Thales & Pythagoras Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Educate your students about Thales and Pythagoras with this helpful lesson plan. They will view a video lesson about Thales and Pythagoras, take a related lesson quiz, and participate in a fun, hands-on activity.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson about Thales and Pythagoras, your students will be able to:

  • Describe the early lives of Thales and Pythagoras
  • Explain several of the contributions to geometry made by the two men
  • Recount how these contributions are still used to this day


1 - 1.5 Hours


  • Copy of the text lesson Thales & Pythagoras: Early Contributions to Geometry, along with the related lesson quiz
  • Internet access
  • Protractors (with a small center hole)
  • Scissors
  • Straw (not the bendy type)
  • String (about one-foot in length)
  • Tape (clear)
  • Weight (small weight, a small metal nut will work)
  • Print copies of isosceles right triangle found below in the activity instructions

Curriculum Standards


Given two figures, use the definition of similarity in terms of similarity transformations to decide if they are similar; explain using similarity transformations the meaning of similarity for triangles as the equality of all corresponding pairs of angles and the proportionality of all corresponding pairs of sides.


  • Let your students know they will be studying the two famous Greek mathematicians Thales and Pythagoras.
  • Ask them if anyone is familiar with the two men, or has studied them previously.
  • Read the short introduction to this lesson.


  • Start the video Thales & Pythagoras: Early Contributions to Geometry and pause the video for the first time at 0:45.
    • What does the field of geometry entail?
  • Now, restart the video and pause this time at 2:14.
    • What five contributions did Thales make to geometry?
  • Next, restart the video again and pause this time at 3:32.
    • What four contributions did Pythagoras make to geometry?
  • Now, restart the video and pause for a final time at 4:02.
    • Which of the contributions by the two men is used most today?
  • Restart the video and watch the 'Lesson Summary' section on the two mathematicians.
  • Have your students take the lesson quiz to demonstrate their newfound knowledge of the two men.

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