Proving Trapezoid Congruency
Date: 12/19/2001 at 21:22:33 From: Anonymous Subject: Geometry (Proving isosceles trapezoid) I have to prove that the sides of a trapezoid are congruent if the diagonals of the trapezoid are congruent. I started by stating the bases are parallel to each other and I got the alternate interior angles congruent. Then I drew a parallel line to one of the diagonals because of the parallel postulate. That was as far as I could get. I don't understand what else to do. Please help -Peter
Date: 12/19/2001 at 22:41:17 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Geometry (Proving isosceles trapezoid) Hi, Peter. I would look for a pair of congruent triangles with which we can prove the final result. If the bases are AD and BC, then for example triangles ABD and DCA look as if they should be congruent, and these include the diagonals. There's another pair of corresponding sides, but I don't immediately see that the included angles have to be congruent. How can we show that angles ADB and DAC are congruent? One way I see is to draw the altitudes from B and C to side AD. Since AD and BC are parallel, those are equal. Can you see a way to use this fact to prove that the angles are congruent? What I did here was to work backward: the last steps will involve proving two triangles congruent; what do I need to do that, and how can I get there? Another thing that led me to this idea was imagining what it would take to construct a trapezoid with congruent diagonals. I might start with parallel lines on which the bases have to lie, and two equal sticks for the diagonals. When I saw that in order to go from one line to the other they would have to be at the same angle (and why), that gave me the idea I needed. This is how proofs are generally found: working from both ends and playing with the materials we have in order to see what we can do with them. It's fun that way, too! - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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