In a polygon, a diagonal is a segment that connects two non-consecutive vertices. In this part of the resource, you will develop an algebraic expression that can be used to determine the number of diagonals in a polygon if you know the number of sides the polygon has.

Click on the link to begin your investigation: Polygon Diagonals

The dynamic geometry sketch opens with a regular pentagon, and counts the number of diagonals for you in the bottom right portion of the sketch. Use this sketch to fill in a table like the one shown below. You may create the table in your notes.

Number of Sides | Number of Diagonals |
---|---|

3 | |

4 | |

5 | |

6 | |

8 | |

10 | |

s |
d |

Before recording the number of diagonals for a polygon with the given number of sides, be sure to click "Make irregular" and investigate if the number of diagonals depends on whether or not the polygon is regular. To change the number of sides in the polygon, click "more" to increase the number of sides, or "less" to reduce the number of sides.

When you finish the activity on the page, return to Epsilen to summarize your findings. Record your responses to the summary questions in your notes.

- What patterns do you notice in the table?
- What algebraic expression can you write to determine the number of diagonals of a polygon with
*n*sides?

- Does it make a difference if the polygon is regular or irregular? Why do you think that is the case?

- Does it make a difference if the polygon is convex or concave? Why do you think that is the case? You may return to the sketch for additional investigation if you'd like.

In the formula to find the total number of distinct diagonals, *n* is multiplied by *n* – 3, then that product is divided by 2. Why do you think this is so? Record your findings in your notes.