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Pythagorean Rolls in His Grave

Are you smarter than a 5th grade geometry student?

The show's question on (6/14/2010): "The sides for a right triangle are 5, 12, and X. If the side X is opposite the 90o angle, what is the value of X?"

After considerable thought, the contestant gave this answer: "You take 12 - 5 to get 7, the desired side length."

Ugh! Would you give any partial credit....they did explain their reasoning. And, they would be right if the side length 12 had been "opposite" the 180o degree angle!

This is a case where the reasoning is sometimes more than we want to know about a student's thinking (giving a lot of lee-way to meaning of that last term).