Pythagoras of Samos
A WebQuest for Grades 9-12 (Mathematics)

Designed by
Nathan Crowder
Erin Hartsell
Julia Williams

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits


Pythagoras of Samos, the first pure mathematician, did a lot more than discovering the Pythagorean Theorem.  Since Pythagoras was incredibly secretive, we know very little about his works.  He was taught mainly by three philosophers, Pherekydes, Thales, and Anaximander.  It was the latter of these three that introduced Pythagoras to mathematics.

Pythagoras' influence makes him an important figure in mathematics history.  Therefore, it is imperative to understand his many contributions to the field of mathematics.

This webquest is designed for you to discover more about the life and career of Pythagoras.  The ultimate goal of this project is for you to come away with an understanding of the beginnings of mathematics.

The Task

In order to complete this project you must:

  • Use the internet to uncover the 6 discoveries of Pythagoras. 
  • Use your knowledge of mathematics to solve problems related to the 5 mathematical discoveries.
  • Write a paragraph on what you learned about Pythagoras.

The Process

In groups of three (you may work with less than three), you will be working on problems influenced and discovered by Pythagoras.  There are 7 tasks all together.  In each one you will first go to one of Pythagoras's theorems.  Then, you will be asked to solve a mathematical problem relating to this theorem.  Since some of these ideas may be a little confusing, you may find other sources to help you (such as your teacher, textbooks, or internet sites).  Remember to keep your problems separate and show all of your work.  It is important that you keep your project organized.










Solving problems related to Pythagoras' Theorems


Attempts problem but cannot apply the neccessary steps to arrive at a correct answer.  Shows little to no work with problems.
Attempts all problems with a 50% success rate.  Shows work but it is hard to follow.
Attempts all problems with a few mathematical errors.  Shows all work with minimal errors.
Attempts all problems with 100% success.  Shows all work and contains neat and clear thought processes.
Completed Research Paper


Paper is poorly written and contains numerous grammatical errors.  Organization is sloppy.
Paper contains some grammatical errors.  Organization still not cohesive.
Well organized paper with a few minor grammatical errors.
Paper is very well organized.  Contains no grammatical mistakes.
Completed Platonic Solid


Did not attempt to build Platonic Solid.
Attempted to build Platonic Solid but did not complete it.
Attempted to build Platonic Solid but built a non-Platonic Solid.
Built Platonic Solid correctly.
Teamwork and participation
Did not participate in the groupwork at all.
Participated minimally in work and discussion.
Participated in group work and discussion but had a mediocre attitude.
Participated equally in group work and disscussion.  Shared roles evenly with other group members.


Looking back on this assignment we hope that you feel more comfortable with Pythagoras' theorems.  You should have gained more background knowledge and respect for the field of math through your studies of Pythagoras.  As you continue on in math, hopefully you will notice the integration of the theorems you studied in this project.  Good luck in your future mathematical endeavors.

Credits & References                        

Last updated on August 15, 1999. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page