I designed this game for my students to discover that the Pythagorean Theorem can only be used with right triangles. At this point, my students knew that the Pythagorean Theorem worked on some triangles and didn't work on others, but they didn't know why. I used this game on a day (towards the beginning of my unit on the Pythagorean Theorem) when not all of my students were going to be in class. I didn't want the learning to stop for those in class, and didn't want my students out of class to miss the proof of the Pythagorean Theorem.
To play the game, the students will need to be in partners or small groups. Each student grabs a card and uses the Pythagorean Theorem with the values on the triangle card they chose. The card then has instructions for what to do if the Pythagorean Theorem works or doesn't work, and the students would move their piece on the game board as the instructions say. There should be a discard pile for those that work and a different discard pile for those that don't. The first student to get to the finish line wins.
The fun part for you, the teacher, will be watching a student realize that all of the triangles that work have a right angle symbol. As that student starts grabbing cards and moving without doing math, the rest of the class gets excited and wants to know what the secret is. This is where you can have them look at their discard piles and see if they can figure it out on their own.
Game pieces (I used red/yellow counting chips)
*I printed each set of triangle cards on different colored cardstock so it was easy re-set in-between periods (and I didn't have to make sure each set had the right cards, I could just count and make sure I had the right number of each color!)
*On the cards, the smallest value is the smallest side, and the longest value is the hypotenuse, but the triangles are not made to scale.
*You'll find that the story behind the game is to help Phineas build a house...I used Phineas from Phineas and Ferb (since he has a triangle head) but wasn't sure about copyright laws, so I deleted the clipart of him in triangle town and on the game board