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Square Root of 2: Irrational, Yes! Impractical, No!

For the mathematically inclined person, irrational numbers such as √2 are fascinating, both from a historical perspective, and as a classic example of using the reductio ad absurdum proof, to prove the irrationality of √2. However, the majority of students, when introduced to the irrational number √2, might be excused for not being fascinated by it, and might believe that √2 has not much practical use. For instance, how many would believe that something we use everyday, like standard sizes of paper (the “A” series), have a very close relationship to √2?

Grade Level: Middle School (6-8)
Curriculum Topic Benchmarks: M1.3.12, M3.3.12, M3.3.14, M9.3.1
Subject Keywords: Area, Irrational numbers, Ratio, Shape

Author(s): Ramakrishnan Menon
PUMAS ID: 10_06_03_1
Date Received: 2003-10-06
Date Revised: 2004-01-10
Date Accepted: 2004-01-30

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