Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Triangle Problem

This math puzzle comes from the journal of self-educated mathematician and astronomer, Benjamin Banneker.

Suppose a ladder 60 feet long is placed in a street so as to reach a window 37 feet high on one side of the street. Without moving it at the bottom, it will reach another window on the other side of the street which is 23 feet high. What is the breadth of the street?

Give it a try and check the comments for the solution.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

The ladder, the street, and the buildings form two triangles. The ladder is the hypotenuse for both. You are given the heights of the windows which give you one leg for each triangle. Find the lengths of the remaining legs by using the Pythagorean Theorem. Add these together to find the breadth of the street. 102.65 ft.