Goal:

## Theory:

Part 1

Consider a triangle with two sides ‘a’ and ‘b’, with angle ‘C’ between them:

Let side ‘a’ be the base, then the perpendicular height, ‘h’ is measured from the top vertex of the triangle, making a 90° angle with the base:

Because ‘h’ creates a right angled triangle, with ‘h’ opposite to angle ‘C’, then

sinC = h/b

so:     h = bsinC

If you know the base and perpendicular height of a triangle, then you can find the area using this formula:

Area = ½ × base × perpendicular height

So in this case, with base = ‘a’ and perpendicular height = ‘bsinC’, we have

Area = ½ × a × b × sinC

NOTE: This formula works for any triangle, even when angle ‘C’ is greater than 90º

## Method:

Part 2

Maths Helper Plus can create a worked solution including a labeled diagram for finding the area of a triangle using the formula: A = ½ab×sinC

We have created a Maths Helper Plus document to complement this topic. You can use it to practice the steps described below, and as a starting point for solving your own problems.

File name: ‘ Triangle Area 2.mhp’ File size: 7kb

If you choose ‘Open this file from its current location’, then Maths Helper Plus should open the document immediately. If not, try the other option: ‘Save this file to disk’, then run Maths Helper Plus and choose the ‘Open’ command from the ‘File’ menu. Locate the saved file and open it. If you do not yet have Maths Helper Plus installed on your computer, click here for instructions.

##### Step 2 Display the parameters box

Press the F5 key to display the parameters box:

Click on the ‘A’ edit box with the mouse, then enter one of the known sides of your triangle. Similarly, click on the ‘B’ edit box and enter the other known side. Click on the ‘C’ edit box, and enter the angle between the two known sides, in degrees.

Click the ‘Update’ button to refresh the diagram and calculations.

##### Step 3 Adjust the scale of the labeled diagram

If the labeled diagram is too large for the screen, then the scale needs to be reduced. Briefly press the F10 key enough times until the entire diagram is visible.

You can make the diagram bigger by holding down ‘Ctrl’ while you press F10.

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