# Homework Help: Algebra homework problem

1. May 19, 2013

### jtwin2

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

I have just planted a new tree. To support the tree in bad weather, I attach guy wires from the trunk of the tree to stakes in the ground. I cut 32 feet of wire into four equal lengths to make the guy wires. I attach four guy wires, evenly spaced around the tree. I put the stakes in the ground five feet from the base of the trunk. Approximately how far up the trunk should I attach the guy wires?

2. Relevant equations

3. The attempt at a solution

I would have 4 equal lengths of 8ft of guy wires. I would put the stakes in the ground 5ft from the base. In order to support the tree in bad weather, I would wrap the tree 2 ft around and wrap the stakes 1 ft around, therefore leaving me with 3 ft. of guy wires up the trunk.

2. May 19, 2013

### phinds

Although that sounds very reasonable, I doubt that it is the intent of the problem statement that you include "wrapping".

In any case, can you draw a right triangle using the information you have?

3. May 19, 2013

### jtwin2

If i draw a triangle from the information given, could I use the pythagorean theorem to solve the problem?

4. May 19, 2013

### SammyS

Staff Emeritus
Why not?

5. May 19, 2013

### jtwin2

a2 + b2= c2

a^2 + 5^2= 8^2

a=6.24

??

6. May 19, 2013

### SammyS

Staff Emeritus
Can you give the exact result, as √(something) ?

7. May 19, 2013

### jtwin2

I don't know. So, do you think it would be best to leave the answer as √(39) ?

8. May 19, 2013

### SammyS

Staff Emeritus
What's the best way to leave the answer?

It may depend upon the explicit instructions.

9. May 19, 2013

### jtwin2

It just says to write in paragrah form, similar to an essay test question.

10. May 19, 2013

### SammyS

Staff Emeritus
Well, in that case, maybe you do want to wrap some of the wire around the tree and some around each stake. -- not nearly as much as you first stated. --- Why?