. Grade 8, Illustrative icon

Areas of Geometric Shapes with the Same Perimeter

Illustrative MathematicsVaries

This problem is part of a very rich tradition of problems looking to maximize the area enclosed by a shape with fixed perimeter. Only three shapes are considered here because the problem is difficult for more irregular shapes. For example, of all triangles, the one with fixed perimeter and largest area is the equilateral triangle whose side lengths are all but this is difficult to show because it is not easy to find the area of triangle in terms of the three side lengths (though Heron's formula accomplishes this). Nor is it simple to compare the area of two triangles with equal perimeter without knowing their individual areas.

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