similar triangles and how they are used with maps. The smaller triangle on the left shows San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles on the three points. San Francisco to Los Angeles is 1.3 inches. Los Angeles to Las Vegas is 1 inch. Las Vegas to San Francisco is 2.1 inches. The second larger triangle shows the same points. The distance from San Francisco to Los Angeles is x. The distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is 270 miles. The distance from Las Vegas to San Francisco is not noted.

Solution

Read the problem. Draw the figures and label with the given information. The figures are shown above.
Identify what we are looking for. The actual distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Name the variables. Let x = distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Translate into an equation. Since the triangles
are similar, the corresponding sides are
proportional. We'll make the numerators
"miles" and the denominators "inches."
.
Solve the equation. .
.
Check.
On the map, the distance from Los Angeles to
San Francisco is more than the distance from
Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Since 351 is more
than 270 the answer makes sense.
.
Answer the question. The distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco is 351 miles.

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On the map, Seattle, Portland, and Boise form a triangle whose sides are shown in the figure below. If the actual distance from Seattle to Boise is 400 miles, find the distance from Seattle to Portland.

The above image is a triangle with one side labeled “Seattle, 4.5 inches”. The other side is labeled “Portland 3.5 inches”. The third side is labeled 1.5 inches. The vertex is labeled “Boise.”

150 miles

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Using the map above, find the distance from Portland to Boise.

350 miles

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We can use similar figures    to find heights that we cannot directly measure.

Tyler is 6 feet tall. Late one afternoon, his shadow was 8 feet long. At the same time, the shadow of a tree was 24 feet long. Find the height of the tree.

Solution

Read the problem and draw a figure. .
We are looking for h , the height of the tree.
We will use similar triangles to write an equation.
The small triangle is similar to the large triangle. .
Solve the proportion. .
Simplify. .
Check.
Tyler's height is less than his shadow's length so it makes
sense that the tree's height is less than the length of its shadow.
.

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A telephone pole casts a shadow that is 50 feet long. Nearby, an 8 foot tall traffic sign casts a shadow that is 10 feet long. How tall is the telephone pole?

40 feet

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A pine tree casts a shadow of 80 feet next to a 30-foot tall building which casts a 40 feet shadow. How tall is the pine tree?

60 feet

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Key concepts

  • Property of Similar Triangles
    • If Δ A B C is similar to Δ X Y Z , then their corresponding angle measures are equal and their corresponding sides are in the same ratio.
  • Problem Solving Strategy for Geometry Applications
    1. Read the problem and make sure all the words and ideas are understood. Draw the figure and label it with the given information.
    2. Identify what we are looking for.
    3. Name what we are looking for by choosing a variable to represent it.
    4. Translate into an equation by writing the appropriate formula or model for the situation. Substitute in the given information.
    5. Solve the equation using good algebra techniques.
    6. Check the answer in the problem and make sure it makes sense.
    7. Answer the question with a complete sentence.

Questions & Answers

integer greater than 2 and less than 12
Emily Reply
2 < x < 12
Felix
I'm guessing you are doing inequalities...
Felix
Actually, translating words into algebraic expressions / equations...
Felix
He charges $125 per job. His monthly expenses are $1,600. How many jobs must he work in order to make a profit of at least $2,400?
Alicia Reply
at least 20
Ayla
what are the steps?
Alicia
6.4 jobs
Grahame
32
Grahame
1600+2400= total amount with expenses. 4000/125= number of jobs needed to make that min profit of 2400. answer is 32
Orlando
He must work 32 jobs to make a profit
POP
what is algebra
Azhar Reply
repeated addition and subtraction of the order of operations. i love algebra I'm obsessed.
Shemiah
hi
Krekar
One-fourth of the candies in a bag of M&M’s are red. If there are 23 red candies, how many candies are in the bag?
Leanna Reply
they are 92 candies in the bag
POP
rectangular field solutions
Navin Reply
What is this?
Donna
t
muqtaar
the proudact of 3x^3-5×^2+3 and 2x^2+5x-4 in z7[x]/ is
anas Reply
?
Choli
a rock is thrown directly upward with an initial velocity of 96feet per second from a cliff 190 feet above a beach. The hight of tha rock above the beach after t second is given by the equation h=_16t^2+96t+190
Usman
Stella bought a dinette set on sale for $725. The original price was $1,299. To the nearest tenth of a percent, what was the rate of discount?
Manhwa Reply
44.19%
Scott
40.22%
Terence
44.2%
Orlando
I don't know
Donna
if you want the discounted price subtract $725 from $1299. then divide the answer by $1299. you get 0.4419... but as percent you get 44.19... but to the nearest tenth... round .19 to .2 and you get 44.2%
Orlando
you could also just divide $725/$1299 and then subtract it from 1. then you get the same answer.
Orlando
p mulripied-5 and add 30 to it
Tausif Reply
p mulripied-5 and add30
Tausif
p mulripied-5 and addto30
Tausif
how
muqtaar
Can you explain further
Monica Reply
p mulripied-5 and add to 30
Tausif
-5p+30?
Corey
p=-5+30
Jacob
How do you find divisible numbers without a calculator?
Jacob Reply
TAKE OFF THE LAST DIGIT AND MULTIPLY IT 9. SUBTRACT IT THE DIGITS YOU HAVE LEFT. IF THE ANSWER DIVIDES BY 13(OR IS ZERO), THEN YOUR ORIGINAL NUMBER WILL ALSO DIVIDE BY 13!IS DIVISIBLE BY 13
BAINAMA
When she graduates college, Linda will owe $43,000 in student loans. The interest rate on the federal loans is 4.5% and the rate on the private bank loans is 2%. The total interest she owes for one year was $1,585. What is the amount of each loan?
Ariana Reply
Sean took the bus from Seattle to Boise, a distance of 506 miles. If the trip took 7 2/3 hours, what was the speed of the bus?
Kirisma Reply
66miles/hour
snigdha
How did you work it out?
Esther
s=mi/hr 2/3~0.67 s=506mi/7.67hr = ~66 mi/hr
Orlando
No; 65m/hr
albert
hello, I have algebra phobia. Subtracting negative numbers always seem to get me confused.
Alicia Reply
what do you need help in?
Felix
subtracting a negative....is adding!!
Heather
look at the numbers if they have different signs, it's like subtracting....but you keep the sign of the largest number...
Felix
for example.... -19 + 7.... different signs...subtract.... 12 keep the sign of the "largest" number 19 is bigger than 7.... 19 has the negative sign... Therefore, -12 is your answer...
Felix
—12
Niazmohammad
Thanks Felix.l also get confused with signs.
Esther
Thank you for this
Shatey
ty
Graham
think about it like you lost $19 (-19), then found $7(+7). Totally you lost just $12 (-12)
Annushka
I used to struggle a lot with negative numbers and math in general what I typically do is look at it in terms of money I have -$5 in my account I then take out 5 more dollars how much do I have in my account well-$10 ... I also for a long time would draw it out on a number line to visualize it
Meg
practicing with smaller numbers to understand then working with larger numbers helps too and the song/rhyme same sign add and keep opposite signs subtract keep the sign of the bigger # then you'll be exact
Meg
hi
albert
Bruce drives his car for his job. The equation R=0.575m+42 models the relation between the amount in dollars, R, that he is reimbursed and the number of miles, m, he drives in one day. Find the amount Bruce is reimbursed on a day when he drives 220 miles
John Reply
168.50=R
Heather
john is 5years older than wanjiru.the sum of their years is27years.what is the age of each
achol Reply
46
mustee
j 17 w 11
Joseph
john is 16. wanjiru is 11.
Felix
27-5=22 22÷2=11 11+5=16
Joyce
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, Elementary algebra. OpenStax CNX. Jan 18, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12116/1.2
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