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Compass and
Straightedge
Constructions
Constructing is not the same as Drawing. When we draw we use eyeballing techniques or we
measure and transfer measurements. This can result in some very nice creations, but it ultimately
relies on our eyes too much. Traditional constructions use only two tools – a compass and a
straightedge. (A straightedge is basically anything that has a, uh, straight edge that you can use to
draw a line.) Using only these two tools, we can create constructions of many different shapes and
objects. You will learn how to use these tools to copy segments and angles, to cut them in half, to
create perpendicular lines and to find the center of circles. This is just the tip of the construction
iceberg, though. We will continue to use constructions as one way of understanding geometry
throughout the course of the year.

Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.com

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To Construct a Regular Hexagon
One method for using a compass and straightedge to construct a regular hexagon is as
follows:
1.

Draw an initial circle A of any size.

2.

Without changing the compass setting, pick any point on circle A and draw another circle B of
the same radius.

3.

From the two points of intersection of circles A and B, draw circles C and D with the same
radius.

4.

Finally, draw E centered on the intersection of circles A and C.

5.

Use the straightedge to connect the intersections of circles B, C, D, and E with circle A. These
intersections determine the vertices of a regular hexagon.

Follow the directions above to construct a regular hexagon.

Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.com

Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________

Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.com

You will create a segment TR that is congruent to XY. Use your straightedge to draw a ray with endpoint T that is in the direction you want TR to go. 3. 4. place the compass on point T. Place the compass point at point X. 5. Draw the arc that intercepts the previously drawn ray.. Constructing Line Segment Copies Copy a line segment 1. Begin with line segment XY and a point T. Label the intersection point R. Without changing the compass radius. 2. Now TR ≅ XY.com .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ HOW TO.. Follow along here: Y X T Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. Adjust the compass radius so that the other tip of the compass is at Y.

Make each segment so that they are all going in a different direction. B A X H C D F M K Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. Mark congruent segments.com E G .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ NOW DO: Copy each line segment so that its copy has point X as an endpoint.

Without changing the compass radius.. Draw the arc that intercepts the previously drawn arc. Using your straightedge. place the compass at point G.com . Use your straightedge to draw a ray with endpoint T that is in the direction you want one side of ∠T to go. 4. 6. construct the ray with endpoint T that passes through K. Begin with ∠X and a point T. Place the compass point at point X. without changing the compass radius. Call the points of intersection E and F. Draw an arc with any radius to intersect the two sides of ∠X.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ HOW TO. Call the point of intersection K. Now. 2. 5. Now ∠T ≅ ∠ X Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. Constructing Angle Copies Copy an angle 1. You will create an angle with vertex at T that is congruent to ∠X. Place the compass at point E and set the other point so it is at point F. Draw an arc that intercepts the previously drawn ray and goes far enough around the circle to intersect where you think the other side of ∠T will go. 3. Label the intersection point G.. place the compass on point T.

Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ NOW DO: Copy each angle to the point located in it's box.com . R B A X F M S M G X K R Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.

4. First. construct ∆XYZ X Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. A B R E D 1. 2. 3. using the given point as point X. construct a copy of AB from the top to XZ below so that XZ is the other side of ∠X.com . as long as you choose to make it go to the right-ish. using XY as one of the sides of the angle. Finally. use your construction tools to copy segment DE from the top of the page to a segment XY below. Third.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Construct a Triangle From Pieces Here are three pieces of a triangle. use your construction tools to copy ∠R from the top of the page to ∠X below. You can choose the direction of the segment. Second. Use your construction skills to construct the whole triangle.

com .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.

Without changing the compass radius. Point M is the midpoint of line segment XY. Begin with line segment XY. Draw two arcs intersecting the previously drawn arcs. Construct the perpendicular bisector Y X 1.. Label the intersection point M. Adjust the compass radius so that it is more than (½)XY. place the compass on point Y. and line AB is perpendicular to line segment XY. X Y A 3. Draw two arcs as shown here. 2. X Y B A 4.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Constructing Perpendicular Bisectors HOW TO.com Y Y . Label the intersection points A and B.. Place the compass at point X. draw line AB. Using the straightedge. X M B Follow along here: X Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.

Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ NOW DO: Use a compass and straightedge to construct the perpendicular bisector of each line segment.com F M . X T U A Y B D E C N Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.

. Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ HOW TO. of the two bisectors. Pick three points arbitrarily on the circle and call them A. Constructing Center of a Circle Construct the center point of a given circle. Construct the perpendicular bisector of chord BC. Construct the perpendicular bisector of chord AB. 4. 1. called P in this diagram. Draw chords AB and BC 3. The center of the circle will be the intersection.com . Begin with a circle. 2. but no center point.. B and C.

Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. Are the circles concentric (have the same center)? Prove your answer by finding the centers of the circles.com .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ NOW DO: Use a compass and straightedge (ruler) to construct the center of each circle.

In this activity. Measure each of the following line segments to the nearest mm: PA = 5. PB = PC = In the figure. and the midpoint of AC point Z.com . draw PA. A B C 4. 1. 3. Construct the perpendicular bisectors of the sides of the triangle. Then draw the circle that has a center of P and radius PA. 2. you will construct the circumcenter and explore its properties. the midpoint of BC point Y. a) Label the point where the perpendicular bisectors intersect as point P. and PC. Using a red colored pencil. called the circumcenter.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Triangle Circumcenter The perpendicular bisectors of the sides of a triangle all meet at a point. b) Label the midpoint of AB point X. PB. mark all sets of congruent lines with tick marks. Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.

Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.com .

A H B G D Y B S X U R T K J Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. because the midpoint is a consequence of constructing a perpendicular bisector.com .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Constructing Midpoints You already know how to find the midpoint of a line segment. Label it M and mark congruent segments. Construct the midpoint of each line segment.

com .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.

4. Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. and explore their properties. and XZ in the corresponding colors. and the midpoint of AC point Z. 1. Construct the midpoint of each side of the triangle. using a red. Measure the lengths of each line segment AB = BC = AC = YZ = XZ = XY = Make a conjecture about the lengths of the midsegments of a triangle. 2. you will construct the midsegments of a triangle. In this activity. the midpoint of BC point Y. draw XY. green and blue colored pencil.com . YZ. Label the midpoint of AB point X.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Triangle Midsegment A midsegment is a line segment connecting two sides of a triangle. Then. A B C 3.

com .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.

These are the medians of the triangle. In this activity. 5. Label the midpoint of AB point X. Mark the point of concurrency of the medians as point P.com . 3. C A B 4. Measure using centimeters the length of each line segment you created and label them on your paper and below: AP = BP = CP = PY = PZ = PX = Make a conjecture about the lengths of line segments formed when a median is divided at the centroid. Draw a line to connect each vertex of the triangle to the midpoint of the opposite side. 1.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Triangle Medians The line segment that connects a vertex of a triangle with the midpoint of the side opposite the vertex is called a median of the triangle. This point is called the centroid of the triangle. Construct the midpoint of each side of the triangle. you will construct the medians of the triangle and explore properties relating to their point of concurrency. 2. and the midpoint of AC point Z. Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. the midpoint of BC point Y.

Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.com .

com k Y . R k R k Y X R 3. not on line k. 4... Begin with line k and point R. 2. not on the line. k Y X R k Y X B R 5. Use the straightedge to draw line RB. Label the intersection points X and Y. place the compass on point Y. 1. Place the compass on point R. Without changing the compass radius. Label the intersection point B. Draw an arc as shown here. Given point R.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Constructing Perpendiculars Through a Point HOW TO. Draw an arc intersecting the previously drawn arc. draw arcs intersecting line k at two points. Line RB is perpendicular to line k. Adjust the compass radius so that it is more than (½)XY. X B Follow along here: R Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. perpendicular to k. Place the compass at point X. Using an arbitrary radius. construct a line through R.

com .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ NOW DO: Construct the line perpendicular to each line that goes through point P P Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.

A B Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Construct a Square A square is a quadrilateral (a polygon with 4 sides) in which the sides are all congruent and the angles are all 90°. Use a straightedge and compass to construct a square that has AB as one of its sides.com .

com .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.

Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ HOW TO. Q P Follow along here: P Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. Place the compass on point P and draw an arc across both sides of the angle.com R W R . Q P 2.. Label the intersection points Q and R. place it on point R and draw an arc intersecting the one drawn in the previous step. Using the straightedge. Q W P 4. This is the bisector of ∠QPR. R Place the compass on point Q and draw an arc across the interior of the angle. Q P 3. Let point P be the vertex of the angle. 1. R Without changing the radius of the compass. draw ray PW.. Label the intersection point W. Constructing Angle Bisectors Construct the bisector of an angle.

Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.com .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ NOW DO: Use a compass and straightedge to construct the angle bisector of each angle.

2. Mark congruent sides and angles.com Converse of The Angle Bisector Theorem If a point is . Construct the angle bisector of ∠BAC below. Name the point where this line intersects AB point R. 4. Measure XR to the nearest mm. Measure XS to the nearest mm. C A B Make a conjecture about points on the bisector of an angle. 3. Name the point where this line intersects AC point S. Pick any point on the angle bisector and call it X. then it is Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. The Angle Bisector Theorem If a point is on the bisector of an angle. Construct the perpendicular line from X to AB.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ The Angle Bisector Theorem and Its Converse Perform the following constructions on the drawing below. 1. Construct the perpendicular line from X to AC . 5.

com .Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.

6. Y on BC. and Z on AC. Construct the bisector of each angle in the triangle.com . 3. Y. Label the point of concurrency as P. 4. 5. with X on AB.Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Triangle Incenter Follow these directions: 1. and Z. 2. Extend them so that they are long enough to cross. Then construct the lines that are perpendicular to each side that go through the point P. Construct the circle with center P and radius PX. A B C Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. Label these points X.

Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Some construction instructions from whistlersalley.com .

Name:________________________________________________________________________Date:________________ Construction Challenges See if you can use a compass and straightedge to construct the following figures. A line tangent to the circle shown. A rhombus. 6. 7. A line segment that is 3 times as long as PG. (Tangent means it only intersects the circle at one point. Do your constructions on another piece of paper. A right isosceles triangle. 13. A square with one side AB.) 14. An angle that is 1 as big as ∠B. (All 4 sides the same length.com 1 as big as ∠B. P G 10. 2 11.) 15. 3 . 9. An equilateral triangle with one side TW. A line segment that is 1 as long as MK. Remember. A rectangle. 4 M K B 12. An angle that is B Some construction instructions from whistlersalley. A W T B 8. constructing is NOT the same as drawing.