The Three Meanings of Similarity

We can say that two objects are similar if they look alike. In layman’s words, objects with the same shape, whether they have the same size or not are usually called similar. In mathematics, it is quite different. In this post, we are going to learn the three mathematical meanings of similarity.

In mathematics, two objects are similar when either one of the following three conditions is true.

1. When one figure is reduced or enlarged, it will become congruent with the other

The first meaning is based on the definition of congruence. That is, when two figures are similar, if one figure is enlarged or reduced, then they will become congruent with the other. This definition is better illustrated graphically, using a drawing or an applet just as the one shown below.  » Read more

SSS Congruence Theorem and Its Proof

Many high textbooks consider the congruence theorems (SSS Congruence Theorem, SAS Congruence Theorem, ASA Congruence Theorem) as postulates. This is because their proofs are complicated for high school students.  However, let us note that strictly speaking, in Euclidean Geomtery (the Geometry that we learn in high school), there are only five postulates and no others. All of other postulates mentioned in textbooks aside from these five are really theorems without proofs.

In this post, we are going to prove the SSS Congruence Theorem. Recall that the theorem states that if three corresponding sides of a triangle are congruent, then the two triangles are congruent.

Before proving the SSS Congruence theorem, we need to understand several concepts that are pre-requisite to its proof. These concepts are isometries particulary reflection and translation, properties of kites, and the transitive property of congruence. If you are familiar with these concepts, you can skip them and go directly to the proof. » Read more

Understanding the Meaning of Correspondence

In Geometry, two objects are congruent if they have the same size and shape. Two triangles drawn on a piece of paper are congruent if we can cut them out with scissors, and superimpose them to fit exactly, that is, without gaps or overlaps. If the triangles fit exactly, the corresponding parts are the parts that coincide. Consequently, corresponding parts of congruent triangles are congruent. Therefore, if two triangles are congruent, then their corresponding angles are congruent and their corresponding sides are also congruent.

In the figure above, if we superimpose the two triangles, \overline {AB} will coincide with \overline {DE} and \angle C will coincide with \angle F. Hence \overline {AB} and \overline {DE} are corresponding sides and \angle C and \angle F are corresponding angles. » Read more

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