Medians of a Triangle
From Latin: medianus - "of the middle"
A median of a triangle
to the midpoint of the opposite side.
A triangle therefore has three medians.
Drag the orange dots on each vertex
to reshape the triangle. Notice the three medians all meet at one point.
A median of a triangle is a
from a vertex of the triangle to the
midpoint of the side opposite that vertex. Because there are three vertices, there are of course three possible medians. One of the fascinating
things about them is that no matter what shape the triangle, all three always intersect at
a single point. This point is called the centroid of the triangle.
There are some fascinating properties of the medians of a triangle:
- The fact that the three medians always meet at a single point is interesting in its own right
- Each median divides the triangle into two smaller triangles which have the same area
- The centroid
(point where they meet) is the center of gravity of the triangle
- The three medians divide the triangle into 6 smaller triangles that all have the same area,
even though they may have different shapes.
Adjust the triangle above by dragging any vertex. Convince yourself that the three medians (gray lines) always intersect at a single point.
You can also visually estimate that the area facts given above are true.
- Make any triangle about 12 - 24" wide from cardboard. Make it as lop-sided and irregular as you can.
- Draw a median
on the cardboard triangle. Any one will do.
- At the point where the median meets the side of the triangle make a small hole near the edge. Tie a string through it.
- When you hold up the triangle by the string, the median line should be vertical - exactly in line with the string.(see figure below)
Related triangle topics
Perimeter / Area
Congruence and Similarity
Triangle quizzes and exercises
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