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Definition--Circle Concepts--Radius of a Circle

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# Radius of a Circle

## Topic

Circles

## Definition

The radius of a circle is a line segment from the center to any point on the circle.

## Description

The radius is a fundamental concept in geometry, representing the distance from the center of the circle to any point on its circumference. It is widely used in fields such as engineering, design, and manufacturing, where precise measurements of circular objects are required. The radius is half the diameter, highlighting its relationship with other circle properties. In mathematics education, understanding the radius is essential for students as it provides a basis for exploring more complex topics like circumference and area, and helps in developing spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills.

For a complete collection of terms related to Circles click on this link: __Circles Collection.__

A circle is the locus of points equidistant from a given point, called the center. The "locus of points" are what you see as the circle.

The center is the one point not on the circular form. The distance from the center to any point on the circle is constant. This is part of the "locus of points" definition. The segment from the center to the circle is called the radius.

Since there are an infinite number of points that define the circle, then there are also an infinite number of radii (the plural of radius). This is shown below:

By contrast there is only one center point to the circle. A line segment that crosses the center and crosses the center is called a diameter. Think of a diameter as two collinear radii.

There is also the case of a line segment that intersects the circle at two points but does not cross the center. This is called a chord.

The diameter of a circle is a special type of chord. Do you see how the diameter also meets the definition of a chord?

When a line crosses a circle at two points, then it is a secant.

When a line intersects a circle at just one point, then it is called a tangent line.

A central angle is formed by two radii. The vertex of the angle is at the center of the circle.

An inscribed angle is formed by two chords that intersect at the circle. Do you see where the vertex of the circle is located?

There is an important relationship between inscribed angles and central angles that share two points on the circle. In this case the inscribed angle is half the measurement of the central angle.

Using what we know about inscribed angles and diameters, then any inscribed angle of a diameter is a right angle. To see this, think of the diameter as a central angle of 180°.

Finally, a line tangent to a circle is perpendicular to the radius of the circle at that point.

Common Core Standards | CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSG.C.A.2, CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSG.C.A.1, CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSG.C.A.3, CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSG.C.A.4, CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.C.5.A, CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.G.B.4 |
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Grade Range | 4 - 8 |

Curriculum Nodes |
Geometry• Circles• Definition of a Circle |

Copyright Year | 2014 |

Keywords | defnitions, geometry, circle |