Practice Making Geometric Constructions with Tools

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  • 0:01 Drawing Geometry
  • 0:48 Rulers and Straight Edges
  • 1:51 Protractors
  • 2:47 Compasses & String
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

There are a number of tools available to geometry students to help make their work a bit easier. In this lesson, we will review how to use many of them in order for you to get the most out of every geometry class.

Drawing Geometry

One of the truly great things about geometry is that it deals with shapes that you can actually see and manipulate. Is it as fun as playing with counting blocks as a kid when you were first learning to count? Probably not. However, it does beat always trying to find the value of x - the pesky thing keeps changing! But in geometry, you get to learn about important things - like how to find the area of a rectangular room or how much paint you'd need to cover a triangular shape on the side of your suitcase. With that practicality also comes the opportunity to draw things out. In this lesson, we're going to focus on how to best use the various tools available to us in geometry to make sure our diagrams are as accurate as possible.

Rulers and Straight Edges

When making diagrams in geometry class, the most basic tools that you'll find yourself using are rulers and straight edges. Often, these are combined in the same tool, but they are useful nonetheless. Chances are that you know how to draw a line using either, but if you don't, simply trace along the edge.

However, I didn't bring rulers up to just mention how to draw a line. Instead, think about how you'd draw two parallel lines. Now things get a little bit more interesting. To draw a parallel line, first draw a line that you want the parallel line relative to. Now, measure two spots above or below that line, making sure that both are either above or below. However, be sure that the two spots are the same distance away. This is the distance that you want the lines to be apart from one another. Now connect the two lines with a new line, drawn with the ruler or straight edge. As a result, you now have two parallel lines. You can repeat this process as needed if you require additional lines parallel to that first segment.


What if you need perpendicular lines, or lines drawn at a certain angle? You can't just use a ruler to make those lines. Instead, you'll need a protractor. A protractor is a half-circle instrument used to measure angles. To use a protractor to draw a perpendicular line, put the base line of the protractor across the line that you are trying to draw a perpendicular line relative to. Make sure that it is the base line within the protractor, signaled by a line running along the edge about a half an inch inside the metal or plastic, and not the base of the protractor itself.

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