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What happens to a shape when you enlarge it by a positive scale factor?

By Garret Patton on the 11th of June, 2012

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Enlarge a shape by a positive integer scale factor

Let’s say you start with a square, and all its sides are 2cm long. If I ask you to make it bigger, what’s the first question that pops into your mind?

It’s probably ‘how much bigger?’ To tell you how much bigger, I have to give you what we call a scale factor. The scale factor tells you how much to multiply the length of each side by.

So if I now tell you to make your shape bigger by a scale factor of 3, you should end up with a shape that has sides which are all now 3 times bigger than before. In the following example you can see the longest side of the shape was originally only 4cm but once we increased it by a scale factor of 3 it is now 12cm.

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