Lesson 3Rectangle Madness
Let’s cut up rectangles.
3.1 Squares in Rectangles

Rectangle is not a square. Rectangle is a square.

Suppose segment were 5 units long and segment were 2 units long. How long would segment be?

Suppose segment were 10 units long and segment were 6 units long. How long would segment be?

Suppose segment were 12 units long and segment were 5 units long. How long would segment be?

Suppose segment were 9 units long and segment were 5 units long. How long would segment be?


Rectangle has been decomposed into squares.
Segment is 33 units long and segment is 75 units long. Find the areas of all of the squares in the diagram.

Rectangle is 16 units by 5 units.

In the diagram, draw a line segment that decomposes into two regions: a square that is the largest possible and a new rectangle.

Draw another line segment that decomposes the new rectangle into two regions: a square that is the largest possible and another new rectangle.

Keep going until rectangle is entirely decomposed into squares.
 List the side lengths of all the squares in your diagram.

Are you ready for more?

The diagram shows that rectangle has been decomposed into three squares. What could the side lengths of this rectangle be?

How many different side lengths can you find for rectangle ?

What are some rules for possible side lengths of rectangle ?
3.2 More Rectangles, More Squares

Draw a rectangle that is 21 units by 6 units.

In your rectangle, draw a line segment that decomposes the rectangle into a new rectangle and a square that is as large as possible. Continue until the diagram shows that your original rectangle has been entirely decomposed into squares.

How many squares of each size are in your diagram?

What is the side length of the smallest square?


Draw a rectangle that is 28 units by 12 units.

In your rectangle, draw a line segment that decomposes the rectangle into a new rectangle and a square that is as large as possible. Continue until the diagram shows that your original rectangle has been decomposed into squares.

How many squares of each size are in your diagram?

What is the side length of the smallest square?


Write each of these fractions as a mixed number with the smallest possible numerator and denominator:


What do the fraction problems have to do with the previous rectangle decomposition problems?
3.3 Finding Equivalent Fractions

Accurately draw a rectangle that is 9 units by 4 units.

In your rectangle, draw a line segment that decomposes the rectangle into a new rectangle and a square that is as large as possible. Continue until your original rectangle has been entirely decomposed into squares.

How many squares of each size are there?

What are the side lengths of the last square you drew?

Write as a mixed number.


Accurately draw a rectangle that is 27 units by 12 units.

In your rectangle, draw a line segment that decomposes the rectangle into a new rectangle and a square that is as large as possible. Continue until your original rectangle has been entirely decomposed into squares.

How many squares of each size are there?

What are the side lengths of the last square you drew?

Write as a mixed number.

Compare the diagram you drew for this problem and the one for the previous problem. How are they alike? How are they different?


What is the greatest common factor of 9 and 4? What is the greatest common factor of 27 and 12? What does this have to do with your diagrams of decomposed rectangles?
Are you ready for more?
We have seen some examples of rectangle tilings. A tiling means a way to completely cover a shape with other shapes, without any gaps or overlaps. For example, here is a tiling of rectangle with 2 large squares, 3 medium squares, 1 small square, and 2 tiny squares.
Some of the squares used to tile this rectangle have the same size.
Might it be possible to tile a rectangle with squares where the squares are all different sizes?
3.4 It’s All About Fractions

Accurately draw a 37by16 rectangle. (Use graph paper, if possible.)

In your rectangle, draw a line segment that decomposes the rectangle into a new rectangle and a square that is as large as possible. Continue until your original rectangle has been entirely decomposed into squares.

How many squares of each size are there?

What are the dimensions of the last square you drew?

What does this have to do with ?


Consider a 52by15 rectangle.

In your rectangle, draw a line segment that decomposes the rectangle into a new rectangle and a square that is as large as possible. Continue until your original rectangle has been entirely decomposed into squares.

Write a fraction equal to this expression: .

Notice some connections between the rectangle and the fraction.

What is the greatest common factor of 52 and 15?


Consider a 98by21 rectangle.

In your rectangle, draw a line segment that decomposes the rectangle into a new rectangle and a square that is as large as possible. Continue until your original rectangle has been entirely decomposed into squares.

Write a fraction equal to this expression: .

Notice some connections between the rectangle and the fraction.

What is the greatest common factor of 98 and 21?


Consider a 121by38 rectangle.

Use the decompositionintosquares process to write a continued fraction for . Verify that it works.

What is the greatest common factor of 121 and 38?
