Year of Engineering: Pythagoras' theorem in engineering


The ‘Year of Engineering’ is a government campaign, which celebrates the world and wonder of engineering. It forms an important part of the UK Industrial Strategy which is committed to boosting engineering across the country, and making sure everyone has the skills needed to thrive in a modern economy.

To celebrate the ‘Year of Engineering’, we have created a webpage that provides ideas for setting topics in the context of engineering, together with materials to support the teaching of the topic.


An example is ‘Pythagoras’ theorem in engineering’. The ‘Tunnelworks’ resource links mathematics and science to the engineering involved in the Thames Tideway Tunnel project. There are two lessons, both of which have Pythagoras’ theorem as their primary focus, but also involve gradients, units, grid references, and scale drawings.

‘Well placement between villages’ is a resource from the IET Faraday programme, supported by MEI and Tomorrow’s Engineers. Students tackle the problem of placing a well between three small villages in a large semi-desert area. The solution involves using Pythagoras’ theorem and geometric constructions to find the optimal placement for the well.

There are two resources to support the teaching of Pythagoras’ theorem. The ‘Pythagoras’ Theorem’ resource has enrichment activities and probing questions. ‘Circles with whole number points’ provides an extension activity to support embedding Pythagoras’ theorem, linking it with the equation of a circle.

Further ideas for setting mathematics in the context of engineering are available on our ‘Engineering in Maths’ page, the examples described in this article are available here.

You can also join us at the National STEM Centre in York to experience ideas for teaching through understanding on Enthuse funded courses: more information can be found here.


Age11-14, 14-16
Report inappropriate content 


Sign in to post comments