# March 31 Mathematicians Puzzle: Rene Descartes | Geometry & Algebra

March 31 of the Mystery Year was the birthday of René Descartes. Topics include distance between two points in the coordinate plane when the y-coordinates are the same, absolute value, equivalent algebraic expressions, exponential growth, and ratios. Descartes is the inventor of coordinate geometry. He was also the first to use exponents to show powers, and the first to use letters from the end of the alphabet as variables to express unknown quantities.

Your Zip download includes printable/digital PDFs:

- 1-page printable Student Puzzle
- 1-page Answer Key with sample solutions
- 1-page version of puzzle with expanding form fields – use with Acrobat Reader
- A complete file including the student puzzle, answer key, 3 pages of Teacher Notes — including step-by-step Solutions, Extensions (based on "March Madness" NCAA basketball probabilities), and a variety of professional development support.
- 1-page How to Use History-Mystery Puzzles

**Common Core Standard:**8.EE.1, MP7, 8.EE.7.b

**File Format:**Zip and PDF

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March 31 of the Mystery Year was the birthday of René Descartes. Topics include distance between two points in the coordinate plane when the y-coordinates are the same, absolute value, equivalent algebraic expressions, exponential growth, and ratios. Descartes is the inventor of coordinate geometry. He was also the first to use exponents to show powers, and the first to use letters from the end of the alphabet as variables to express unknown quantities.

Your Zip download includes printable/digital PDFs:

- 1-page printable Student Puzzle
- 1-page Answer Key with sample solutions
- 1-page version of puzzle with expanding form fields – use with Acrobat Reader
- A complete file including the student puzzle, answer key, 3 pages of Teacher Notes — including step-by-step Solutions, Extensions (based on "March Madness" NCAA basketball probabilities), and a variety of professional development support.
- 1-page How to Use History-Mystery Puzzles